How To Brew Coffee
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. Here are our tips to brew a classic cup of coffee.
The Equipment: Make sure that your tools bean (grinders and filters to coffee makers) are clean.
Rinse with clear, hot water and dry with an absorbent towel.
The Beans: Great coffee starts with great beans. The quality and flavor of your coffee is not only determined by your favorite brewing process, but also by the type of coffee you select. There can be a world of difference between roasts, so check out our roasting types guide.
Some of the flavor factors include: The country and region of origin , the variety of bean – arabica, robusta – or a blend, the roast type and the texture of the grind.
Freshness: Fresh-roasted coffee is essential to a quality cup. 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 Grind: If you buy whole bean coffee, always grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible for maximum freshness. A burr or mill grinder is best because the coffee is ground to a consistent size. The size of the grind is hugely important to the taste of your coffee. If your coffee tastes bitter, it may be over-extracted, or ground too fine. On the other hand, if your coffee tastes flat, it may be under-extracted, meaning your grind is too coarse.
The Water: 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 odor 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.
Coffee-to-Water Ratio: 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
Water Temperature: 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. (However, cold brew does not need any heat.)
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.
Always allow your coffee – or any hot beverage – to reach a comfortable temperature before enjoying
Brewing Time: 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) or under-extracting (the brew time is too short). Experiment with the contact time until you get the right balance for your taste.