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Observations on gooseneck kettles

Written by . Published on under the Coffee category.

A Melitta gooseneck sitting on a kitchen countertop in front of a kettle

A gooseneck kettle is almost essential when it comes to brewing pour-over coffee. I was doing a cupping yesterday and I used my regular electric kettle to pour water into my cupping bowls (read: three mugs I had in the cupboard). While I was able to pour to a surprising degree of accuracy, my water flow was not consistent. The water sometimes dripped, the flow rate was bouncing back and forth, and I had little control over where the water was going in the cup.

The key to good coffee making is repeatability. You want to be able to do what works over and over again. I usually experiment with my coffee making so I am changing variables often. But without the ability to make consistent brews, I cannot maintain a baseline. This is exactly why a gooseneck is so essential: without one, you will find it much more difficult to maintain consistency in your pour-over brews.

I have been using my gooseneck for over a week for my pour-over brewing. I have first noticed how difficult it is to get the hang of using a gooseneck. This is because before using a gooseneck I was never too concerned about where my water was going in my coffee. I focused on whether grounds were saturated as opposed to the direction of the water flow. My Aeropress recipe did not involve using a scale to measure water, something that has changed with my Kalita.

There are two variables I am always trying to watch: weight of the brew and direction of the flow.

I pour in circles in my pour-over brewing. I have found this is particularly important with the Kalita Wave because grounds tend to get stuck on the sides of the device. By pouring in circles both in the slurry and toward the filters I am able to effectively saturate all the grounds and reduce the buildup of grounds on the sides of the brewing device. I must also think about how much water I have to pour.

In a series of ten tests, I was able to pour 50 grams of water within 2 grams of accuracy (increase/decrease) all ten times. While I have not measured the exact precision of my pour-overs, I do know that I tend to be less accurate. It is harder to watch two things at once, but that is where practice comes in.

I heard a technique for producing latte art where you drop your elbow to stop the flow of milk from the pitcher. This is much easier to do than changing the angle of the brewer because you are more likely to drop some more milk into the cup below. This same principle applies while using a gooseneck. I drop my elbow and I am able to reach my target weights with more accuracy. If you are having trouble pouring, say 50 grams or 30 grams of water, try dropping your elbow just before the number on your scale equals the one for which you are aiming.

Some forward planning is necessary when using a gooseneck kettle. Like reading a temperature with a thermometer, it takes some time for the full impact of your pouring to be recorded on your scale. The water in suspension or at the very tip of your gooseneck does not add to the weight of the brew. Thus, it is necessary to stop before reaching your target weight. If you fall slightly short or slightly over your weight, that is fine. I do it all the time and I have not seen any negative consequences on my brew. But the more accurate you can be, the better. I just need to practice.

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