Tips for Brewing Great Coffee and Frequently Asked Questions
The easiest way to make excellent coffee is to use high quality beans, freshly roasted to the point of maximum flavor, and grind them just before you use them. If you already do this, you are off to a great start.
There is one more easy thing you can do with your current coffee set up: Adjust your brewing method to make it taste the best it can. How? By experimenting with the grind. It can make a huge difference in the quality of your coffee!
Coffee extraction, in any method, is about using water to pull flavor from particles of coffee bean. If the water passes through the grounds too fast, not enough flavor is pulled out. This coffee is under-extracted. If it goes through too slowly, too many of the wrong flavors are pulled out and the coffee is over-extracted.
In the middle is the sweet spot, literally. Well-extracted coffee will be sweet and rich and satisfying.
Next time you brew a cup of coffee, pay attention to the flavor. If it tastes great, congrats, you nailed it. If it's not quite right, why?
Under-extracted coffee will taste sour. In this case, you want to increase the extraction time. The simplest way may be to grind your beans a little finer. This will slow the water down, allowing it to pull out more flavor.
If your coffee tastes bitter or has an astringent (drying) quality, it's over-extracted. You’ll want to shorten your extraction time. You can do this by grinding your beans a little coarser, allowing the water to flow through more quickly.
This works for your Mr. Coffee, Chemex or Hario, or fancy double boiler espresso machine. Professional baristas are constantly adjusting the grind to make sure they are getting the best flavor possible.
For the best science, you’ll want to only change one variable at a time. While you are adjusting your grind, try to make sure the amount of coffee and water you use remains the same.
If you do this over a few days, jot down some notes to remind yourself of the changes. If you are using a blade grinder, you might save a little to compare. Or make a few cups in a row and taste them side-by-side.
Once you get your brew dialed, you’ll have a starting point for great coffee. As your beans age, or if you change beans, you’ll want to pay attention to that flavor. If one morning you notice it is a little off, make a note to adjust the grind for your next cup.
You may be very surprised at how much you can increase the quality of your coffee.
(For a deeper dive, check out this great article in the blog Barista Hustle: http://www.baristahustle.com/coffee-extraction-and-how-to-…/)
1. How much coffee should I order?
Double Jump Coffee usually comes in 8-16 oz. increments. Each 8 oz. equals approximately 226 grams of coffee. Depending on how strong you prefer your coffee, the ratio of ground coffee to water will vary slightly, but you can use the measurements below to calculate how much coffee you should order.
- Espresso Shots:
- 8 oz. equals about 32 shots of espresso.
- A single espresso shot requires about 7 grams of ground coffee.
- Drip Coffee:
- 8 oz. equals about 11 cups of drip coffee.
- An average 12 oz. cup of drip coffee requires about 20 grams of ground coffee.
- French Press:
- 8 oz. equals about 32 cups of coffee.
- An average 10 oz. cup of French Press coffee requires about 7 grams of ground coffee.
2. What's the best way to store my coffee?
Storage greatly affects the quality of your coffee. Sun, air, temperature, and humidity will degrade the coffee over time. Store your beans in an opaque and airtight container, preferably a place with low humidity and a stable temperature, such as a cool dark cupboard. The freezer is actually not the best place.
3. How should I grind my coffee?
Try to grind only enough beans for what you need at the moment. If you grind too much that's ok, just put the extra grounds in an airtight container and use them as soon as possible. Ground coffee will degrade much faster then whole beans.
Secondly, the grind is one of the most important aspects of getting your coffee just right. Too fine of a grind can cause your coffee to become over-saturated with water and release unwanted flavors. Too coarse of a grind and the coffee won't be able to impart all of the good flavors you are looking for.
Take note of the recommended grind in your machine instructions, or look it up online. Then experiment with the recommended grind and slightly finer and coarser grinds until you find what tastes best to you. It is more of an art then a science, but it is worth the practice time!
4. What machines do you recommend?
- Espresso Machine: Our favorite coffee machine is an espresso machine. We find it brings out the richest flavors.
- Moka Pot: A great alternative to an espresso machine is a moka pot. A moka pot is a stove-top coffee maker which produces coffee by passing hot water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. Moka pots come in various sizes, producing from 1 to 18 servings. For "crema" like an espresso shot, try the "Brikka" model by Bialetti.
- Pour-Over Manual Coffee Maker: Instead of regular drip coffee machines, we recommend porcelain or glass "pour-over" manual coffee makers. "Mellitta" brand is good and comes in various sizes. Regular drip machines can over-saturate the center of the coffee grounds and release a lot of acidity and undesirable flavors.
- French Press: A classic French Press can also produce superior coffee to a regular drip machine. We recommend insulated varieties to keep the coffee hot. Read instructions, be careful with your timing and press slowly.
5. Where can I get affordable good espresso machines?
You can get good used espresso machines from Craigslist and eBay. "Beginner" machines are affordable and can actually be quite good if made by the right manufactures. Also, the grinder that you select is equally important. You can spend $1600 on a espresso machine and still not make great coffee, so consider splitting your budget between a machine and a grinder.
6. How can I make a great cup of coffee?
Measure ground coffee AND water carefully. Accurate measurements do make a big difference.
Consider switching from a drip machine to one of the alternative machines listed above.
Store your beans in a cool dark cupboard and do not grind them until you are using them.
Pay attention to the time. Do not let leave your ground coffee in contact with the water for longer then instructed. For example, serve or decant your French Press coffee IMMEDIATELY.