Coffee Primer

Brewing

Proper Technique

Each brewing method has advantages and disadvantages. No matter which roast and method you select, keep these points in mind:

  • Measure ground coffee for consistent results. If you like a bold cup of coffee, try 2 tablespoons ground coffee for each 6-ounce cup. Because coffee strength is a matter of personal preference, experiment until you find the perfect measure for your taste.
  • Start with fresh, cold water to make coffee. If your coffee tastes bitter or unusual, the water could be the cause. Highly chlorinated water, water treated by a softener, and hard water can all affect your coffee's flavor. A simple solution is to use bottled water. Consider water, like ground coffee, an essential ingredient in making a great cup of coffee.
  • If using the manual drip method, let the water come to a full boil; then take the kettle off the heat and pause for a moment before pouring the water into the coffee. The flavor compounds in coffee that taste best are released by water at less-than-boiling temperatures; 195 to 205 F degrees is optimal.
  • If using an automatic drip coffeemaker, do not leave coffee on the warming plate -- it can quickly develop a bitter, burnt taste. Transfer the coffee to an airtight thermal carafe to keep it warm.
  • About filters: For sediment-free coffee, paper filters are best, but some people prefer using fine-mesh gold-plated filters. These last a long time and also allow some sediment and flavorful oils to seep into the coffee, adding a character that some people enjoy.

Continued on page 5:  Common Brewing Equipment and Methods