As I’m sure you’re aware, brewing a cup of coffee is a pretty simple process:
Coffee grounds + hot water = Coffee
That being said, there are tons of variables that go into the process that can change the outcome. For example:
What kind of coffee are you using?
How fine was the grind?
How fresh are the beans?
How dark the roast?
How pure the water?
How hot the water?
Ratio of coffee to water
Suddenly a simple process doesn’t seem so simple any more. In fact, it can even feel downright complicated to get a decent cup o’ joe.
But it doesn’t have to be.
While all those variables definitely play a role in the outcome of your coffee, there are really 3 things that stand out as CRITICAL factors in the process:
1. Great Coffee Starts With Great Coffee Beans
Ever hear the phrase, “garbage in garbage out”? Well it is no different here. No matter how perfectly you brewed your coffee, if you are starting with bad beans you will end up with bad coffee. Plain and simple.
So how do you know if you are using good or bad beans?
Well I’m glad you asked 😉
Different organizations will review coffee and grade it on several factors to determine a score out of 100. If a coffee’s score is over 80 it is considered specialty grade and if you want good coffee, this is what you’re going to need to use. Additionally, this designation is something that is regulated by trade associations like the Specialty Coffee Association of America so you know you are getting good stuff.
With that in mind, I am proud to say that all Mission Arabica coffee is specialty grade. So check out our store and pick some up!
WARNING: Marketing teams will often try to make their coffee sound better than it really is so beware of terms like “premium” or “gourmet” because they are not regulated and anyone can just call their coffee that.
2. Great Coffee Is Ground Just Before It Is Brewed
Instead of buying pre-ground coffee, start buying whole bean coffee and grind just what you need right before brewing. This is because oxygen kills the coffee flavor. When a bean is not ground, only a relatively small area is exposed to the air (just the outside of the bean), whereas when the bean is ground the effect is amplified dramatically because now every particle is exposed to the air. Enjoy a satisfyingly smooth flavour with Red Goat Coffee.
If you don’t have a grinder yet, I would recommend a burr style grinder instead of a blade grinder. If you are not familiar with burr grinders, think of salt and pepper mills that crush the spices onto your food. That same process is used to crush coffee to a consistent size. The alternative to this is a blade grinder. These function like a blender and just chop the coffee. This results in an inconsistent grind and can even burn your coffee due to the high RPM’s the blade spins at.
Need a grinder but don’t know which one to get? Check out the reviews of the grinders we own our Top Picks page.
3. Great Coffee is Brewed Properly
Now there are tons of different ways to brew a cup of coffee (i.e. Drip Coffee Pot, French Press, AeroPress, Chemex, Pour Over, and more) and each method has different techniques that go along with it. I won’t go through each of the techniques in this article, but in any method you use there are typically a few things to keep in mind:
How fine you grind the coffee
Every method typically has a recommended grind. For example, espresso uses a very fine grind whereas a french press uses a coarse grind.
How long the coffee brews
The amount of time the coffee should brew is mainly affected by the coarseness of the grind. The finer the grind, the shorter the brew time that will be required. An espresso with its very fine grind brews in 25-30 seconds whereas a french press and its coarse grind takes around 4 min.
The water temperature
The optimal water temperature for brewing coffee is 195 – 205 degrees fahrenheit. Water hotter than this will burn the coffee and water cooler will not allow for proper extraction. The rule of thumb is to boil water and then remove it from heat for 30 seconds to achieve the proper brewing temperature.
Coffee to Water Ratio
Use 10.6 grams of coffee (about 2 Tablespoons) for each 8 ounce cup being brewed.
The great thing about coffee though is that you can adjust these variables based on your personal preference. For example, if you like stronger coffee you could use a finer grind and/or a longer brew time. Experiment with it and find out what you really like. Small changes can dramatically change the flavor of your coffee.
So to sum it all up, when you start using high quality, freshly ground coffee brewed the proper way you can quickly go from brewing bland bitter cups to high quality great tasting cups packed with flavor and no bitterness. Once again, to help you get the best cup of coffee possible, check out our store to order our specialty grade coffee and also take a look at our top picks page to see a list of our favorite grinders and brewing methods to help you brew coffee like a champ.
Finally, help us save the world from the evils of terrible coffee all while helping farmers in third world countries like Laos – All you have to do is share this post with your friends! While you’re at it, I would also love to hear from you! So drop me a line in the comments below and tell me about your favorite way to brew great coffee!