Nick is the co-founder of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters in San Francisco, and produces and hosts the Portafilter.net Podcast for Coffee Professionals. Follow him on Twitter at @nickcho
Great piece, Daniel! I'm biased as an ice-brew fan ("ice-brew" is one of the other terms used to describe hot-brew-directly-onto-ice), but I definitely agree with your conclusions.
With all due respect, that "experiment" linked above proves nothing. What it does remind us of is that great coffee brewing involves many variables, and those variables matter.
What makes better music, a tuned cheap spinet, or an out-of-tune Steinway?
You can absolutely make better tasting coffee with a blade grinder than with a burr grinder in many situations. Similarly, you can have a terrible vacation experience in Maui compared to one in Newark, New Jersey. Unless there are sufficient controls in the experiment, the experiment is invalid. With all the statistical data provided, there was no data regarding grind settings, etc.
But more importantly, the Aeropress brewer is a fairly unique brewing method, and is (among readily available brew methods) uniquely suited for a finer grind, moreso than any other brew method. In order to do a better calibrated experiment, he should have ground a good bit finer with the burr grinders than it sounds like he did. If he had, I'm confident his results would have been very different.
I will add that coffee is annoyingly complicated. A future article will get in to some of the reasons why, but as so many have discovered, getting past the annoyance and learning more about each variable does yield some meaningful results. But don't take my word for it!
@Kenji & @Adam: Please wait for my follow-up article, "HOW TO LEAD A BLIND-TASTING BLADE-VS-BUTT-WHOOPS-I-MEAN-BURR." OKAY? THANKS!
Ssisso in Japantown!!!
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