Coffee Brewing 101

Coffee Brewing 101


Enjoying a cup of delicious coffee requires a sensitivity to flavor that allows you to understand the character of the coffee origin. The same principle is applied to brewing coffee, its better when we understand how the concepts of coffee extraction worked. It may look complicated, but let me simplify it. The most important things in coffee go down to two components. Water, and coffee. When you brew the same coffee, but notice a different flavor, the reason always comes down to a difference in applying the coffee or water.  Is the water too warm? Is the ground coffee too fine? Or is it both?

When finding the best brewing technique, using fresh coffee is essential, but having your water in good condition is just as important.  If you find any weird tastes in the water, avoid it completely. A good water for coffee brewing is water with a neutral pH level between 7-7,5 and mineral content between 100-150 ppm. We recommend to use hot water with temperature between 88-96 Celcius. Use a thermometer to help you control the brewing extraction. If you can't find a thermometer in your home, there's a trick. Leave the water to rest for 30-60 second after boiling point before you start extraction. This will lower your water temperature to the right level for your coffee. If you extract your coffee at a higher temperature than recommended, this could lead to poor, bitter flavors. 

Next comes freshly ground coffee. To keep the freshness of coffee, store coffee in an air-tight canister or coffee bag with a one-way valved. And only grind the amount you need for your brew. If you store coffee in the ground form, aromatic compound in the coffee will quickly evaporate, leaving close to nothing for your brew. That is why its essential to have a manual grinder at home to make sure the coffee that you use is still fresh. If you don't own a grinder, purchase ground coffee in small quantities that last for short amounts of time. 

Grind Size and Extraction

When water and ground coffee meet, this is when extraction begins. The first character that is released from extraction is acidity. After that comes sweetness, which requires a longer time to be drawn out. Lastly, the bitterness. If unwanted flavors are still present, that means some adjustments need to be made to the brewing method, such as changes in the water and coffee ratio, or the extraction time. 

Extraction time could be affected by grind settings. The finer you ground the coffee, the more time it takes for the water to flow through, and vice versa. The flavor potential is also affected by the coffee roast. Every roastery has roast character that will reflect on their brand. Every roastery goes through an extensive process of testing roast profiles that suit the coffees character, and testing it out among experts, so the issue almost never goes back to the quality of the roastery. Lastly, you need to brew coffee often to understand how the ratio works. The coffee to water ratio determines the brew strength. To use it, you need a kitchen scale. Coffee scale will help you brew better because its also equipped with a timer. Some people like to use a 1:12 ratio, or a 1:16 ratio. A 1:12 ratio means that with every one gram of coffee, twelve grams of water are added. However, these ratios are just examples, feel free to play around with it and test things out!  

With every learning experience, the most important thing is to start, be patient, and keep practicing.