Brewing Suggestions

The grower, the roaster and the brewer, these three working together can produce exquisite coffee. You have purchased excellent coffee beans, the rest is as simple as pushing a button… Sadly, it’s not that easy. Too often improper brewing ruins what could have been excellent coffee. We want to offer some suggestions here that hopefully help!

Please read our article titled: Coffee Extraction Fundamentals – Nuts & Bolts This will give you a better understanding of the extraction process and what we’re trying to achieve with the brewing process.

Suggested Recipes

*  For a cleaner cup, don’t plunge the plunger. Just leave it at the level of the liquid and use the grounds/screen as a filter by slowly pouring through the plunger. You’ll get a cleaner cup but still have that full flavor from the naturally occurring oils.

Grinding

A great grinder will transform your coffee experience from the inside out. More importance should be placed on your grinder than on the brewing equipment. Quality grinding equipment with sharp aligned burrs, will reward you with coffee that is both flavorful and delicious.

The grind size of the coffee is crucial. The finer the grind, the more surface area is exposed to the brew water. The size of the grind largely determines how quickly / easily the extraction happens. If the grind is too fine you’ll over-extract the brew (Bitter, strong, unpleasant) or too large you’ll under-extract (Sour, salty, thin) or a poor quality grind with too wide a particle distribution and there will be both of these mixed and very little clarity of flavor.

Water

Water can make or break your best attempts at great coffee.  Because the minerals in water are essential to the extraction process, an easy solution is to use a product like:https://thirdwavewater.com mixed with either distilled or RO water. SCA says that a TDS of 100-120 ppm is ideal. Water TDS meters are a cheap and easy method to track total TDS, but not the actual mineral composition. If you don’t know what the mineral content / TDS of your water is, buying bottled spring water is usually the easiest path to great coffee.

Waters to avoid: Softened (It usually has too much sodium / TDS), Distilled water (No mineral content) Municipal water that contains Chlorine, RO while not ideal (Too low mineral/TDS) can still be an okay brewing water if you grind courser or increase the dose.

Remember to periodically clean any containers / water holding that are used to store water as bacteria can also affect coffee flavors.

Water Temperature

The temperature of the brewing water is very important. There’s a strong correlation between the roasted density of the beans and the brewing temp, a light roasted coffee will generally be denser and need hotter water to extract properly. We regularly measure density on all our coffees and the density together with processing method guide our suggested brewing temps printed on the labels. Hotter = sweeter / Cooler = more acidic, all else being equal.

Coffee to Water Ratio

The proportion of coffee used in relation to the amount of water, constitutes the brewing ratio. A common industry standard brewing ratio is 1:16 (one part coffee to 16 parts water). The proper way to measure coffee is by weight. A good gram scale that’s accurate to 0.1g /3kg is easy to find and buy. You can measure coffee by volume, but you lose a lot of accuracy because of varying bean densities.

Brewing Process & Time

There are two basic brewing methods, diffusion and immersion. Diffusion (Sometimes called percolation) means water is flowing around and through the aggregate of ground coffee. Immersion means the ground coffee is soaked (or steeped) in the brew water.

Time is often mistakenly thought of as an important variable in the brewing process but contact time is the result of grind size, water temp/quality & brew ratio, all of which influence the resulting cup. I believe too much emphasis is placed on contact time and more consideration should be given to the grind size / brew ratio relationship. For example, when using a coffee maker that doesn’t allow control of water delivery, grind size / brew ratio is the best way to control extraction.

In a normal brew 80 – 85 percent of the solubles are likely extracted during the first minute of the brewing process.

Sometimes it just comes down to experimentation, and finding your perfect brewing formula with your personal equipment.