Brewing Guide | Bunn Trifecta Automatic Single-Cup Brewing System

Brewing Guide | Bunn Trifecta Automatic Single-Cup Brewing System

Sep 1st 2014 Written by meredithlangley

Tinker, experiment, and explore your way to a perfect brew with the Bunn Trifecta as your guide. Its versatility allows you to get that pour over taste with the ease of an automatic machine. Just discover what your taste-buds love, dial-in, and enjoy.



Hey, Chris here from Prima Coffee Equipment. Today, we're going to walk through some brewing guidelines for the Trifecta brewer from Bunn. Say you have your Trifecta now, you're working on a particular coffee, and just thinking about how to dial it in. We're going to go through that with a sample coffee right here, and just see how you can get the most of this machine. Right now, I'm using a coffee roasted by Sunergos Coffee in Louisville, Kentucky. It's an Ethiopian bean, natural processed, so let's get going.

Bunn Trifecta Automatic Single-Cup Brewing System

Control every aspect of what happens in the brew chamber with the Trifecta's 11 different variables

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We're going to take the brew cup out of here, and grind some coffee into it. The brewing ratio I'm working with right now is just about one to 15. I'm going to do 20 grams of coffee in 300 milliliters of water. See where that gets us. About 13 grams. All right, we're just over 20 there, so take a pinch out. We're going to go with that, right around 20 grams, going to level that out, and then slide it right in here, and lock that up, have my cup underneath so I'm ready to go. Now, I'm on the particular menu thing for the coffee I'm looking at which is this, Ardi. I'm going to press this button to select. That's going to push me forward into the menu. Volume, we're going to do 300 milliliters, like I said already. Push on the pre-wet. Pre-wet is actually a cold water cycle. It's mostly used for tea so we can leave that at zero and ignore it.

For the pre-infusion, that refers to the percentage of water I'm using for pre-infusion relative to the total amount of water I'm using for brewing. For this particular coffee, I'm going to do a little bit more pre-infusion, or a little higher percentage of pre-infusion, if it's a more dense coffee, like this one in particular is. It's a light roast, high density, so we're going to stick with 18. Usually the recommended range is somewhere between 15 and 22, kind of middle or higher on that end of the spectrum, if you're working with a coffee like this one that is pretty dense. Unfortunately, the menu does kick you out of it after a certain number of seconds of inactivity, so we're going to push back into that. Go to pre-infusion. 18 is where I'll keep it for now. It's a good average spot to start. Fill pause refers to the duration of that pre-infusion. So, how long after it's filled am I going to wait to actually push on to extraction? This is also a good average place to start, about 10 seconds.

So we'll push on, and we won't adjust it until after we actually try the cup, and see what we want to change. Extraction time. Now, the extraction time range that is generally recommended for this, especially for this grind that I am using right now. Let me show you that, so we can get an idea of what we are talking about. It's kind of a fine drip grind. For this grind setting and this coffee, 46 is a pretty good place to start on the -- somewhere between 40 and 50 is generally the range that they will recommend if you are just getting started, starting to dial in a coffee. The higher end of that - 46 or so - is where I like to try for coffee of this particular density, because high-density coffees are more resistant to extraction. I'll push back into that fill pause extraction time, go on, start with 46, turbulence on. Now, the turbulence cycles are the most unique, and the most complicated, and even confusing part of this machine.

Turbulence on, turbulence off, and extraction time all work together. Basically while you're brewing, the Trifecta is going to have two to three brewing cycles. You take the total extraction time which for us is 46 seconds. You're going to cut that in half. So we have about 23 seconds, and those are the two cycles. It's never just going to be one cycle but always two or three. If we're going with two cycles, take your extraction time of 46, cut it in half, we have 23. With each of those cycles, you're going to decide turbulence on and turbulence off. Now, whatever you choose for the first cycle is what's going to be repeated for the second. It's a little complicated, so 46 cut in half is 23 for cycle one. I'm going to take 23 and I need my turbulence on and turbulence off to add up to 23. So if we push back into this, you can see that I am at turbulence on 10 seconds, turbulence off 13 seconds. That adds up to 23, which is half of our total extraction time, and then that's going to repeat for cycle two. When choosing how long you're going to do this, know that you need it to equal half of your total extraction time, and know that you can think of it in this way.

It's best to picture the coffee taster's flavor wheel, and I'll just use this lid as if that were it. So in your first third on the aroma side, you kind of have these bright, citrusy, herbal, acidic notes in the coffee. The second third, you're kind of working with those sugary, sweet, caramel, chocolate notes. In this last third right here, you're looking at more of the spicy kind of roasty, smokey, bitter aspects of the coffee. Now, if you want to highlight in your particular coffee this first third, what you want to do is an early and a short turbulence on, and then a long turbulence off. So if I were looking at a 23-second window for that first cycle, I might do maybe six seconds on, and 17 seconds off. That would be an example of short on, and then long off. If I wanted to highlight something more in the middle - this kind of sugary, sweet, chocolaty notes - I might do something more moderate. Maybe just cut it right in half. So maybe do 11 seconds on, 12 seconds off, and so on for that last third on this side. You get the idea.

