You’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it… the barista in your favorite coffee shop weighs out a small volume of fresh beans, takes them to an overly large (and probably white) grinder and fiddles with a nob or dial before grinding the microscopic amount of coffee into some sort of cup made out of surgical grade steel. The barista then proceeds to prepare a paper filter in what appears to be a combination of origami and ritual hand washing…
Does brewing need to be this complex? It’s only coffee… Isn’t it?
Let’s take a step back to understand the basics of brewing. To brew a delicious cup of coffee all one really needs to control is its grind coarseness, coffee volume and duration of water contact with those grinds.
Grinding – The correct coarseness profile
All manual brew methods are going to use similar grind profiles. This grind profile is a medium grind. Depending on the amount of time your brewing method takes, you will want to adjust the grind a little finer or a little coarser.
Using a French Press? It should steep for 4 minutes, so we grind slightly coarser than medium.
Using a Hario V60, which only takes about 2:30 minutes, we’d recommend a grind slightly finer than medium.
Strength – How much coffee to use
The best way to affect the strength of your coffee is by controlling the amount of coffee vs the amount of water used in brewing. If you weigh your water great! If not let’s forget about the water and focus on the coffee. This is going to be based on your personal taste so you will need to adjust the amount of coffee you use in a brew until you have found the amount that works best for you.
Too heavy? Less coffee.
Too light? More coffee.
You get the idea.
The standard is 17 parts water to 1 part coffee.
Time – How long to brew
Adjusting grind and strength will ultimately derive this variable. There are some rough guidelines that will help narrow the breadth of possibilities we have available to us. Each brew method will have a time that is associated with how best to use that specific device, however rules are meant to be broken so feel free to play with this variable as well to find your ideal brew.
It’s your coffee so brew it how you like it! Don’t know how you like it? Well then use these guidelines to help find how you like it.
Then just repeat.