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A step-by-step guide to brewing great coffee
Coffee is optimal if it is brewed immediately after it is ground, as the aromatics will be fully captured in the cup. It is also important to use the proper grind size for the type of brew method you are using.
Many people that buy whole bean coffee for home brewing use blade grinders. The benefit of these grinders is their economical price and convenience for preparing freshly-ground coffee, but they tend to chop the beans and it is very difficult to achieve the proper particle size with them. Conical burr grinders give a clean and even grind and allow you to set the grinder to maintain a consistent grind particle size based on your brew method.
Below are some general grind size guidelines, but be sure to experiment a little yourself to dial-in your grind.
Espresso – very fine, best to use an espresso grinder
Single cup pour-over – fine
Automatic drip brewer – medium
French press or percolator - coarse
Up to about 28% of roasted coffee bean solids can be dissolved into hot water, but the optimal extraction rate is 20% to achieve the best flavours and balance. An under-extracted cup tastes weak and generally lacks any of the pleasurable qualities that we look for in specialty coffee. An over-extracted coffee may be bitter and astringent or dirty tasting, even when high quality coffee is used. Proper extraction is key to bringing out the possibilities in roasted beans.
It is important to use a suitable coffee to water ratio. We recommend 2 rounded tablespoons of ground coffee per 10oz mug, but you can play with this a bit to find your preference in strength.
Some other factors to control during brewing:
Use only clean, cold or filtered water to boil
Brew with hot water just off the boil
Use the proper grind size for the brew method
Stir in grinds for pour-over and French press
Time extraction for espresso (25-30 secs.), pour-over (3+ mins.), French press (4 mins.)