How to Make Great Coffee

1. Buy freshly roasted coffee beans.

Buy your whole bean coffee fresh each week and be sure it was recently roasted.  If there isn’t a date on the bag, you are taking your chances!

Store coffee in an airtight container in a dry place, at room temperature to insure maximum freshness (not the freezer or refrigerator!).

2. Measure accurately.

A scale will go a long way to making sure you can make that delicious cup of coffee again & again!  Generally a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water is a great place to start when brewing, and then you can alter it according to the coffee used and your own personal taste!

If a scale isn’t in your immediate future, you can use a coffee scoop (~2 tablespoons) for each 6oz. of water used; or anything that you can measure the ratio with.

3. Grind.

Grinding your own beans just before brewing is optimal for taste, because aroma and flavor in coffee are extremely perishable. The best grinder uses burrs that give the most consistent and even grind. A grinder is a great investment since the whole bean coffee stays fresher longer than ground coffee. We call these the ‘Chefs Knives’ of the coffee world – you spend a little more for a great tool you will use every day ( probably even more often than those very expensive knives…), that will immediately make your coffee experience better!

Different brewing methods require a different grind or particle size. With a burr grinder, you can adjust your grind setting to suit the method you have chosen to use. The coarser the grind,( larger particle size), will slow down the extraction rate, but may mean an increase in overall extraction time. Whereas a finer grind (smaller particle size) creates more surface area, allowing for a faster extraction rate, and may also make the overall extraction times happen more quickly.

Remember, all the things you love about the coffee smell as you grind it, are being lost over time into the air if you don’t use it right away!

4. Use fresh, cool water.

Coffee is only as good as the water you use. If your tap water tastes unpleasant, so will your coffee! Use filtered water or bottled spring water instead.

Ideal coffee brewing water is medium hard with a ~7 on the ten point hardness scale ( or ~100-150ppm), with no discernable odors or impurities. Do not use distilled water or your coffee will taste flat.

5. Brew.

There are many ways to brew great coffee. Most people use the paper filter method, as a pour over or automatic drip coffee maker. A metal filter may help your coffee have more body and avoid using paper filters, but methods such as the Vacuum brewing and French press can give the most full bodied, richest coffee flavor of all extractions, and are fun to watch too.

Mostly you want to remember that optimal brewing temperature is ~200 degrees Fahrenheit. If your water is too cold or too hot, you could over or under extract your coffee while somewhere between 195 & 205 degrees F will allow for the best possible extraction.

If you don’t have a thermometer handy, use the ‘off-boil’ method – water boils at 212 degrees F; so simply boil your water and wait ~45-60 seconds for it to cool down into the appropriate range!

6. Drink & Enjoy.

There are no “rules” about serving and enjoying coffee. We like to drink it by itself, with no additives, to enjoy the distinct personality of each coffee, but then we also love Cappuccino, which adds milk to our coffee… in a very specific and traditional way.

Take the time to enjoy your coffee through its temperature changes.  Different aspects of a high quality coffee will be more apparent at different temperatures – PLUS, your ability to taste changes thru a temperature gradient.  While it may be very different from one temperature to the next ( and certain temps of a coffee may be your favorite), they should all be enjoyable and delicious.

Do not leave your coffee on a heat source after brewing. This causes unwanted chemical reactions/breakdowns that will leave your coffee, even the best coffee, tasting poorly.  If you want the coffee to remain more stable and at a certain drinkable temperature, transfer the coffee, or brew it directly, into a pre-heated thermal container.

Storing Coffee Beans

Always store coffee beans in a dry, airtight container. Moisture and air are enemies of good coffee.

Be sure the coffee is not exposed to light, as sunlight may reduce freshness.

Only buy enough coffee to last for a week or two from the time it was roasted.
This is the best way to ensure the freshest coffee.

Never refrigerate or freeze coffee. Your refrigerator is a very humid place, and the water that the bean absorbs will ruin it. The Freeze/Thaw cycle also damages subtle volatile oils, & therefore flavors, in the coffee. That’s not all — condensation on the container exposes your coffee to moisture every time you defrost it!