French Press

French Press infographicFrench presses is a simple brewing method that offers a very full bodied coffee. The process is fairly simple:

1. Add 60 grams of ground coffee to the press.

2. Add 1/3 of the hot water to the press and let it ‘bloom’. This allows for some degassing and sets the stage for the rest of the brew. 3 good stirs to assure all the grounds are wet.

3. Add the remaining water and place the top of the press just beneath the surface of the water. Let sit for 3 minutes.

4. Gently push the press down.

Do not let the coffee sit in the press, this will make for a very bitter cup.

Hario V60 Pour Over

Hario InfographicThe single cup pour over makes an exceptionally fresh cup without the leftovers. The pour over is a fast method that accentuates the individual flavors of the coffee. The process is straightforward and becomes second nature after a few times. You will see in the directions a lot of measurements and it is easiest to place the entire stand on a kitchen scale to offer some consistency.

1. Grind 20 grams of coffee.

2. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the filter (in the glass/ceramic cone) to pre-wet the filter. Discard the water.

3. Place the grounds in the filter and tare your scale.

4. Pour about 100 grams of water using a spoon to make sure the grounds are wet and in ‘solution’.

5. Continue adding water in even intervals until the scale reads 340 grams and let it drain.

The brewing should take about 2 minutes and the variation should be done with the grind size and not quantity. If the cup seems watery and weak try a finer grind, if it takes too long to brew use a coarser grind.

Scales and Timers

Scales InfographicOne of the most important aspects of brewing exceptional coffee is consistency. This is especially true when dealing with small quantities and single cup brewing methods. Proper brewing is accomplished by a particular ratio of grams of coffee to grams of water. You are looking to hit a 1:16.9 ratio. You can see that this is very difficult to eyeball and get right. Many use scoops, which is better than just pouring, but still can be off by a gram or two very easily. If you are over on the ground coffee by one gram that is 5%, and if the next day you are under by 1 gram that is a 10% swing in ground coffee. To assure that you have the proper ratio it is best to weigh out the coffee every time you brew. It’s simple, cheap, replicable and will be one of the best things you can do for your morning coffee. The small scale, used for grounds was purchased on amazon – $8 and the larger scale was purchased at the local kitchen supply store – $25. You could certainly use just the larger scale for the grounds and not have two, the smaller is much more precise and gets to the hundredth of a gram where the larger scale does not have that precision.)

Using a timer is another way of getting the proper brew time for the method you are using. It allows you to make changes that can be reproduced and offers consistency day to day. (I use the time on my phone.)

Brewing Methods

We have a lot of discussions about different brewing methods and it is always asked which method is the best. The short answer is that there is not one that is the best, but that they accentuate different aspects. Think of coffee brewing on a spectrum, on one side body and the other side flavor notes. The main concerns are that the brewing method be carried out correctly and consistently.