A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Making Great Coffee At Home
Coffee is just as exciting as wine or cheese, and it has as many different varieties. Gone are the days when I thought that there was ‘coffee’ and ‘tea’. When I first got into coffee, I started with espresso, and added water if I needed a longer drink and wanted to savour the flavour. However, I started to find espresso a little in your face, a little too strong and found that I craved something a little more fresh and subtle. This is when I started to get into filter coffees. Our friends over at Coffee Dorks have compiled a great beginners guide for making a great filter coffee at home. Read on to unleash your inner barista.
What exactly is filter coffee?
Filter and espresso, though based on the same idea (passing water through some grounds to make a coffee), are actually very different in their method and flavour, and many appreciate the subtlety of this method and the way in which it brings out flavours latent in the bean. Unlike espresso, which is made by forcing water through coffee grounds through pressure, filter coffee is made by allowing water to drip through coffee grounds and a filter only under the influence of gravity. Thus, the resulting coffee is lighter, less dense, and, as we said previously, more subtle. It also allows you to discern the more intricate flavours of the bean, and thus could be said to be a connoisseurs method.
Choosing and Storing the Coffee
The foundation for a great cup of coffee is laid when you purchase the coffee. You should only buy 100% Arabica beans from a local roaster or roast the beans yourself. For the best tasting, freshest coffee, buy only enough for five to seven days. When you get your coffee beans home seal them in a vacuum bag.
Make sure that the vacuum sealed bag has only one valve at the top. The valve will allow air out but won’t allow air into the bag. This helps to preserve the flavor of the coffee. However, there are coffee companies, for example, somewhere like Tank Coffee that uses boxes so you can get the more out of your coffee.
Also, store the beans in a dark, cool, dry place that is not exposed to direct sunlight. Moisture and high temperatures will cause the beans to lose their flavor and freshness faster. Never put your coffee beans in the refrigerator or freezer. Coffee beans will absorb the humidity and food smells in a freezer and refrigerator. If your coffee beans are stored in either of those places, the flavor of your beans will be altered. The taste and aroma of the coffee beans will be off if they are stored in either of these places.
Here’s the Recipe
1.Grind Your Beans
After you wake up in the morning, set aside ten minutes to prepare your great cup of coffee. You are going to need some time to grind your coffee beans. The best way to grind them is with a Burr grinder. The Burr grinder will produce evenly ground beans that are uniform in size. The uniformity and size of the coffee granules is key to producing a flavorful cup of coffee.
2.Boiling the Water
Only use filtered or spring water for your coffee. Avoid using tap water. Your goal is to taste the flavors released by brewing the coffee, not the metals and residue in your tap water. Boil the water within thirty minutes of grinding the coffee beans. The correct and perfect temperature of the water is between 150-200F. After the water has started boiling, remove it from the fire/electric plate, and let it sit for 45-60 seconds.
3.Preparing the Coffee Filter
To prepare your pour-over coffee, place your manual dripper on the counter. For producing a smoother cup of coffee, use a denser filter. Denser filters will hold the water and submerge the grounds for a longer period. Place one filter over the manual dripper (e.g., carafe, mug). The filters used should be oxygen-bleached or dioxin-free filters.
Pour a small amount of the boiling water that cooled for 45-60 seconds over the filter. This water is used to rinse dirt, sediment, and dust away from the filter. After you have rinsed the filter, place your coffee grounds in the filter. Be sure to evenly distribute the grounds around the filter. The surface of the coffee grounds should be level at the top.
Tip:Coffee to Water Ratio
There is no set coffee to water ratio. You can experiment with the following ratios and decide which one gives you the best cup of coffee. The ratios are:
- Two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water
- Two & three-quarters tablespoons of coffee for every eight ounces of water
- Five tablespoons of coffee for every sixteen ounces of water
4.Brewing the Coffee
After you have measured out the coffee grounds and placed them in the filter, you are ready to begin brewing your coffee. Initially, pour water over the coffee grounds just enough to wet them. Stop pouring water before any coffee filters through the dripper. This process is called the “bloom”. Wait 30 seconds for the coffee to bloom. You will know it has bloomed when you see bubbles rise to the surface of the coffee grounds, dissipate, and then see the coffee grounds softened.
Saturating the ground coffee beans with water releases any carbon dioxide left behind during the roasting process. If the carbon dioxide is not removed before you brew the coffee, it will repel water while the coffee brews. If water is repelled during the brewing process, the resulting coffee will be weaker.
After the coffee has bloomed, pour the hot water over the coffee. Stop pouring when the water is one inch above the surface of the coffee grounds. Wait for the water to drip through, and then pour more water over the coffee grounds. Remember to stop pouring water when the water is one inch above the surface of the coffee grounds. Repeat until you have poured all the water over the coffee grounds. It’s a small act of patience that has a great payoff in the end.
Embrace the Moment
Your coffee is ready to drink after all the water has filtered through and dripped into the mug or carafe. If you want to enjoy your great cup of coffee, you should drink it immediately. Coffee that is reheated loses some of its flavors, and the bitterness of the coffee is heightened. What makes one coffee taste better than another varies from everything to the quality of the beans to the water used for brewing. By now you’ve learned this much and have hopefully put your knowledge to good use.
But what you may not have known, is the philosophy of making coffee. It’s in your best interest to treat each bean differently. No matter how expensive the beans or precise your measurements, neglected beans will make a horrible cup of coffee. On the contrary, even low-priced beans also have the potential to make a great cup, granted that you treat them with care. With a little bit of work and love, the secret ingredient to everything, you can bring out the best in them.
A great cup of coffee can be your gift to yourself every morning with a little preparation, patience and time. The pour-over method of brewing coffee is preferred by gourmet coffee houses and guarantees that every cup of coffee is prepared with care and attention.
You deserve a great cup of coffee, don’t deny yourself the joys of it any longer.