Melodrip Recipe Detailed Explanation
The melodrip recipe is created with two specific goals in mind:
- To reduce the amount of fine particles suspended inside the brew using standard kettle agitation. Less suspended fines effectively reduces the clogging of filter pores and the amount of particles discharged through the filter paper.
- To ensure that the total fluids percolated (TFP) throughout the slurry is higher than when pouring with a standard kettle. We believe that with a properly prepped slurry, percolation (vs agitation) is the most important aspect of efficiently extracting coffee flavor compounds (similar to the focus on percolation in espresso).
Melodrip recipes are similar to traditional bare kettle recipes, though there are certain guidelines that we follow based on what we believe an ideal melodrip brew tastes like from thousands of hours of testing on the majority of brewing devices on the market.
- Pour weight should range between 3x to 4x weight of coffee for standard grind sizes. When referring to a pour as a ‘3x” this means multiplying your dry ground coffee weight by 3 and pouring that amount. A 3x to 4x pour ensures the water level above the slurry surface is high enough for an acceptable drain rate and low enough to minimize water runoff (bypass).
- Melodrip pour schedules, or when pouring starts, is never based on time. In general pour overs, drain rates vary based on dynamics for each pour, declining permeability of the slurry and filter paper, as well as grind profile, so scheduling each pour based on a fixed time is only ideal when the coffee and grind profiles are very predictable.
For example, when beginning each 50mL pour every 30sec, the starting water level may be different every 30sec, which can result in variability between each pour. As water pressure and water level are directly linked, we chose to prioritize consistent water pressure with every pour by beginning and ending each pour at the same water level.
This approach to consistency allows us to reproduce, isolate, and troubleshoot any brewing errors methodically with less variability.
All recipes below can be divided into three specific phases.
The standard “melodrip recipe” is intended to taste and extract closest to traditional bare kettle recipe. The objective is to fully express the acidity, aromatics, and sweetness the coffee has to offer, with a boost in flavor separation and clarity.
First Phase: Bloom and Prep (Steps 1-3)
The first phase (Steps 1-3) prepares the slurry for percolation. We recommend the first pour to be a bare kettle as delivering heat and hydration quickly helps to distribute energy evenly and to extract flavor compounds on the exposed surfaces of the coffee particles. Brewing away this initial extract of flavor compounds accomplishes two things:
- Lowers the concentration of coffee in the slurry so additional applications of water are less concentrated and more effective as a solvent for coffee extraction.
- Expels a high amount of gas quickly so there is less deflection of water/fluids during percolation. Since the following melodrip pours are focusing on percolation, it is important that the void space between particles consists of fluid-permeable pathways which gas is not.
*I have experienced very aromatic brews replacing the bloom in this standard recipe with a melodrip pour, but the measurable results are inconsistent so I choose not to recommend this as a standard practice. Please do experiment!
Aside from being the most volatile stage of brewing, blooming produces the most random result, because some of the particles are in a foam state floating, some are in suspension, and some are settled. Since percolation is highly efficient while grounds are all settled and still, the overall extraction during this gassy bloom phase is not consistent so we recommend keeping poured water to around 4x coffee mass.
Every variable you start your brew with (Water Temperature, Grind Profile, Pour Mass, Coffee Freshness, Roast Profile) alters the characteristic of the coffee slurry when blooming, so the goal is to manage the slurry in a way that creates a uniform structure with the least amount of residual gas. Manual agitation such as probing and stirring helps greatly with this preparation.
Stick probing is often misunderstood as stirring. Technically it’s the same action, but the intention with probing is to inspect the slurry and not to apply agitation randomly.
Stick probing allows you to “see” and “feel” inside of the slurry so you can be sure there are no dry clumps and resistance throughout. When clumped together with coarser particles, fine particles become hydrophobic and are less permeable to fluids. Swirling the dripper or other forms of non-invasive manual interactions will not guarantee or ensure these clumps are dispersed every time, though depending on the grind profile (Medium to Coarse) stick stirring may not be necessary. The easiest way to know is to bare kettle bloom, then gently probe the slurry. If you feel there is no resistance and the slurry feels uniformly hydrated, the coffee and grind profile used will likely not require a probe every time.
