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Brewing Guides

Find out how to brew the best cup with your favorite brewing method.

Regardless of method used to brew coffee, there are common bits of information you will need to follow. 

 
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Always use good quality water; use either filtered tap or spring water. Chlorine smell or flavor will affect your brew so keep it out. Water should be approximately 202 degrees Fahrenheit. Brewing device should always be clean of any old coffee grounds or oils.

 
 

Grind fresh whole beans just prior to brewing, using a burr grinder (blade-style grinders are almost impossible to achieve a consistent grind particle size with,  and consistent grind size is absolutely required to even come close to a decently brewed cup). Use the correct grinder setting on the grinder (each brew method requires a different grind particle size).

 
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Use a digital scale to weigh the coffee beans prior to grinding. The general coffee to water ratio for brewing is one ( 8 ounce) cup of water to .38 ounces (which is 10.6 grams or about 2 tablespoons) of coffee.  Also, using this scale where applicable, weighing the amount of water you apply to the coffee grounds is the best way to ensure accuracy and consistency.

 

Aeropress

Incredibly simple and effective way to brew a cup of coffee (unless you’d like to make this complex. In which case, go online and into the rabbit hole of Aeropress brewing methods). Your grind setting will end up somewhere between “drip” and “fine.” As always, you will need to try different grind settings to determine which one is best. Start by inserting paper filter into unit and pouring heated water into press. This will pre-heat the press and your mug as well as rinse the paper filter. After all water is drained out of the press, and you have discarded the water from your mug, add 17 grams of grounds to the press and tare your digital scale with the press resting on mug. Pour water over grounds slowly while rotating press to ensure complete and even saturation of grounds. Go slow! When you reach 277 grams on your scale, stop. Remove from scale, place on counter top, and slowly press down. Total time should be approximately 2.5 minutes.

 

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Auto Drip

Auto-drip is incredibly simple if you stick to the “common bits of info” list above. Keep in mind, you will need to do grind setting trials to find which setting is best for your drip brewing device. The most common issue with auto-drip brewing is the actual brewer is insufficient/unable to get the water to a proper brewing temperature, or it is not capable of spraying the water over the entire bed of grounds consistently. There are only a few home auto-drip brewers available that actually work properly. Do an online search to learn more.

 

Chemex

Grind setting will be similar to “drip” (possibly a notch coarser). Grind 42 grams of beans. The special Chemex paper filters, when folded, will have one side that has 3 layers of paper. This side should cover the pour spout. Place filter in position and rinse well with heated water. Slowly pour this rinse water out of spout and begin brewing. Start timer for 4 minutes. Pour 150 grams of water evenly over grounds and lightly swirl once, ensuring full saturation of grounds. Allow to bloom and rest for approximately 40 seconds. Pour an additional 200 grams of water evenly overbed of grounds and rest.  At 2 minutes, continue pouring remaining 350 grams of water only in the middle of the coffee bed, in a circle the size of a quarter. Your goal is a four minute brew time. You will need to experiment with the frequency that you add water to the grounds. If pouring at the correct rate you will see the grounds in suspension for the entire brew cycle; you will never see a pool of water over the grounds or dry grounds. You should not see any blonde spots or dark spots in your coffee bed, but rather an even color throughout the brew cycle. As always, you will need to discover which grind setting to use. If brew cycle is complete prior to 4 minutes, go finer on the grind to slow the total time down. If brew time is longer than 4 minutes, go coarser on the grind.

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Cold Brew

Grind coffee one or two notches coarser than French Press setting. Coffee to water ratio is different from hot brewing methods.  You will use 1.66 lbs coffee to 1 gallon of water. This is the same as 6.64 ounces of coffee to 1/4 gallon (one quart) of water.  Grind coffee and mix with room-temperature water into large french press or beverage pitcher. Stir well and allow to sit for 12-18 hours. When you are ready to decant, spoon off grounds that have remained on top of brew and discard. Use a paper filter to keep grounds out of your brew. You can pour through a brew cone with paper filter or an auto-drip brew basket with paper filter. This is now a concentrate. When pouring a glass, mix with one part water and one part ice. Store concentrate in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

 

French Press

Grind setting is not the “coarse” setting on the grinder. Rather, halfway between this setting and the “drip” setting is where you should be. Depending on which grind setting you use, you will keep water in contact with the grounds for a total time of between 4 and 6 minutes.  You will need to determine what the contact time should be based on how the brew tastes. If the coffee is weak or watery, you will need to increase the contact time. If the coffee is too strong or bitter, you will need to decrease contact time. So, start with a 5 minute contact time and go from there.

The simplest and most effective way to brew using a press pot is to first pre-heat the pot and plunger with hot water. Discard this water after the pot is very hot. Start the timer as you pour the first bit of water over grounds. Fill the pot 1/3 full and swirl well to ensure all grounds are thoroughly wet. As the timer reaches 40 seconds, slowly continue to fill the pot while swirling (this swirling will knock down the foam/bloom that builds up). Do not fill any higher than the bottom of the pour spout on the pot. Gently rest the plunger in the pot (so the screen of the plunger is not making contact with the grounds). Slowly press, but do not force, the plunger down onto the bed of grounds as you near the bottom. Serve the coffee promptly.

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Pour Over

There seem to be more methods to brew a pour-over than any other method. This may be because there are so many different shapes and materials of brew cones and paper and metal filters. Every little detail will result in a slightly different process and a nuanced final brew quality outcome. Some things, however, remain consistent regardless of which cone and filter combo you use. Pre-heating the cone and rinsing the filter are mandatory. The style in which you pour the water over the grounds is crucial. You want to achieve a uniformity of extraction from each coffee particle and the size, shape, and material of cone and filter will require a specific jive from you in order to get a decent cup.  Experiment, and good luck!

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