We're going to push back into that for the turbulence on. I'm going to do something more in the middle to start with. So with a 10 seconds on, 13 seconds off. The result of that should make it so that we're experiencing more of those chocolaty, sweet flavors in the coffee. Turbulence power is going to be relative to the density of your coffee. So again, this is a high density coffee, light roast. We can afford to have the turbulence actually be pretty strong. It goes up to 14. I wouldn't want to start with full power. We might actually end up over-extracting, especially if we're not keeping the other variables in balance. But we'll start somewhere right in the middle, just eight. Obviously if you wanted to increase the rate of extraction, turbulence up. If you want to decrease, turbulence down. We'll start right in the middle, seven. Press out power is also like turbulence, relative to the density of your coffee, roast development, anything that is going to affect the rate of extraction. That's the intensity of the press at the very end.

We're also going to keep that right in the middle to start with. You can go all the way up to seven. We're going to start just with three, something average to get us started. And again if you want to actually get a little bit more out of that coffee, you want to increase the rate of extraction, you can increase that press out power. It is important to know that the press out power is also going to affect the mouth feel of the coffee, because that's when you're actually pressing it through the filter. So if you have it really high, you can actually press out more fines and have a little more of a chalky, pucky feeling in your mouth, whereas lower press up power would clean it up a little bit. All right, we will push on the press out time. Press out time is actually not going to affect anything as long as it is long enough. It doesn't usually take a minute to get all that coffee out, unless you are doing really high volumes. So if you went full 16 ounces, it might take that long. It's not going to take that long, but we can leave it to 60 for now, and just go ahead and cancel it when we're done. When I go to temperature, right now this is reading in Celsius, so 94 degrees is just about 201 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a decent place to start with coffee of this density. Let's make sure we got everything - power, time, temperature - we're back to the original menu.

Those are all the options, all the variables that we can control. Got some coffee ground in there. Just one more comment about the grind of this. When you're choosing your grind for your coffee, obviously you want to keep it in balance with the other variables to make sure you're not over-extracting or under-extracting. But if I go with a pretty fine grind like this, and a lower dose, I'm actually going to notice a cleaner, more crisp cup, not just because we're compressing the range of particle size. If I were to coarsen up that grind, we'd have a bigger range. So more large chunks, more small pieces. That's actually going to have a bit more siltier, heavier mouth-feel. I chose this grind setting, because I kind of like that mouth feel. It's a little more crisp, more clean, and it should be in balance hopefully with the other variables that I was choosing throughout that. So now, we just press the brew button and it's going to get started and show us everything that we just programmed in. Flow counter has gone up. It just showed that we put 300 milliliters in there.

Now it's pausing, counting down from 10, which was our fill pause time. Now, it's going to begin extraction. [inaudible] This is the remaining of our total 300 milliliters, what's left over from that 18% pre-infusion that we already added. That's all of it, and now we're going to begin a turbulent cycle. So this is the first turbulent cycle. We have this at pretty average power setting, and I think we'll run it for 10 seconds. So it just ran turbulence cycle one for 10 seconds, now it's going to be off for 13. [inaudible] After the end of those 13 seconds it's going to repeat the next time. This is our second turbulence cycle - second path for our extraction phase. It will run for 10 seconds and off for 13. You can see that's telling you what's going on up here, our turbulence off, and it's also counting down our remaining brew time, so just about 10 seconds left to go. One reason that you're able to get a really quick brew time on the Trifecta - as you can see we're only doing 40 seconds to a minute total - is because you have that turbulence, which increases the rate of extraction.

So you're able to get really similar results in a shorter amount of time, it's pretty cool. It's similar to an AeroPress in that way. Now we're pressing out with the power that we instruct it to, which is just the average of three or four out of seven maybe. We're just about good to go. So hopefully, that should give you some guidelines as how to start dialing in a cup of coffee. Every coffee is different, and there's a ton you can do to manipulate each cup with a Trifecta, which is one reason that we really love it. Take your time with these coffees, try maybe just the beginning parameter as recommended by us or recommended by Bunn, and adjust just one thing at a time, and see what changes they make. I think you'll be surprised at the big difference that these small changes can make. Then wait for a bit, run the same cycle again, see how it tastes, repeat, and repeat, and just change things slowly, and hopefully you'll get the same results we do with the Trifecta, which is a delicious cup of coffee. Thanks for watching.

Sep 1st 2014 meredithlangley

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