We've been doing a lot of research lately on how to make a better cup of coffee. After many taste tests - with a lot of trial and error - the results are finally in! So, without delay, here are 9 tips to make your coffee great again.
1. Use fresh, whole-bean coffee: A big part of what makes coffee smell and taste so complex and delicious is the presence of aromatic compounds in roasted coffee beans. Immediately after roasting, these compounds begin to escape from the bean in a process called degassing - taking a lot of flavour with them! But if you don’t have a grinder, buying already ground coffee is also okay as long as it’s good quality and as fresh as possible.
2. Use a scale and the right amount of coffee to water ratio. This helps to keep the flavours at the right strength and lets the coffee bloom correctly. It's also why it is so important to weigh your coffee - for that perfect ratio for each method.
3. Grind at the correct coarseness (or fineness) setting - If you are self grinding make sure you are grinding correctly for your method. For example: typically, the french press brewing method requires a coarse grind. Drip, pour-over or Chemex brewing requires a medium grind. Espresso requires a fine grind. The take away? Know your grind size.
4. Use filtered water!! Did you know that about 98.5% of brewed coffee is just water? If you did, I bet you never thought that much into it. But what this means is that the quality and taste of water plays a huge role in how your brewed coffee tastes. If the water you’re using tastes bad or has any strange odours, your coffee will too.
5. Make sure your water is the right temperature. In order to extract the best flavors out of your coffee, the water you use for brewing has to be at the optimal temperature: between 195 – 205 degrees F. While the temperature not only affects the speed of the extraction (cooler water brews coffee slower than hotter water), it also effects what gets extracted. So don't forget to temperature check.
6. Pre-heat/pre-wet everything. Before you brew your coffee, make sure that anything your coffee is going to touch is as close to your brewing temperature as possible. If you don’t do this, your brewing device will steal heat from the water during the brewing process and significantly lower the temperature of the water.
7. Bloom your coffee. The bloom is a vital step in the brewing process. It lets water fully saturate the coffee grounds for a more flavourful and aromatic cup of coffee. The presence of CO2 can negatively affect your brew by pushing water away from the ground coffee and preventing extraction. So you’ll want to add a small amount of water at the beginning of the brewing process, and wait about 30 seconds for the coffee to bloom before adding more water. Make sure you stir your coffee so all coffee is covered when brewing.
8. Fully saturate your coffee. When brewing coffee, you want to make sure all of the ground coffee is in contact with water for the same amount of time. And while when you first add water to your pour over or French press, it may seem like the coffee is fully saturated, it’s not uncommon to find pockets of dry coffee. The best way to make sure all your coffee gets wet is to give your coffee a brief, light stir right after you add your water during the bloom phase.
9. Lastly, don't forget to experiment! Part of the fun of brewing coffee is experimenting with different brewing methods and different coffees! So why not try your hand?
So there you have it, our top tips on how to make sure every cup is a winner. So grab your beans; step up to the scales; do the daily grind; add filter; temp check; consistency is key; begin the bloom; saturate; and test it out yourself. The perfect cup of coffee is within reach, now go and make it!