Cold water pre-infusion?

press, drip, syphon, clover

Cold water pre-infusion?

Postby Greg H on Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:07 pm

While in L.A. today visiting a wholesale account of some coffee company called Intelligentsia(???), I was informed that one of their representatives suggested they should now pre-infuse their manual pour-over with cold water for the initial wetting, and then hit it with hot.
I can’t verify if the rep actually said this since I was there a few days after their visit--just what I was told.

The vessel was a chemex with a Coava metal cone filter.

I would have tried a cup but had a long day of coffee tasting ahead of me and was already on my third.

I asked if they could describe a difference and they all said "yes for sure!" Although none of them proceeded to tell me what that difference was?
My hunch is they are doing it because their rep told them to, although to be fair, they were a bit busy.

Nevertheless, they're using this method of brew and serving it to their customers.

Coincidentally, I had just finished reading what I call "The Gospel according to Rao" this weekend--the published title is something like "everything plus more espresso".
Absent was any mention about the magic of cold pre-infusion.
Could this be the elusive secret to the dome???
Sorry I digress.

So why do I post?

Well, I was wondering if anyone else has experimented with what I’m calling “CPI”? If so, what have been your results.

For those who have and are in favor--what is your explanation?
For those opposed the same.

I plan to experiment next week after the holidays.

My apologies in advance to the coffeed police if someone posted on this back in 96—I did do a search before I posted but found nothing.

BTW: I have nothing but respect and love for all parties mentioned above—just trying to have some fun—I’m also on a handful of Aleve after 8 shots of espresso today and three cups of drip.

Thanks for any thoughts.
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Re: Cold water pre-infusion?

Postby Jim Saborio on Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:17 am

Cold pre-infusion? Well that just throws everything out the window, huh?

...aaannndd the Starbucks down the street just got a Clover
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Re: Cold water pre-infusion?

Postby Jesse Crouse on Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:42 pm

I've tried this once.

I tried a four minute cold preinfusion and found it to produce a very muted cup.

I would suspect that it would take quite a long time to really perform the necessary function of the pre-infusion. So long in fact that I have a feeling the coffee would nearly dry by the time you poured more water into it.

Think about cold-brewed versus hot, it take 4 minutes to brew a cup of coffee with hot 200+ degree water. It take 12-24 hours to brew with 65-80 degree water.

I would suspect that a cold pre-infusion would need at least an hour to even start to make an affect. But, you would probably have to fully submerge the grounds in water for an hour to really get contact you would want.

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Re: Cold water pre-infusion?

Postby Chris Kornman on Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:52 pm

I, too, took a crack at the cpi (as more of a unhappy accident than a science experiment, but I digress), independently from Mr. Crouse with the standard 45-60sec wait, and wasn't a big fan.

My understanding (which could be entirely wrong) is that pre-infusion allows the coffee to de-gas (bloom) and absorb some of the water. Then, when you begin to brew for realzies, the water has already absorbed some of the solids and is primed for extraction.

Tepid water doesn't really extract very well; it either floats the grounds or sinks right through them, and there isn't much de-gassing going on.

Then you've got the problem of temperature... Say you're making a pour-over, and your pre-infusion is in the neighborhood of 50g for say 400-500g total brew weight, you've got 1/10th or more of your final brew at around 70F. The temp will normalize as you brew, but that first 100-200g of water is going to be significantly cooler than it ought to be (which is probably why the cup tasted flat and bland to me).

And, so long as we're interested in full disclosure, I'm on 2 cups o' drip, 1.5 shots esp (1 was bad and I didn't finish it), 1 cupping table, and no pain killers, so take my advice with a grain of salt or whatever.

Cheers, etc.
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Re: Cold water pre-infusion?

Postby theotherone on Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:21 pm

The slurry now is even harder to maintain at a proper brew temperature. I can't see any way this could really work. I smell a rat.
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