There is nothing like brewing the perfect cup of coffee in the comfort of your home or office, whether by french press or pour-over, simple machine or fancy contraption. Of course, we’re always here for you, ready to answer all of your brewing related questions and offer helpful tips.
The brewing method you choose should be based on your unique needs and coffee preferences. A french press is perfect for those who like a full, hearty cup of coffee with little to no fuss and cleanup. A drip coffee maker is great for those who like to set it and forget it, and can produce a very consistent, easy cup of coffee. There are also a number of steep and filter techniques for those that are truly passionate about the perfect cup, and have time to make it.
Regardless of the brewing method you choose, there are a few guidelines you should follow to make the best cup of coffee possible.
The Importance of Freshness
If you love great tasting coffee, the first thing to consider is its roast date. Coffee begins to stale just days after it‘s been roasted. That's due to oxidation, and it‘s very hard to avoid, even with fancy, wasteful packaging. With staling comes the bitterness that we’ve all experienced with bad coffee, which usually needs to be masked with cream and sugar. Double-double, eh? Consuming your coffee within one to two weeks of its roast date is ideal for optimum flavour. Think about the coffee you generally drink – do you know when it was roasted?
At Coast to Coast Coffee, we ship our coffee out the same day that its roasted, meaning you’ll receive it when it’s super fresh and still naturally sweet and delicious. To really appreciate your freshly roasted coffee, I urge you to try our coffee black, at least once.
Grinding your beans just before brewing is another important element to achieving a great cup. Ground coffee has a much larger surface area than whole bean, therefore oxidation and staling occurs within hours of grinding.
Burr grinders are preferred over blade grinders since they produce a more consistent grind size, however they are much more expensive. Blade grinders aren't perfect, but are much better option than pre-grinding.
Matching your grind to your method of brewing is also important. For example if you are brewing for espresso, make sure your grind is very fine, almost powdery. If using a french press, you will want to aim for a courser grind. If your coffee tastes bitter, it may be because it's been ground too finely, leading to over extraction. On the other hand, if your coffee tastes flat or sour, it may be due to a grind that's too coarse, leading to under extraction. Experiment to find the right grind for you.
Coffee to Water Ratio
This step is extremely important since it directly correlates to the strength of your coffee. The general rule of thumb is to use 2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee per 8 ounces cup. However, if you're looking to become a hard-core coffee fanatic, you should consider measuring your coffee by weight. For a dark roast, the optimal weight is 8 to 9 grams per cup and for a light roast it's 10 to 11 grams. Since everyone has their own unique strength preferences, these measurements are not set in stone.
No matter what your brewing technique, your water temperature should be between 90 to 96 degrees Celsius. Typically this means water that has been off the boil for about 30 seconds. Water that is not hot enough will result in under extraction, leading to a flat or sour taste. Water that is too hot will result in a burnt and unpleasant taste. Make sure to use fresh, clean water. If your water does not taste good, your coffee won’t either.
Tip: To make sure your coffee stays hot once it's served, pre-heat your filtercones, presses and cups using hot water.
Simply put, this is the amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds. The brewing time of coffee prepared in a drip machine or via a steeping method should be approximately 4 to 5 minutes. If you are preparing your coffee with a press, brewing time should be roughly 3 to 4 minutes. Espresso, as the name implies, means that the brew time is short – the coffee should be in contact with the water for only 20-30 seconds. If you find the taste of your coffee is not optimal, it‘s possible that you are either under extracting (the brew time is too short) or over extracting (the brew time is too long.) Experiment with the contact time until you can make a cup of coffee that suits your taste perfectly.
Coffee begins to lose its optimal taste moments after brewing, so it’s best to prepare only the amount of coffee that you plan on drinking fresh. It should never be left on an electric burner for an extended period of time because it will begin to develop a burnt and bitter taste. If the coffee is not served immediately after brewing, it should be poured into a warmed, insulated thermos and ideally consumed within the next 45 minutes.
Have Questions About Equipment or Coffee?
We love to talk coffee! If you have any questions at all, from brewing methods to equipment to bean varietals and anything in between, just pop us an email or give us a call, and we'll respond as soon as we can. We have brewed and enjoyed a lot of coffee and are eager to share our knowledge with you!