CREATE GREAT COFFEE: THE BASICS
One of the beautiful challenges of coffee is how interesting and complex it can be. With this guide, we'll break down and simplify some of those complexities to give a few basic rules to follow to have great coffee at home.
Freshness is key. Stale coffee is bad coffee. We recommend brewing coffee within two weeks of the roast date. After this, you'll begin to notice a decline in flavor quality. The main factor in preserving freshness is to keep your coffee protected from oxygen. Storing your coffee in an airtight container is helpful, and so is grinding your coffee at home right before brewing.
Grind matters. The grind is one of the most important factors of brewing great coffee. Grinding your coffee right before brewing is important for freshness, but how you grind it is just as important. If your coffee is ground too fine for your brew method, it'll taste bitter and harsh. If it's ground too coarse, it'll taste sour and thin. You also want to make sure your grind particle size is even as possible. Click here to shop our recommended burr grinder. For a more in-depth read on grinding coffee, read our post here.
Water matters. Brewed coffee is made up of about 98% water. So if you’re using bad water, you’re going to have bad coffee. Using filtered water will help keep your coffee tasting good, and will prevent buildup inside your coffee maker. Water temperature is also important. It’s best to use water heated to 200–205°F.
Brewing ratio. A commonly asked question is how much coffee to use when brewing. When brewing coffee, we look at what’s called the “brewing ratio”. The optimal brew ratio is somewhere between 15:1 and 17:1 (grams of water:grams of coffee). If you’re not weighing your coffee in grams, a good starting ratio is 2 Tbsp of coffee for every 8oz of water. From there, you can adjust the ratio to suit your taste. If the cup is too strong, use less coffee. If it’s too weak, use less.
Extraction. A word you might hear when reading about brewing coffee is “extraction”. In simple terms, extraction is the process of dissolving solid compounds from coffee into water. Extraction is usually talked about in the context of grind and grind size—finer particles extracting faster, coarser particles extracting slower. Being able to taste extraction is key to honing in on the perfect cup of coffee. Over-extracted coffee tastes bitter and harsh. Under-extracted coffee tastes sour and thin. So if your coffee is over-extracted, grind coarser next time. If it’s under-extracted, grind finer.