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Home Brewing Basics: Enjoy Better Coffee at Home

If you have ever had a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee house, bought a bag to take home, and wondered why the coffee just didn’t taste the same from your coffee maker, this article is for you.

Remember, coffee is best when freshly roasted, and ground just before brewing.  There is a reason why we only sell coffee in whole bean state: we want you to get the maximum enjoyment out of it.

The first main difference is: Brew Temperature

Most counter top coffee makers simply don’t get the water hot enough for a full extraction.  When using stove-top brewers like a percolator or a moka pot (also commonly called stove-top espresso), it is often very easy to over extract the coffee.

It is for the above reason that we generally recommend using a manual brew method that requires you to heat the water separately.  Whether you prefer paper filtered (like Chemex, V60, Beehouse, etc..) or alternative filtered (french press, Eva Solo, Soft Brew, etc..), choose a brew method that produces results that you enjoy.  Heating the water separately in a kettle (electric or stove top.. your choice) ensures that the water will be at the optimum temperature for brewing.

The optimum temperature range for better brewing: 195 – 205F.  

The second main difference is: Brew Ratio

On the label of most commercial packages of ground coffee on your supermarket shelf are instructions to brew with “1 scoop per 8oz”.  What they don’t say are that the scoop that they include in the packaging is only 1T (one tablespoon).  We have discovered that many commercial blends actually taste better at such a low brew strength, which is half of the explanation.  The other half is that since most people buying commercial pre-ground coffee are doing so because of how cheap it is, then using roughly half of the amount of coffee for the same volume is in the exact same line of thought.

However, If you’ve purchased a bag of AJ Coffee and found that brewing it the same way doesn’t yield the exceptional results you expected from the description on our web site, you might be left scratching your head.  If you are one of our customers, you clearly value quality and ethics over cost, and you know that getting the most enjoyment out of your coffee is more important than making it last longer.  Along the same line of thinking, it makes sense to use a base line starting point brew ratio used by the Specialty Coffee industry.

The optimum brew ratio is 60 grams(2.12oz) of coffee per 1 liter(33.8oz) of water.  A handy estimate rule of thumb is 1 ounce of coffee to 1 pound (equivalent of 1 pint) of water: oz : pint

If you enjoy stronger coffee, use more coffee to the same amount of water.  If you find that your coffee is too strong for enjoyment, we suggest that you brew at the above ratio and add water afterwards to achieve the desired strength.  The resulting cup simply tastes better this way.

An important factor to consider: Dwell Time

Different brew methods often call for different grind sizes and brew times.  It is possible, however, that you may have a grinder that performs best at a finer setting or a coarser setting.  We recommend using the best grind quality you can get and adapting what’s known as the Dwell Time to match it.

As a reference, just remember that espresso uses fine ground coffee and brews in only about 30 seconds, and that a french press generally calls for coarsely ground coffee and a time of 4-5 minutes.  The key point to notice is that fine ground coffee requires less time, and coarse ground coffee requires more time for proper extraction.

Troubleshooting: If the result tastes sour, try more time.  If the result tastes bitter, try less time.

The Take Away

Water at the proper temperature: 195205F

Proper brew ratio: 60g to 1l (Quick Reference Estimate: 1 oz to 1 pint)

Appropriate dwell time: adjust to the grind setting.  Coarse coffee:more time | Fine coffee:less time.

Follow these simple rules, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying consistently better coffee at home.

Now, browse our shop for a flavor description that sounds appealing, place your order, and enjoy!

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