Follow these important key guidelines in order to consistently achieve fantastic coffee drinks at home.
Start with FRESH Whole Bean Coffee
To ensure that you have the freshest beans available, only purchase specialty grade, fresh-roasted whole bean coffee directly from the roaster. Great coffee can also be found at specialty stores who act as a middle buyer between consumer and roaster, but the freshest coffee you can buy will definitely be directly from a roaster.
Keep your Coffee FRESH
When buying coffee, only purchase enough to last you one week, two weeks at the very most. Once you get your coffee home, remove it from its original packaging and put it in an airtight container to store it away from direct light at room temperature (a cabinet or drawer is perfect). If not stored properly, roasted whole bean coffee will lose its best flavors within 2 weeks time and ground coffee begins to degrade even faster, losing major flavor and aromatic compounds less than 30 minutes after being ground. The essential flavors in brewed coffee degrades yet even faster and should be removed from any heat source immediately after it is finished brewing and then stored in a thermal carafe to maintain optimal freshness.
Grind when Needed
For the best results, only grind as much coffee as you need for that particular brew, and do it immediately before you brew it. A burr grinder is much preferred over a blade grinder because a burr grinder ‘flakes’ the coffee beans as opposed to a blade grinder, which ‘chops’ the beans. The ground coffee ‘flakes’ will have a larger surface area than the chopped beans, which results in more evenly extractable coffee compounds. More compounds translate to a more flavorful cup. Burr grinders are also convenient because most of them have a range of settings that will allow you to adjust and set the grind size and grind amount for your chosen method of coffee extraction. A good burr grinder is a very important machine that will make achieving an excellent cup of coffee at home much easier and much more consistent.
*It is very important to pay close attention to the amount of coffee you are grinding and the size of grind you have selected. Both will vary depending on the method of brewing, the amount of water being brewed, and the optimal extraction time.
Use Clean Equipment and Filtered Water
Be sure to keep your equipment clean and dry. Clean equipment will not only last longer, but it also won’t impart any old coffee taste in to your future brews.
Time the Process
It is important to watch the clock while you are brewing your coffee to ensure that you don’t over or under extract your brew. Over-extraction will cause an unpleasant bitterness, and under-extraction can be identified by a flat and flavorless cup of coffee. A timer that counts down and has an alarm is really helpful.