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Dialing in The Rock from Starved Rock Coffee
Why the Rock?
When looking for a staple coffee to serve as a consistent drip, it’s important to look for something balanced, sweet, and chocolatey. Ideally, drip coffee should be balanced enough for black coffee lovers to enjoy and for others to be able to add milk and sugar and still enjoy. The Rock meets these needs with a consistent, balanced cup full of chocolatey sweetness and enough brightness to round out the experience.
Dose and Ratio
With drip coffee, the go-to ratio should always be between 1:14 and 1:17. Playing with these different ratios gives you the opportunity to find a level of strength that you enjoy and feel fits your customer base. The way this looks is for a gallon batch of drip (3785g) you will need between 220g and 250g of coffee input. It’s wise to have two doses dialed in at all times: a full gallon and a half gallon. Most drip coffee brewers have programmed or programmable settings for these two batches.
It is difficult to prescribe a certain grind size for brewing drip coffee because it is the variable that you will find yourself adjusting the most often. Even so, you should always find yourself with a medium to medium-fine grind size when brewing drip coffee. If you are using an EK-43 this typically means living between 6 and 8. (Note: This is a general rule, not a universal one.) An easy way to keep the grind size in line is to taste the drip coffee every day. If it tastes like it is lacking in flavor, try grinding a bit finer. If it feels over-extracted, intense, or bitter, try grinding a little coarser. This won’t always solve your problem but trial and error is a good place to start.
Serving Fresh Coffee
Serving fresh coffee has two primary aspects: before and after brewing. When it comes to before-brewing freshness, do your best to use coffee that was roasted between 7 and 21 days prior. This gives the coffee a few days to degas and prevents oxidization. Once a bag of the Rock is open, take the rest of the coffee out of the bag and seal it up in a clean, dry, and airtight container. After brewing, make sure the urn is closed properly. If the coffee isn’t completely gone within two hours, it should be dumped. At this point, enough oxygen has interacted with the coffee to cause it to lose sweetness and body. If at any point the serving temperature drops below 180 degrees Fahrenheit, dump the batch and make a fresh one.