5 TIPS FOR MAKING GREAT COFFEE
1. THE COFFEE: Fresh = Best
Using freshly roasted coffee increases the likelihood of tasting chocolate, butter, almonds or other complexities in the brew. Roasting coffee pulls flavorful coffee oils (coffeol) toward the surface and caramelizes sugars. Unfortunately, those same coffee oils are highly volatile and prone to oxidation and rancidity, which degrade flavor and aroma. Stale coffee can taste like cardboard, peanuts, tree bark or fire-pit. When buying coffee, look for a roast date and, ideally, consume within 3-4 weeks of that day.
2. THE GRIND: Fresh + Consistent = Best
Think of your coffee like an apple. Slicing an apple two weeks before eating it changes the flavor, texture and liveliness due to oxidation and enzymatic degradation. Similarly, coffee loses aromatics and richness when it is pre-ground. However, if your grinder is no better than a blender, we recommend letting the roastermaster do it for you. Why? In our experience, we found coffee that was pre-ground using a high quality burr grinder produced a better cup than a freshly ground coffee using a blade grinder. Strange but true: quality of grind surpasses freshness of grind in many cases.
Watery, bland coffee? Try a finer grind. If your coffee seems over-extracted, acidic or astringent, try a coarser grind.
3. THE WATER: Filtered + Neutral = Best
Besides beginning with great beans, all great coffee houses have one thing in common: they start with clean, filtered, balanced water. Hard, alkaline, or excessively mineralized water can both damage brewing equipment and produce a bland, muddled coffee. Acidic, low TDS, or reverse osmosis water can over-extract leading to acidic or excessively bitter brews. We recommend filtered water with a neutral pH.
4. THE FILTER: Clean & rinse
Clean and dry equipment is standard protocol for best results. Simply rinse a new filter before you use it to remove papery flavors which may taint your coffee. If using a mesh steel filter, wash with soap and water and rinse thoroughly before each use.
5. STORAGE: Cool, dark & airtight
The adversaries of roasted coffee are: moisture, heat, light and time. If you see oil on your coffee (as in the case of dark roasts), it is highly prone to rancidity and the staling effects of time and oxygen.
If you are going to drink your coffee over the course of 2 – 3 weeks, seal in a mason jar and place it in the cupboard.
If you absolutely, positively need to wait longer than 3 weeks to consume, place in an airtight container (i.e. the still-sealed bag your coffee arrived in) and place in the freezer. Remove as much air from the container as possible. This prevents moisture from condensing and damaging the coffee.