Five golden rules for better brewing at home

If you’re brewing coffee at home, there are a few simple steps that will take your coffee drinking experience to another level. You’ll enter a whole new world of flavor and start to really taste the nuances and complexities of speciality coffee. Why drink mediocre coffee when you can drink magnificent coffee at home?

Get ready to grind

The single biggest thing you can do to improve your coffee drinking experience is to buy whole beans and invest in a grinder. To extract the maximum amount of flavour from any coffee, it needs to be ground the moment before it is brewed. That’s because  increased exposure to the air accelerates ageing which leads to staleness. By buying and keeping your coffee as whole beans you will preserve its freshness for longer. Grinding will only add a few moments to you morning coffee routine, but it’s so worth it. Grind just what you need (enjoy those incredible aromas) and use it straight away. Invest in a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder in order to achieve a consistently uniform particle size.

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And grind again

It’s not all about the grind, but it’s massively important. Different brew methods need a different grind particle size, from espresso (very fine) through to cafetière (very coarse) and everything in between. Particle size largely determines extraction – that’s the term used to describe the way in which water dissolves and ‘extracts’ the soluble flavours found in coffee beans to create a cup of coffee. Grinding the beans exponentially increases their surface area, thereby allowing the water to do its work. The finer the grind size, the more extraction. The coarser the grind, the less extraction there will be. Under extraction leads to sour tastes, while over extraction leads to bitterness. Somewhere in the middle, lies the sweet spot.

Keep it airtight

When you buy your beans from us, they come in an airtight bag with a one-way de-gassing valve. Freshly roasted coffee goes through a natural de-gassing process and the valve releases the pressure this creates while preventing outside air from getting into the bag. This means you get super fresh beans. However, as soon as you open the bag you’re exposing the coffee to oxygen, which soon starts to degrade the flavour of the beans. So once you’ve use the coffee you need, reseal the bag, wrap it up tightly and secure it with an elastic band. Then store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Oh, and don’t store your beans in the fridge! 

Get the recipe right

For filter brewing there is a basic ratio of coffee to water that will help you hit the perfect sweet spot. It’s 60g of coffee to 1L of water. Scale this up or down.

Invest in some kit

It’s worth getting a few bits of kit to improve your home brewing:

-       Invest in a pourover setup, whether it’s a Hario V60, Chemex or Kalita Wave.

-       Get a gooseneck kettle. The narrow spouts make precise pouring much easier.

-       Buy some decent scales to help you measure both coffee and water to ensure you get the same great taste every time you brew. 

Experiment with your brewing, try out new things and have fun. If you want to get some more tips – and share some of your tips too – then come along to one of our coffee club events.

 

Eve MacFarlane