Friday, January 15, 2010

Herkimer's newly modified Synesso.


Herkimer Synesso Mod from pouredover on Vimeo.

In the lab at Herkimer Coffee in Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood something exciting is happening. Using a timer, regulated line pressure and a pump bypass valve, a Synesso Cyncra has been modified for pre infusion brewing with variable pressure.

In stage one, the timer provides 4 seconds of 5 bar, regulated line pressure. The timer is easily adjusted, this was just a starting point. When the timer runs out, the pump receives full power but a bypass valve diverts a portion of the flow to the drain. Using about 7 bar, the bypass phase then leads to stage two.

Stage two is full pump pressure, approximately 8.5 bar. Based on visual cues the Barista goes back to bypass after just a few seconds.

The result was viscus, sweet, espresso with a huge amount fat to coat the mouth. Pure deliciousness.

10 comments:

sandeee said...

Tom,
I met you briefly when Scott was teaching me the Herkimer dosing method and we were both playing around on the Cincra. (I recorded a video of you pouring behind your back.) Is the time that you're talking about the after-market pre-infusion timer available from Synesso, or is it something else? We have been playing around with pressure, (as best we can with a Cincra) here in Ann Arbor, and I'm curious about how much work went into the mod.

-sandy

Photographer said...

sandy, I remember that day. Depending on the age of your synesso, it may be easier or harder to make a mod like this. This mod is different than what we were doing on that day.

I'd love to see that video. Email me and next time I visit home (Michigan) we should have coffee.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty trick!

Phil McKnight said...

Tom,
can you describe the dosing method that sandy is referring to?

Cheers, Phil

scott@herkimercoffee.com said...

wurd fellers...
the mod is a project that mark and i have been working on for about a year. the basic gist was to see if we could achieve a textural difference akin to a lever pull machine with a rotary pump machine. the result is: yes we can! and then some! basically we are staging pressure as it meets the coffee starting with regulated line pressure as the initial infusion. this has turned out to be primarily and acid developer. then we ramp up to a middle pressure to start the sugar draw followed by another ramp to the full 8.5bar level to maximize the colloidal pull. depending on roast age and the relative humidity this stage is usually the longest cuz the fats are critical. following that we drop back down to the middle pressure to stall the phenolic flush or over-extraction of the sugar while still drawing positive elements from the lower portion of the cake. lots to talk about so send me a note and we'll chat more about the details. bottomline, the curving of the pressure allows a more even and controlled expansion (eliminating channels), tight small gas bubbles that give a champagne mousse-like texture (like the lever), increased lipid viscosity noticable in both texture and body and an abundance of control options for acid and sugar development. so much to describe- i could go on and on and still just scratch the surface.

anyway...
the mod is something we wanted to work with and is something that is not too difficult to do if you have some electrical knowledge or machine service experience. mark is currently developing a way to implement it into future machines. give me a ring and we can chat more about it.

wurd,
scott

Phil McKnight said...

Hi Scott

Couple of questions. Are you guys only using naked PFs to get these results? I only have access to a 3gp Linea, & I've got it hooked up so I can get pre-infusion (timed) at line pressure, 4-5bar, then a jump up to full pump pressure, 8.5bar, then back to line pressure to finish. How can I get that intermediate stage of pressure? Yep, I can only do this with 1gp at a time.

Cheers, Phil

scott@herkimercoffee.com said...

for phil...
naked pfs fersher. reasons: no heat loss, no contact with anything but your drinks vessel, ridiculously easy to clean, and unhindered visual of your pull. in a word: purity. spouts taint flavor, texture, temperature and visual. haven't used them for many years.

as far as your linea goes you'll need to add a switchable bypass to the line after the pump. without it dropping your pressure back will yield nothing but a stopped flow. 85psi mid-pressure is the lowest to yield any flow for more than 2 seconds after max. also, using only two pressure stages (line pressure 1, pump 2) will yield a deeper sugar pull and an increased risk in phenolic burn (ashy carbon taste) with a dry tannic like finish. there is only so much goodness to go around and the longer you leave the coffee in contact with water the more you dig into the material for good and bad.

adding the middle pressure via a bypass valve opening in conjunction with the pump activation yielding a pressure better than 85 psi will give you more dynamic control. short times at both the initial and midlevel pressures will allow first the acid then the sugar to develop before ramping to full pressure to dig the colloids out. without a staged ramp the sugar will overwhelm the acid and mute it. of course this is not bad at all, but just not as satisfying after you've messed around with this a bit. done properly the acid becomes sensory and mouthwatering rather than an imbalanced negative (assuming your coffee has that problem). staging shots this way makes the coffee sparkle and allows you to bring the acid up or down, the sugar up or down, the fat in balance, makes spices pop-out and the ability to minimize or eliminate the phenollic flush in a short, pure shot.

i don't advise all this fun stuff for lattes and capps, though. digging deeper into the sugar and incorporating the bitters of phenol by diluting the fat with water volume gives the coffee the edge necessary to be present in milk (loads of sugar and fat). let me know if you need more.

wurd

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