Q: How should the coffee be ground in order to work best in the Ekobrew?
A: If you choose to grind whole beans, your coffee should be ground with a burr grinder. Grocers and roasters always use burr grinders. When grinding at home, blade or chop grinders are not recommended. These type of grinders “chop” the coffee beans into uneven particle sizes. This usually results in uneven extraction, potential clogging and a greater volume of coffee residue after brewing.
Since there is no standard for coffee grind size, we recommend a grind used for flat bottom filter, drip coffee grind. If you see more than one setting for drip, choose the coarsest drip grind. Starbucks for example has a number 8 grind which is ideal (although we’ve found that that the Ekobrew will function with a number 7 or 9 grind as well). If using a commercial grinder (such as Bunn or Ditting), a medium drip grind should suffice. If using a home burr grinder, the terminology varies greatly depending on the brand of grinder, the user needs to test and identify the appropriate grind setting.
Q: Why do I have fine sediment in the bottom of my coffee?
A: With any screened drip coffee extraction, it is nearly impossible to have the coffee residue free. Tightening the screen would result in a restricted flow rate. Making the grind coarser will result in a weaker extraction and require more grams of coffee to obtain the same brew strength. Find your own strength versus residual insoluble’s ratio by altering the grind characteristics and volume of coffee required by your own palette.
In many parts of the world, a good cup of coffee is defined by the presence of some sediment at the bottom of the drink. They refer to this as the noble essences of the coffee. From a more technical viewpoint, “…insoluble solids and oils combine to form brew colloids. These contribute to aroma, body, and taste and alter flavor by trapping and later releasing soluble solids and gases and by buffering acidity.”
Q: Why is my coffee coming out too weak?
A: Weak coffee is almost always a product of the coffee being ground too coarsely. Bigger coffee grinds leaves too much of the coffee that is not evenly exploited during the single serve, coffee extraction process. By reducing the size of the grind, you create more surface area in the coffee grounds and allow water to more fully exploit the richness of the bean. It is also possible that you simply don’t have enough coffee in the Ekobrew to adequately brew the size of cup you are making.
Q: Why is my coffee flowing so slowly?
A: There are several factors that can cause this. The first and most obvious is that the coffee is ground too finely. The second most common is that the screen on the Ekobrew or the Keurig machine has not been consistently cleaned. Coffee contains oils that can adhere to and build up on the stainless steel Ekobrew mesh. We recommend that you wash your Ekobrew every third or forth day of use. It is also advisable that you clean the actual filter holder on the Keurig machine when needed. By simply removing the Keurig filter holster, you can look down the center of it and see if there is a build up of residue. It is as important to keep the parts of your machine clean as it is to keep your Ekobrew clean.
The last and least likely reason for a slow extraction flow rate is a faulty or worn out machine pump. The pumps on the Keurig machines are quite dependable and able to achieve 1.1 to 1.3 bars of brew pressure. That should be adequate to brew any reasonable cup of coffee. However, things do wear out and on some older machines, the pump simply looses its ability to put enough internal pressure on the coffee grounds to force water through them at an acceptable rate.
Q: Why am I getting grounds in my coffee?
A: The only way that coffee grounds, (not insoluble’s) can get into the coffee is if there is a breach in the side or bottom of the Ekobrew, or, there is a poor seal between the Ekobrew lid and cup base.
There are only a few things that can cause this. The first and most common cause is the user has inadvertently left coffee grounds around the rim of the Ekobrew or on the silicone seal. Any significant amount of stray coffee around the rim of the Ekobrew will not allow the lid to seat and seal cleanly with the cup. The result will be that once the brew cycle is engaged, the water and coffee back up and find their way out of the gap formed by the stray coffee grounds.
Note: If inserted improperly, the user can accidentally puncture the screen or base of the Ekobrew, and the end result can be coffee grinds present in the brewed coffee. (see below)
Q: Why does my Ekobrew have a hole in the bottom of it?
A: The Ekobrew is engineered to fit easily into the Keurig filter holder. If you feel any resistance when inserting the Ekobrew, pull it back out, adjust the angle of entry and reseat it. It is important to place it in the filter holder level, if you tilt the Ekobrew up or down, you run the risk of puncturing the Ekobrew screen or the base of the unit. The Ekobrew holds more coffee than any other K-Cup alternative device. The only way that we could accomplish this is to require just a little attention to the way it is placed in the machine. Once you see and feel how to do it, it is easy and becomes second nature.
Note: There are understandably manufacturing tolerances on ever Keurig machine. Those tolerances extend to the bottom needle placement as well. If you find that you are unable to seat the Ekobrew without feeling resistance, turn the Ekobrew 180 degrees and try inserting it again.
Q: Will it work with my machine?
A: The Ekobrew was designed to work with the vast majority of the Keurig single cup brewers. The only machines that the Ekobrew was not designed to function with are the B30, B130, B150 and B155. Click here for a complete list of compatible Keurig brewers.
Q: Why is the water backing up and making a mess?
A: If the lid seal is not clean and particulate free or the silicone O-ring damaged, the end result will be that water escapes from the top of the Ekobrew. The amount of water escaping will be dependent on the size of the breach in the lid seal.
A residue clogged Ekobrew stainless steel mesh will also restrict the flow to the point where it will force water from the weakest point in the brewing process, which will always be the lid.
A seldom identified cause of water backing up is the rubber grommet inside the upper clamshell of the Keurig machine. After time and exposure to heat, the rubber seal grommet can break down and crack. If cracked, the water pressure will exploit that crack and allow the coffee to back up and out of the Ekobrew. You will see this most commonly after having brewed your coffee and when opening the Keurig to remove the Ekobrew. The partially brewed coffee will be present around the recess in the lid of the Ekobrew and at times around the remaining surface of the lid.
Q: What coffee works best in an Ekobrew?
A: The brand of coffee should not matter. However, darker roasts have more surface oils and will tend to build up quicker on the Ekobrew screen. Medium or light roasted coffee has less surface oil and does not build up on the screen so quickly.
Many coffee connoisseurs recommend a single origin varietal coffee. Nothing beats the unique aroma or the flavor profile of a specific bean, from a specific part of the world. “Best” is a subjective term and can only be determined by you, and for you. Isn’t that one of the things that makes coffee so great!
Q: How often should I wash my Ekobrew?
A: The frequency of cleaning depends entirely on how many times a day the Ekobrew is used. If you use it once a day, once a week cleaning should be sufficient. If you use the Ekobrew multiples times per day, washing the Ekobrew every couple of days should adequate. Although the Ekobrew is dishwasher safe, it is seldom necessary to rely on that avenue in a normal cleaning regiment.
Hold your Ekobrew up to the light, looking inside of the cup. If you see portions of the Ekobrew screen that appear more opaque than the rest of the screen, it means that oils and residue have built up and need to be cleaned.
By rinsing the Ekobrew thoroughly after each use, and immediately after brewing, your maintenance and need for dishwasher cleaning will be minimal.
Note: If you use exclusively dark roast coffee or flavored coffee in your Ekobrew, consider cleaning it about 30% more often. Darker roasts and flavored coffee contain more surface oils than other types of coffee. Those oils can resist simple rinsing and over time harden in your Ekobrew screen as well as the filter holder of your Keurig machine.