These days, greater numbers of people are staying at home more than ever before. So being able to brew a cup of coffee that can give you just as much pleasure as a trip to your local barista is an essential skill.
Here are some fundamental steps that you can quickly learn to help you brew the perfect coffee.
We encourage you to experiment with these steps: play around with different bean types and countries of origin, arabica vs. robusta or a blend, the texture of your ground coffee, and preparation methods and extra ingredients.
It starts with the beans
Treat yourself to the freshest, most organic beans you can get.
Look at the color categories. You can choose between light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. And don’t think that the darker the roast, the higher the caffeine content. Caffeine levels don’t have anything to do with the color of the roast. If you want more caffeine, just add more coffee!
Generally speaking, light roasts are preferable if you like milder coffee. These beans aren’t roasted for as long as other blends, so the oils haven’t broken through to the surface. Therefore they aren’t shiny or oily.
Medium roast beans still won’t have oil on their surface, but they’ll have a slightly more robust flavor than the lightly roasted beans. A medium roast can also be called American roast, as many people in the US prefer this roast.
Medium-dark roasts will have some oil on the beans’ surface, a more robust flavor, and a slightly bittersweet aftertaste.
Dark roasts will produce black beans that are shiny and oily on the surface, and more bitter with a more robust flavor. You may also hear dark roasts referred to as ‘charred’. Contrary to what you might think, darker roasted beans have less acidity in the resulting coffee, so if acidity is a concern for you, you may opt for a dark roast.
As for the country of origin, coffee is grown in more than 50 countries worldwide, so you have a lot of choices!
Another top tip is to buy your coffee as soon as possible after it’s been roasted. The sooner you purchase it, the more flavor you’ll get.
Grind them yourself
Freshly ground beans will make all the difference. Beans that are ground right before preparation taste fresher than ground coffee in your freezer or cupboard.
Make sure you have the equipment you need. The best grinders for coffee are burr or mill grinders because the result is ground coffee that is consistent in size. Most people have blade grinders that will grind some of your coffee beans more finely, and some more coarsely – the smoother the ground coffee, the better the taste. Experiment and see for yourself.
If you can’t grind the beans yourself, when purchasing your coffee, let them know how you will be brewing it to advise you. Professionals can grind coffee to best suit your preparation method, whether that’s a French press, a mesh filter, or a flat or cone drip filter.
The water you use matters
Use high-quality, filtered water if you can. If that’s not possible, run your tap for a bit first and always use cold water, in any case. Don’t use water that has been softened or distilled; otherwise, your coffee will taste flat.
In terms of how much coffee to use per cup of water, the general rule of thumb is to add 1-2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 3/4 cup water (6 ounces). Play around with this quantity to suit your taste.
If you are using a brewer, the water’s ideal temperature should be between 195 to 205 degrees F for the best brewing (except for cold brew). Uno Casa Cast Iron Cookware has a coffee brewer that can do this for you.
If you are brewing your coffee without a brewer, let the water come to a boil. Then turn off the heat, letting the water sit for a minute before pouring it over your ground coffee.
Watch the brewing time
For a cold brew, you want to leave your coffee to steep overnight (12 hours). The ideal brewing time for drip brewing is about 5 minutes. For a French press, it’s 2 to 4 minutes. When making espresso, the coffee should only contact the water for about 20 to 30 seconds.
Experiment with the brewing time that is right for you.
Enjoy the process and happy brewing!