Alan Adler reports on the Brix, Victoria and coffee in general

Alan’s Report on Discovery Coffee Visit - Victoria

Many thanks to Colin for arranging for my visit to Discovery. And thanks to Sam for hosting me. I loved his café. It’s a REAL coffee house. I was surprised to measure the Clover brew strength at 0.9 Brix. 1.5 Brix = 1.25% Total Dissolved Solids and is the SCAA gold standard for strength. My Krups drip machine makes 1.5 Brix when used exactly as directed. Most restaurant drip is also about 1.5 Brix. Peet’s drip is about 2.1 Brix. The Intelligentsia booth at SCAA made 1.8 Brix in their Clover.

My first serving of AeroPress to the trio of tasters (Adam, Colin and Sam) was diluted to about 0.9 Brix to match the Clover. Sam wanted more body, so I took some of the same AeroPress concentrate and diluted it to about 2 Brix. The trio all liked this more. 2 to 2.5 Brix is a favorite Americano strength of AeroPress tasters. The reduced bitterness of the AeroPress process goes down well at this increased strength.

I measured an earlier Discovery espresso pull at 10.9 Brix. That’s a good number for a “real” coffee house. Some examples of Brix readings are appended at the end of this report. I did not measure the pull that Sam made for the taste comparo. My AeroPress overshot to 13.9 Brix. I had wanted to match the 10.9 Discovery pull.

I believe that when tasters use words like “transparency” or “subtle flavors” they may actually prefer weaker brew. (So Colin, you might enjoy experimenting with various strengths when time permits).

The following are approximate predictions for AeroPress brew strength with a grind which takes about 30 seconds to press two scoops, and 175F water (all with two scoops of beans or grind with the AeroPress scoop, which holds 11 to 12 grams per scoop)

Water to the top of the 2 oval ~ 5 Brix (about Starbucks strength)
Water to the middle of the 2 oval ~ 7.5 Brix
Water to the bottom of the 2 oval ~ 9.5 Brix


Other Brix readings:

0.9 Brewed coffee - Doubletree Hotel – Santa Barbara
0.9 Vending Machine at Better Homes & Gardens Editorial Offices
1.3 Keurig Pod Machine at Housewares Show – Nantucket Blend
1.4 Flavia Pod Machine at Better Homes & Gardens Editorial Offices
1.5 Bunn Pod Machine (equal to SCAA “Gold Standard”)
2.0 Brewed coffee, Mr. English – Los Altos Coffee/Water=0.103,
2.1 Brewed coffee at Peet’s – Los Altos
2.9 Bialetti Moka Pot at National Housewares Show
3.4, 3.6 Nespresso capsule machine
3.7 Victoria House concentrate
4.6 Doubletree Hotel Espresso – Franke Evolution superauto (bitter and sour)
4.8 Starbuck's Espresso, Los Altos – Franke superauto
4.4 Filtron cold-brewed concentrate SCAA 2005
4.9 Solis automatic at SCAA 2005
5.0 Typical AeroPress with water to top of oval
5.2 Ken Davids' Saeco Vienna (2004)
5.3 Ken Davids' Saeco Vienna July 25, 2005
5.5 Espresso analysis from “Espresso Coffee” by Illy and Viani
5.9 Italian lever home machine
5.6 Rancillo booth at SCAA 2005
6.9 Double Espresso - Mr. English Coffee Co. 6/2/06
7.3,7.4 Pasquini Riviera
7.5, 11 Peet's, Palo Alto
7.5 Typical AeroPress with water to center of oval
9.5 Typical AeroPress with water to bottom of oval
13, 21 Intelligentsia Booth at 2006 SCAA
20.6 Cafe' Vivace (David Schomer)
21 Richard Reynolds’ home machine
23.0 The highest Brix I’ve brewed on AeroPress
31 Café Vivace Booth at 2005 SCAA

Alan Adler is the president and C.E.O. of Aerobie Industries, California. He invented the Aerobie flying disc. He invented the Aeropress coffee maker.