Brewing coffee at home doesn't need to be difficult, and with the right techniques your home brew can be just as delicious as the Barista version. Here are some top tips to get the best of brewing at home whether you use a French Press, AeroPress, Drip Cup or machine.
GROUND V BEANS
Ground coffee or beans is a personal choice and depends on how much time you have and if you have a grinder at home.
A big part of what makes coffee smell and so good is the presence of aromatic compounds in roasted coffee beans. Once beans are ground the process of degassing occurs and it begins to slowly lose some of its flavour. Packaging preserves flavour, so once opened it’s important to store carefully.
Using only fresh coffee and grinding right before you brew will help ensure you get the most flavour from beans. It best to grind only what you need when you are making coffee. If you are storing pre ground coffee, once the bag has been opened, the ground coffee is exposed so take care to close the bag well, keeping air out and store at room temperature in a dark cupboard.
WEIGHT OR VOLUME
There’s a fairly simple rule of using 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6oz of water but if you want to get more precise about it lets talk weight and not volume.
Different coffees and blends can have a wide difference between been size and density, so a tablespoon of one coffee might actually weigh a lot less than a tablespoon of another coffee.
Using a scale lets you measure by weight (instead of volume), which helps make sure that no matter what coffee you’re using, you know exactly how much of it is going into you cup. The weight of coffee you need to brew depends on how strong or weak you like it. Try 27g to 400 gms of water at the outset then vary to taste.
GRINDING AT HOME
A great grinder is one of the most important tools in brewing coffee. The particle size of ground coffee determines how quickly flavours are extracted from the beans, with smaller particles extracting faster than bigger particles.
When you brew coffee, you want all of your grounds to be about the same size, so all of the particles brew at the same rate. Being able to control the exact size of your ground coffee gives you a lot more control over the brewing process.
Different brewing methods require different grind sizes to make great coffee. But how do you know if you’re using the right size? There are two really easy ways to tell: time, and taste.
Generally speaking, espresso requires a fine grind, pour-overs and AeroPress require a medium grind, and French Presses require a coarse grind.
Adjusting your grind setting to time and taste will bring you one step closer to delicious coffee at home.
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. In some places, tap water is pure enough to use for brewing, but you might want water that has been through home filtration (like a Brita filter) or bottled water to see what impact it has on your morning brew.
In order to extract the best flavours out of your coffee, the water you use to brew has to be at the optimal temperature: between 90-96 degrees Celsius. The temperature affects the speed of the extraction (cooler water brews coffee more slowly than hotter water) and it also effects what gets extracted. If the water is too cool you won’t extract the pleasant acidity and distinct flavour of the coffee. Too hot you’ll extract more bitter flavours.
Bró is brewed to remove more of the bean husk and that bitter aftertaste but the water temperature is still important to get the perfect balance of flavours. Without the use of a thermometer – a good rule of thumb is that 30-60 seconds off ‘boiling’ usually falls in the right range.
Before you brew your coffee, you want to 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 and lower the temperature of the water. Avoid needlessly lowering the temperature of your water by preheating all your brewing equipment.
If you are brewing a drip coffee, make sure to prepare your filter by wetting it with hot water and letting it drain. Not only does this bring the filter to the correct temperature, it also rinses the paper so that removes any other flavours.
You might notice that when you first pour water on your coffee grounds, the coffee starts to bubble up (this is especially noticeable with very fresh coffee). This is caused by CO2 – a natural by-product of the roasting process – being forcefully expelled from the coffee. The so called ‘bloom’ is an important step in the brewing process. The presence of CO2 can negatively affect your brew by pushing water away from the ground coffee and preventing extraction. You’ll want to add a small amount of water at the beginning of the brewing process, and wait about 30 seconds for CO2 ‘bloom’ before adding more water.
SUBMERGE THE 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, but it’s best to give your coffee a brief, light stir, to ensure no dry pockets. Heat the spoon first!
Part of the fun of brewing coffee is experimenting with different brewing methods and different coffees. Try one of our single origin Columbian’s instead of ordering your favourite blended coffee. We have a great gift box selection with four different Bró coffees if you want to experiment with different flavours at home.
Have you tried making coffee in an AeroPress or French press? Check out our equipment section.
You could also try grinding your own favourite instead of buying pre ground. Experiment and enjoy!