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Bruer Cold Drip System Troubleshooting
"I’m having trouble getting the drip rate consistent."
This is a common problem for cold drip brewing. In the Bruer system (as in all slow-drip systems) the drip-rate will decrease as the water level – and pressure – in the reservoir does. You will need to make adjustments during the brew.
The valve assembly is the key to delivering a consistent and steady drip of water into the coffee bed, which gives cold drip its unique flavor and texture. The valve assembly also allows air to escape the brew chamber, which is essential.
For the valve assembly to work correctly, make sure the central tube is narrow end down and level with the opening of the rubber plug. The level of the valve handle in the rubber plug is also crucial – align it so that the measure mark on the side is ½ covered by the rubber. If you pull apart the valve assembly for cleaning or any reason – or if you are having trouble getting a consistent drip rate through a brew – see the below steps for calibrating the valve.
"How do I Calibrate the Valve?"
1. Place the valve assembly in a clear vessel (i.e. water glass) so it fits snugly.
2. Pour enough water on top to cover the valve plug by at least 2”.
3. Turn the valve handle to full open (going by the measure marks.)
4. Gently pull on the valve assembly handle, wiggling side to side if you need to, until the water flows freely.
5. Then, turn the valve handle until the drip rate slows and stops.
6. Move the valve opening until you have good control of the drip rate and can easily set it to 1-2 drips per second, then you’re ready to brew.
"I set up my Bruer Cold Drip System and the drip stopped. What do I do?."
There are a few possible causes for this. It might just be that you need to open up the drip rate slightly, so start there, and check that the valve is aligned properly at the same time.
The drip stopping is generally a sign that the valve is blocked. This could be caused by air bubbles, which form if the water temperature is not stable. We recommend using an ice/water mix for your brew to help prevent this (see above.) During a brew, you may be able to clear a blockage by removing and then replacing the silicone handle that attaches to the valve.
After brewing, you will also want to make sure that the CO2 Valve (inner tube) is clear from all obstructions. This sometimes occurs when washing the system and little water droplets get in the chamber preventing the gases from escaping. To avoid this problem, always check the valve and give a light blow through the chamber to clear it from any water.
"I finished my brew cycle and there are dry coffee grounds." Or, "I finished my brew but the coffee is very weak and watery."
The water did not saturate all of the coffee grounds during brewing, which means your coffee will not be full strength or flavor. When the water follows a channel through the grounds – rather than saturating them completely – only the coffee in the channel is extracted.
To avoid this, we recommend:
- using freshly roasted (within one month of roast date) and freshly ground (in the last hour) coffee
- making sure the grounds are level and evenly distributed when you measure them into the chamber. Give the brew chamber a shake and a gentle tap to level the grounds
- ‘blooming’ your coffee by adding 5-6oz rapidly at the beginning of your brew and watching to see that all of the grounds are wet
- placing a paper filter on top of the coffee before you brew. The filter helps distribute the water evenly across the coffee bed.
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