Agitation —Stir, Swirl, or Gently Shake?

No, we’re not talking about your laundry washing machine. This down-in-the-weeds topic affects how to best extract your coffee when using a hand brew method like a pour over or French press. The goal is even coffee extraction. And according to this article, “How does agitation affect filter coffee brewing,” apparently …

One extraction variable that can often be ignored is agitation.

A friend sent a link to a pour over Ultimate V60 technique video by a “real coffee nerd.” He said he found it counter to what we do and what he reads online and sees on YouTube. I actually didn’t find it all THAT different. And I told this friend who was watching coffee nerd videos to get a grinder! I thought he’d get better quality by freshly grinding his coffee than nerding out on his pour over technique.

The new things for me in the video that stuck out were: (1) swirling before and during the bloom and (2) I didn’t know that proof of a good extraction was an ending flat bed of coffee grounds. I hadn’t been sure if a good extraction was when the grounds were around the entire filter cone, or when they were all at the bottom of my dripper, in a flat bed.

I do know you need water and coffee meeting each other for a good extraction. I sometimes have seen people keep adding just enough water to cover their grounds (not nearly as much as the dripper can hold) and letting it pour through, and then adding a little more, repeat, etc. Too little water trying to get through all that coffee resting on the bottom. This kind of brewing tastes different than when you let the water and coffee fully get together and then let your brew drip through the filter.

So after swirling entered my awareness, these two Perfect Grind articles about agitation caught my attention:

Swirl Or Stir? Achieving Even Extraction With Filter Coffee Drippers

How does agitation affect filter coffee brewing?

Anyway, there are obviously more details conveyed in a video than when just reading. Though I watch movies for entertainment, I am not a big fan of videos. It’s just me and the way I operate. For some reason, I have little patience for posted videos (except if they’re under 2-3 minutes long). Maybe it’s the lack of quality control. Almost anyone who can make a video can post a video. But so many people learn real skills on YouTube. Not me. I also rarely use Siri, Alexa, or “Hey, Google.” I prefer still shot photos or things I can read. There are WAY too many videos available, so it takes a lot for me to watch them. I have to be highly motivated. And I might use the settings to watch it at the fastest speed to get the gist of it. Or try to drag the bar to the areas I think I might be interested in. I guess I’m often doing a similar thing with reading. I might not read it all, but scan to the parts I’m interested in.

I was sharing with a different friend my slight aversion to video , and apparently he’s the same way. He hardly ever looks at videos, even ones that friends send him. He’s also the oddball who I think is still not using Facebook. One of the holdouts.

Know thyself.

… Well, isn’t that interesting. We’ve probably all heard that “Know thyself” expression numerous times. I googled it, in case I mentally refer to it in an incorrect way. I discovered this article, “‘Know thyself’ is not just silly advice: it’s actively dangerous.” Of course that title piqued my interest. That article even uses coffee preferences (“I’m an espresso [or cappucino] drinker”) as analogies of who we think we are. Maybe the most intriguing part of this post is that link.

One thought on “Agitation —Stir, Swirl, or Gently Shake?

  1. Lovely post. Enjoyed the Know Thyself link. And I’m with you on videos. Currently, I tend to read transcripts rather than watching videos … perhaps that will change …

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