Coffee Roasting

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Small Batch Brewing

I don’t recommend using the 1-4 cup brew cycle mode on this machine, even if you want to brew less than 600ml of coffee with the Taotronics 12 Cup Coffee Maker.

If you do have a need to do small batch brewing in this machine, I have a hack for you to try, detailed below, that will result in a much better cup of coffee than using the 1-4 cup brew cycle on the Taotronics 12 Cup Brewer.

Keep in mind, this is a $70USD machine. Where companies like Breville have invested tens of thousands of dollars in research and design, and even more money in engineering a unique design and mechanism to their high end brewers to produce a superlative single cup brew experience from their 12 cup brewers, well, this machine and its designer have not.

Taotronics’ solution is to just slow down the heat / pause / heat / pause system of their water heater when you put the machine in 1-4 cup brewing mode. In full strength brewing mode, the machine’s water heater pulses on and off every few seconds to deliver water to the dispersion screen up top in regular pulses at around 200F. But in 1-4 cup brewing mode, the pauses between the on state of the heating element are longer and more drawn out – about 6-8 seconds, as opposed to only a few seconds in the full brew mode – and the result is a slower brew speed and lower brewing temperatures.

Indeed, brewing our sample 600ml brews using the 1-4 cup mode resulted in an average brewing time of 7:02, and a coffee slurry temperature of 177F / 182.5F / 188F in the start / mid / end ranges. Just too low and too slow for brewing a good cup.

Brew hack for small batches

I do have a hack, and it’s one I came up with on older Braun and Krups auto drip coffee makers to get a better cup: Pour your 600 or 500, or even 400ml of water into the reservoir for a single or two cup brew, add your coffee the the filter basket, and leave the machine in full pot brewing mode. Turn it on, but do not put the carafe in place, leave it out of the machine (don’t worry – the drip-stop feature will not let the initial brewing coffee leak out).

Let the first full minute of machine operation take place without putting the carafe into the machine. The drip-stop feature of the filter basket will keep the slurry from draining, and you end up doing a full infusion initial brew of your coffee (which is kind of what the high end Breville auto drip machines do, but automatically, with gears and levers controlled by the machine’s internal brain).

After about a minute, put the carafe in place, and the brewed coffee will start draining into it. Voila, you just did a partial immersion brew for a much better tasting 300-600ml batch of coffee.

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