Tips / Brewing Methods
This section is where you can expect to see the coffee snob coming out in me 🙂 I’ll assume that since you are reading this, you love a good cup of coffee as much as I do. Also you likely well know that we all have our preferences, likes and dislikes and I don’t intend to change anybody’s mind here, just a place to share. Feel free to contact me with your opinions and/or success stories related to coffee.
You can make great coffee with a quality grinder and a mediocre (brewing) machine, but hardly can you make great coffee with a quality machine and a mediocre grinder. Get the best grinder you can afford. A few that have good reviews are: Capresso Infinity(left), Bodum Bistro & Baratza Virtuozo(right).
One of the questions that I get asked a lot is, what’s the correct grind size for my fresh coffee beans. This depends on how long of brewing time you are using. Percolators and French Press usually brew for a longer time so a coarse grind (although French Press by design work best with a coarser grind, therefore the longer extraction times). Automatic or Drip machines usually get the best results from a medium grind and the pour-overs, or methods that we are manually controlling the brew times on, usually benefit from a medium to fine grind.
AeroPress & Pour-Over
I have found it is hard to beat a simple AeroPress brew method(left) for taste. Although I am using a Clever Dripper pour-over method(top-right) that produces good results too. One problem with either of these methods is that an additional water heater/kettle is needed to do these justice.
Which ever method you choose I have found that the ideal water temperature is between 195-200° and extraction time is under 4 minutes, again, depending a lot on method and grind size.
Espresso is an interesting brew method. Starting in Italy as a faster way to make coffee. Google it sometime. This method of brewing coffee has an addictive quality about it with many different opinions out there. One thing that most ‘aficionados’ agree on though, spend your money on a grinder if you want to pull consistent shots. The machines range from Fully automatic to basic lever designs that are very minimalist. Many home setups use the entry level commercial grade equipment to get that ‘perfect’ cup. There’s far too much info regarding espresso to try to cover it all here. So again, if you get serious about your coffee and serious about espresso, talk to a friend who knows something about it, and/or go to the internet Google’s your friend with this.
One of the newest brewing method I have found is from a new company called Spinn. It uses centrifugal force to extract the coffee. Looks very interesting check it out.
If you care to read more about the standards in the coffee industry (ie brewing, cupping, water quality, shelf life) Specialty Coffee Association of America has a LOT of info to wade thru.