Different brewing techniques require different particle sizes, based on how long water and coffee are in contact. Generally, brew methods with shorter contact times, like espresso or aeropress, require a finer grind size; longer, slower brew methods, like French Press, work better with a coarser grind.
Taste and brew time tell you which direction to go. If your mouth feels dry with an ashy aftertaste, you’re likely grinding too fine. If the coffee tastes weak, sour, or a little papery, you may be grinding too coarse.
Make sure that your tools — from bean grinders and filters to coffee makers— are thoroughly cleaned after each use.
Rinse with clear, hot water (or wipe down thoroughly), and dry with an absorbent towel. It’s important to check that no grounds have been left to collect and that there’s no build-up of coffee oil, which can make future cups of coffee taste bitter and rancid.
Coffee is personal – the right way to make it is how you like it best. That being said, mastering a few fundamentals will help you perfect your technique. Great coffee starts with great beans. The quality and flavour of your coffee is not only determined by your favourite brewing process, but also by the type of coffee you select. While there are a lot of choices, remember that there’s no right or wrong — for instance, you can choose a dark, flavourful espresso roast coffee and still have it ground to be brewed in a drip system. Have fun trying and enjoying different combinations.
Purchase coffee as soon as possible after it’s roasted. Fresh-roasted coffee is essential to a quality cup, so buy your coffee in small amounts (ideally every one to two weeks). And please, never reuse your coffee grounds to make coffee. Once brewed, the desirable coffee flavors have been extracted and only the bitter ones are left.
The water you use is very important to the quality of your coffee. Use filtered or bottled water if your tap water is not good or has a strong odour or taste, such as chlorine. If you’re using tap water, let it run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot, and be sure to use cold water. Avoid distilled or softened water.
A general guideline is called the “Golden Ratio” – one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. Check the cup lines or indicators on your specific brewer to see how they actually measure. And remember that some water is lost to evaporation in certain brewing methods.
Your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Colder water will result in flat, under-extracted coffee, while water that is too hot will also cause a loss of quality in the taste of the coffee.
If you are brewing the coffee manually, let the water come to a full boil, but do not over boil. Turn off the heat source and allow the water to rest a minute before pouring it over the grounds.
Coffee usually cools rapidly after being served, depending upon the container from which it is being served. And, many coffee drinkers may add cream or milk which also has a cooling effect. Ultimately, the temperature at which any individual coffee drinker will prefer their coffee is a personal preference, like so many other things that make coffee special. These are some of the reasons why it is best to serve coffee right after brewing, when it is fresh and hot – typically at a temperature of 180-185F.
The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important flavor factor.
In a drip system, the contact time should be approximately 5 minutes. If you are making your coffee using a French Press, the contact time should be 2-4 minutes. Espresso has an especially brief brew time — the coffee is in contact with the water for only 20-30 seconds. Cold brew, on the other hand, should steep overnight (about 12 hours).
If you’re not happy with the taste of the final product, you’re likely either:
- Over-extracting – the brew time is too long
- Under-extracting – the brew time is too short
Experiment with the contact time until you get the right balance for your taste. Prepared coffee begins to lose its optimal taste moments after brewing, so only make as much coffee as you’ll drink. Otherwise, coffee can be poured into a warmed, insulated thermos to be consumed within an hour. Try to enjoy your coffee as thoughtfully as it was prepared – take in the aroma, and notice the flavors in each sip. Many people have been instrumental in bringing it to your cup.
Pour over is an easy-to-master brewing method that any quality-minded minimalist will love. Simple manual brewers produce aromatic, sweet and clean coffees. A great choice for brewing for one or two; larger format brewers just require minor recipe tweaks to make enough coffee for the whole band.
Love a big-bodied coffee? This classic and straightforward steeping method consistently produces a creamy, rich mouthfeel that adds a touch of luxury to your coffee experience. Available in multiple sizes so you can brew for one or a crowd..
Is storage space tight? Are you brewing for one? If you answered yes, you’ll love AeroPress. This compact and lightweight brewer is a go-to for brewing on the fly. Try our inverted method, then go your own way.
A favourite method is to brew a concentrate and pour it over ice to cool, using basic pour over brewing equipment. Melting ice adds to the total water volume without weakening the final brew. Fast, intuitive, and delicious, we can’t think of a better way to enjoy coffee when temperatures soar.