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For us, brewing coffee is really about enjoyment. Along with some experimentation, the idea is to create a cup that will bring out the coffee's characteristics and which you enjoy! You can't go wrong if you start with quality coffee beans and equipping yourself with some essential knowledge. Understanding some of the principles behind coffee making will help you become more competent, whichever method you choose.
Start with Good Coffee
There are too many ways to define good coffee. Here's what we like to focus on.
Fresh is best –
Coffee tastes best when it is fresh. Once coffee is roasted, it begins to lose some of its flavour through oxidation. We recommend that coffee be consumed within 2-3 weeks of opening.
Freshly ground –
Coffee rapidly loses its flavour and freshness after it is exposed to oxygen. For best results, we recommend grinding your coffee just before use.
What is Coffee Brewing
Coffee brewing is all about using hot water to extract the soluble compounds in roasted coffee. Whichever method you choose, extraction is the primary process. When dissolved in water, these compounds eventually define the coffee's aroma and flavour profile. Understanding this relationship between extraction and flavour is a fundamental part of brewing.
The craft involved in brewing a great cup of coffee is working out how to manage and control the extraction process, allowing the flavours of the coffee to make it into the cup. For this to happen, there are a few key factors: (i) grind size; (ii) water temperature; and (iii) time.
Grind size has a direct impact on the flavour of your coffee. If the goal is to extract the optimum flavour from your coffee each time, it is important to obtain a consistent grind, whichever brewing method you choose. This is to avoid different rates of extraction which can leave your coffee tasting unbalanced and muddied.
In terms of the right equipment, burr grinders are indispensable. We prefer them over blade grinders as they are more reliable in producing an even grind, which is great when you are aiming for a smooth extraction.
Water temperature matters because it directly affects the rate at which the flavour compounds in coffee dissolve. Too high and there is a greater risk of over-extraction.
In general, the ideal temperature for brewing is between 92°C–94°C for espressos and 88°C–94°C for filter brew methods.
A delicious brew is one that is balanced in flavour. Time becomes all-important if you consider that coffee is made up of different compounds that dissolve at different rates. This means that some flavour compounds dissolve quickly while others can take a longer time to extract.
Carefully adjusting your brewing time is one way to optimise the different stages of coffee extraction, creating a balanced flavour profile in the cup.