We recommend starting with the tip of the glass stick at the bottom center of the dripper and gently spiraling outward, probing against the walls of the dripper and scanning during the process. When you feel any resistance disperse the clumps gently and continue spiraling outward. The whole process should only take around 5 sec.
Wait roughly 45sec -1min after pouring is complete and now the slurry is prepped for percolation.
Step 1-3 is important to hydrate and disperse most of the initial degassing of Co2.
Step 4 is OPTIONAL. This setp is an ‘insurance policy’ of sorts for finely ground, light roasted coffee. This ensures that any bubbles or easy to extract coffee compounds left behind from the initial bloom pour are released. This also may result in a faster overall brew time as well.
This second bare kettle pour and stir can be too much energy for medium to coarser grinds or more developed coffees, so trust your palate.
If the brew is too bitter, replace this Step 4 bare kettle pour with a melodrip of the same amount, or keep the bare kettle here and skip the stir. Both will yield a similar clarity result, though the second bare kettle will tend to extract higher.
Also, if you want to experiment with swirling, it should be done here before the Second Phase.
Second Phase: Percolation (Step 5 and Beyond)
The slurry is now prepped into an ideal state for water to percolate and filter through. From here the goal should be to use melodrip pours to retain the state of the slurry and not disturb its structure.
We recommend keeping all melodrip pours to 4x the mass of dry coffee. Exceeding this will increase the likelihood of ‘water runoff’ or bypassing out of the filter without percolating through the coffee bed efficiently.
The timing between pours is also important. After pouring, wait until the surface of the fluid drains to around 1cm above the coffee bed, then begin the next melodrip pour. Starting your pour at the same water level each time will result in the same water level when finishing your pour. This is important for maintaining a consistent drain rate throughout the brew.
As you continue pouring, and fluids continue to percolate, much of the suspended particles inside the dripper are gradually being filtered and collected inside the slurry. Pouring bare kettle or stirring the slurry at this point will release these filtered particles which can clog the filter paper, or be discharged through the filter defeating the purpose of using melodrip. When crossing the latter half of the total brew, most of the extractable compounds have been dissolved so adding extra energy through agitation here will more often result in diminishing returns such as clogging.
Total brew time should be around 4:30 including a 1min bloom. With ultra fine grinds or slower roasts, 5-5:30 can taste good. If the total brew time is below 4:30, try grinding 1 click finer and taste.
In the lab, recipes are transcribed as pours in multiples of dry coffee mass. and stick stirs.
BK4sMD444 is a Bare Kettle Bloom 4x, Stir, Melodrip 4x repeated until finished.
Notice how all numbers add up to the the Brew Ratio of 1:16.
This system is convenient because if I want to experiment with a new recipe but keep the same brew ratio I can do so by simply changing the pour mass so all numbers still add up to 16:
BK4sMD552 is a Bare Kettle Bloom 4x, Stir, Melodrip 5x twice, Melodrip 2x at the end.
Since the basic template such as pour schedule is fixed to 1cm above the slurry, these details are sufficient.
When we began research with melodrip in 2016, our standard recipe aimed for extreme flavor clarity. This way mainly because of the roast quality and standard grind quality available. This recipe revolves around 3x Pours:
BK3sMD33331 or BK3sMD3s3331
This recipe is ULTRA CLEAN in clinical. So much so that these cups could be missing some favorable aspects of body, sweetness, and acidity when brewing on current mid to high end grinders.
I still brew with these ultra clean recipes from time to time, but I would rather have our customer experience a their first melodrip brew with a cup profile that is closer to what they are used to than something that is on the far extreme end of a standard cup of coffee.
The melodrip instrument was designed to enable more control and connection to the brewing process. It is designed to offer a different perspective to the drippers you already own and also bring out aspects of your coffees that you could not have tasted otherwise. This is not supposed to replace your kettle, but to supplement the process so you can dive deeper into brewing variables that did not exist previously.
As always, we can always be reached with questions and further conversation through our social channels or email email@example.com