Sifting Your Way to a Better Cup? Consider This First...

by Sammi Pun //

Our guest blogger, Randy Pang is a barista trainer who brews with a mindful approach. In this piece, Randy tackles a common mistake many first-time sifters make and offers a clear suggestion on how to prevent it - to get the best results with the KRUVE Sifter.

Without a doubt, when it comes to coffee, measurement matters and the importance of using a consistent grind size can impact the results very dramatically. However, one cannot change grind size in isolation. There are other important factors to consider.

Things to Consider

Though people from all over the world are jumping on board to use this amazing innovation, I suspect many are using it incorrectly. This thought came about when I first started using the KRUVE Sifter. A while back, I looked up several YouTube videos of people using the device for the first time and listened to their opinions about it. A good deal of them would suggest that while KRUVE increased cup clarity, it also produced a noticeably 'weaker' cup. However, this is most certainly due to an incorrect understanding of grind manipulation. Hopefully, I can alleviate some of the frustrations that might come from this confusion.


"Changing your grind size changes the strength of your brew."

All else being constant, changing your grind size changes the strength of your brew. Whether your grinder produces more boulders or fines, when you eliminate the outlying particles, you are changing the strength (TDS%) of your coffee. For example, by eliminating all boulders (larger particles) on an average dose and replacing them with the particles in the lower ranges, you are increasing extraction because the grind sizes are now smaller. The contrary is also true, by eliminating the fines (smaller particles), you are decreasing extraction. By eliminating both fines and boulders, you are now drastically changing the strength of your coffee.

Making Proper Adjustments

To make the best cup, baristas need to adjust brew time accordingly.

This change matters a whole deal if all we are doing is manipulating the grind size and applying it to a standard recipe. The recipe must change according to the new findings of the sifted cup. Your sifted cup may be stronger or weaker, depending on how you manipulated the grinds. My point here is not whether your sifted cup tastes better, but that a sifted cup changes the strength of any given recipe you have been using with a particular grinder. If your grind is going to change, it is likely that your recipe will have to change as well.

"If your grind is going to change, it is likely that your recipe will have to change as well."

While I don’t intend to address the various brew methods in this blog, I do want to point out that using the KRUVE Sifter involves more than mere grind manipulation. Yes, grind manipulation is what the KRUVE Sifter does, but to have a narrow view of grind manipulation as the sole factor, is, in my opinion, an abuse of its usage. I want to suggest that the KRUVE Sifter is a portal for many lay coffee drinkers and enthusiast to participate in the interestingly complicated process of crafting the perfect cup. Using the KRUVE Sifter opens new doors to better understand what is happening to our coffee as it comes in contact with water in which grind manipulation is one important aspect of a wide array of variables.

 

 

I hope drawing attention to this simple fact will challenge all KRUVE Sifter users to think critically about all the parts of their brewing process. To isolate any one variable without considering the broader implications is to hold a reductionist view of coffee brewing methodology. Yes, changing the grind is important, but changing other variables to complement that change are also crucial.


About the Author

Randy Pang is barista trainer enthusiastic about understanding the general effects of variables on coffee recipes. Outside of traveling, his passion for coffee pushes him to explore coffee and its capabilities. 

Find Randy on Instagram

 

 

Interested in a guest blogging for KRUVE? Please submit your application here.

1 comment

  • Hi Sammi / Randy, thanks for bringing this to attention. I have another point to share, which seems to have escaped all mention. While people are talking about evenness of grind as the holy grail, looking more deeply into the extraction process one would learn that, especially for fast extractions, great uniformity can be a problem.
    Keeping a constant bean, brew time, temperature, pressure, roast and bewing process, you are left with the variables of grind and coffee-to-water ratio. So if your coffee is weaker now after homogenizing the grind size, you need to increase the ratio – right? Not necessarily!
    Another consideration is how the ground particles pack together (say in your puck). Having a perfectly uniform size would result in more loose packing than if you have a mix where smaller particles fill in the gaps created by larger ones. Where gaps are larger, water would pass more easily without extracting well enough. Textbooks tell us that espresso percolation goes through a plurimodal extraction. Small particles cause relatively higher extraction, but the presence of larger particles allows a more compact packing to prevent free passage of water. We NEED some non-uniformity for this to occur.
    So, depending on your specific process, you might actually need to go back and widen the range of particles you are passing into your coffee, rather than simply adding more coffee. Of course the flavours would be different, and in the end one might favour one process or the other.
    Eager to hear what people think / find.

    Ankur

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