Elements of Quality Coffee Brewing
It is easy to make a bad cup of coffee, even pulling a cup from the brewer before it is done brewing can change the flavor. Making a GREAT cup of coffee is a recipe involving ingredients, time and temperature. Here are some tips to help make a delicious cup of coffee. And don't forget the water - use filtered water but not mineral free water.
Coffee can taste very different depending on the way it is brewed. You can use a drip filter such as a Mr. Coffee, a Chemex pour over or a French press and the resulting flavors (tastes and body) will be different. We provide coffee that will taste great in a Mr. Coffee but we encourage you to also but a French press and or a pour over. Try each batch brewed several ways – you will enjoy a Varity of flavors and it might encourage to you to switch to something you like better or upgrade your equipment. Keep this in mind;
French press – (steeping) total emersion of grounds for exactly 4 minutes allows longer flavor development
Pour over – Most drip brewer heat the water to only 185 degrees. With a pour over (and French press) you can control the water temp.
Percolation – This method usually “over cooks” the coffee, but when you need caffeine – it works.
Espresso – A brewing method – not a type of coffee. It is coffee concentrate usually used with other “mixes”. If espresso drink does not have a coffee taste, you might want to shop around.
We could go on, Decoction (ground in water), Vacuum filtration, cold brewed, but you get the idea. Make your coffee like you would any recipe, adjust proportion, time and temperature based on the brewing method.
GRIND PARTICAL SIZE
All brewing methods should be adjusted base on the particular unit and other factors and other factors such as humidity, these are just generalizations.
Espresso – Fine like paprika
Chemex or Pour over – Medium course – A little bigger than table salt. Adjust for a good soaking, but not so the second pour take too long to clear.
French Press – Course like cracked pepper
Most drip Brewers – Medium – About table salt - If your ground are not completely soaked, your grind is too coarse. Likewise if the coffee overflows the filter, it is too fine.
OPTIMUM BREWING METHOD
It take time for the water to extract flavors from the beans. Some flavors (chemical compounds) are produced at different rates by the heated water contacting and soaking into the grounds. Aromas are produced first, then non-volatile compounds like caffeine, followed by other compounds that produce such things as body or thickness. This is why time and temperature are so important. If you leave your grounds in a French press coffee too long or percolate your coffee, it becomes too thick or too acidic. This may help;
Drip pot – It is strongly recommend that you invest in a pot that heats the water to 195-205 degrees. These pot will also be signed to create a better spray pattern over the coffee and in some cases even create turbulences (lift, separate or tumble the grounds) to extract maximum flavor from the beans. Use a thermal pot so the coffee stops cooking.
French Press – Pour the ground in against the side to create a turbulence, lifting and separating the grounds. Some folks like to whisk the grounds in an X or W pattern to release air from the bloom of grounds. Time the brew to 4 minutes and stop the brewing by pouring ALL coffee from the brewer.
Chemex or Pour over – Make this using a kettle with a digital reading to 205 degree ($40) or boil water and a little cold water. It makes a good and fast single cup. A good tip here is to pre-wet or rinse your filter, it improves the flavor. Set timer to 3:15. Pour 2-3 oz. of water to wet grounds and let coffee "bloom" for 45 seconds. Then pour rest of water and watch it drip. If timer runs out adjust you pour speed or grind. If it tastes harsh, your grind is to fine and if it tastes grassy, your grind is too course.
Espresso – Not much to say here, espresso has its own learning curve. However, we do enjoy many blends made for espresso brewed in a drip pot or cold brewed. They tend to have certain beans added (Robusta for example) that make a strong cup of coffee. These blends also make excellent iced coffees when mixed with a little cream or milk.
Cold Brew - Mix coffee and hot water for 60 seconds then add cold water, stir and add ice. Leave at room temperature for 12 hours. Drain coffee from filter and grounds, then chill.
CORRECT COFFEE/WATER RATIO
This is a simple task, measuring out the coffee - yet an area worthy of much thought and research. We believe most coffee is brewed too weak – at less than 1 gram per once of water. Likewise, many great single origin coffees are brewed too strong and the body and/or bitterness can overpower the enzymatic flavors (flowery, fruity and herby).
That said, keep this in mind, try the different coffees in your brewer at a ratio of 1 to 1.6 grams per once of water depending if you like your coffee regular or bold. You will find the flavors are different.
BUT FIRST, check the measurement of ounces to cups on you coffee brewer. For example, in the starter kit we sell, Mr. Coffee considers 5 oz. to be a cup. So an 8 cup pot of coffee is 40 ounces not the standard 64.
If you like “French Roast” or you make a pot for those that drink this type of coffee, make the coffee strong 1.6 or more per ounce. Some French roast enthusiast simply are not using enough grounds with the lighter roasts. The French roast profiles provide the strongest coffee flavor at a weaker ratio. Unfortunately, this sacrifices flavor. The French roast coffees all taste the same and really do not have any of the single origin flavors – fruity, nutty, caramel, chocolate, and so on. See our roast levels page.
Many people found that they only drink 2-3 cups of REALY GREAT coffee per day instead of 6-8 cups of just good coffee
AS a generalization try this;
DRIP POT – About 65 grams for 8 (5 oz.) cups of coffee. This can more than some traditional brews uses a guideline and is about 12 tbs.
Chemex and pour overs drippers – 2 grams of coffee per 1 fluid ounce of water
French Press – 24 grams for 12 ounces and 40 grams for 20 ounces.
Cold Brew – 100 grams course ground beans with 200g hot water, 600g cold water and 200g ice – recommend beans at least a week old. Serve in 16oz glass ¾ full of ice.