Brewing a great cup of coffee is actually quite simple. Yet, the basics have often been unclear to many and this really isn’t surprising with the culture of instant and commercial coffee most of us were raised in. We now call this the “first wave”. The “2nd wave” created a type of coffee culture in America, with its focus on over-roasted beans, often resulting in a bitter cup.
Thankfully, we are now driving forward into the “3rd wave”, and there is a growing desire for truly great coffee. Even still, brewing remains the last step in the process and is so essential for us to elicit the full flavors and relish our daily cup of joy.
Please note: the following applies to all basic immersion or drip techniques. Exceptions are noted where applicable.
The keys to brewing coffee with a proper and full extraction:
Hot water, between 195-205 F
– Higher temps create bitterness
– Lower temps don’t allow a full extraction and result in underdeveloped flavors
Exception: Aeropress, which usually benefits from lower brew temps
2. Proper Grind. It may seem unlikely, but a quality grind has a dramatic effect on brew quality
– A good burr grinder is essential. The Baratza Encore is a good starting point and is one that we recommend. The company is a pleasure to deal with and provides excellent support
– Avoid all “blade grinders” and cheap burr grinders
– At this time, we don’t recommend Capresso, as customers can’t buy replacement parts.
3. Good Filters. Many (most?) filters have an adverse effect on flavor, even after being rinsed with hot water
– Stick with good quality filters, including Trader Joe’s and Hario. Purists will wish to pre-rinse their filter
4. Quality Water. Eh? What? Some people have good tap water and others … not so much.
The water we use to brew coffee has a huge impact on flavor! Remember that coffee is 99% water. Garbage in – garbage out. Water is so deep a topic that we’ll deal with it in a separate blog post.
5. Quality Fresh-Roasted Coffee. The best brew can’t overcome poor ingredients.