Saturday, February 18, 2012

Technivorm Mocca Master Review

We start with the link : Technivorm Mocca Master Brewer.

And I also start with the beginning : the first encounter. (sounds like a movie)
Visiting Willem Boot in San Francisco bay for our Roaster class (Jan 2010), Jeff and I were wondering what those small American Coffee Brewers were all about.
Willem used the Mocca Masters to prepare his cup of coffee and to test filters. Of course not only with this machine, and certainly his main reference with a classic cupping, but still he used them al lot, it looked like.
It wasn't very convinced by the taste, but wasn't so sure this 'off taste' came from the brewer or the coffee. Most probably it was the combination of both.

Then we had the Cup Tasting Championships in London. I followed this comp from close by because Bert was our Caffenation man to defend the National pride.
When Rose Van Asten first and Bert later on started to complain about the over extracted and dirty cups my opinion about the company that brewed the cupping cups, Technivorm, was not too positive.

One more year went by and the boys from The Village in Utrecht started their bar with a Technivorm boiler and also had a couple of those brewers on the shelf.
First I didn't really pay attention, but when Marc Berendsen from It&M came to visit me a couple of months ago all dots connected, and the brewers were not American at all but very Dutch!!

This tickeled my curiousity and in stead of refusing the offetr on those Technivorm brewers I decided to buy a couple to give it a decent test.

Because I still believe manual pour over is a lot of work and very unstable, and at home we could use an automatic brewer with thermos, the KBT 741 was a logic choice.

Once on the shelf I liked the look and feel of the machine. Retro and robust, easy handling and good cleaning posibilities. On top of that it had a good price tag.

The first brews were not bad, but not good either. From the first sip on I was catapulted (?) back to San Fran and had this little burnt taste in my mouth.
I checked water temp and noticed 92 degrees celcius was not to my liking.
For medium roasts or dark roasts I don't see a problem, but for our filter roasts this temperature is way too high. For not loosing any flavors 90 degrees should be seen as a maximum.
The boiler at Caffenation or The Village also gives 92 degrees, but here we don't pour the water directly on the coffee grounds, which means most of the hand pouring water is 5 to 10 degrees lower.
The same for our Trifecta were we program the machine on 86 degrees.

I wouldn't be the good old Roberto Bergami and throw in the towel from the first day on, so I went searching, together with my taste bud companion Martijn, for a solution.

I started with getting the lid of the dripper. It was like a boiling pot there and this way it had more cooling.
The impact in the cup was minimum, so we started thinking of making the drip arm higher so the water would loose temp by falling from higher, but we never managed.

Then I remember how an old sport once adviced me to bloom the coffee ground with cold water. I first rinsed the white paper filter with cold water, then added the freshly ground coffee and, closed the dripper underneath and added tap water ; the same grammage as the coffee.

Once the hot water dripped on the cold infused coffee I had it sit there for 15 or 20 seconds and then opened the dripper.
This coffee was already way better then the 'original' one, but still i missed some details.

Later on I grinded a bit courser and lowered the ratio to 50 on 1000 grams and this gave me a more balanced cup.

End result is a satisfying cup, but not to the level of a professional manual pour or well executed Aeropress.

So when it should be easy and decent, this brewer can give you, with a cold pre infusion/bloom, a good morning cup, but is still not a machine on the level of a flat bed Bunn brew or a decent manual 'Barista' pour.

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