An exceptional cup of coffee, as you know, is worth “going the extra mile.”
To help you on your way, here’s a simple checklist of suggestions to help achieve that delicious first sip of the morning:
- Choose high-quality, specialty-grade coffee beans, masterfully roasted.
- Select the right grinder (see below).
- Grind just before use, since ground coffee loses some aromatics within 15 minutes of grinding.
- Use clean, purified, or filtered water.
- Water temperature ideally be between 195-205 Fahrenheit
First, the right grinder.
Since it’s best to grind beans just before use, we sell only whole beans and recommend using a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder.
Burr grinders give you an even ground for a consistent brew, while blade grinders yield a ground made up of various sized particles, which can lead to a bitter flavor. Available in both electric and manual versions, burr grinders are the preference of most discerning coffee-lovers.
Grind size and consistency are critical: the finer the grind, the more coffee is extracted. That’s because a finer grind means a larger surface area for extraction, which results in a stronger tasting cup of coffee.
Depending upon the brewing device you use, fine grinds may also produce a bitter cup. Likewise, the coarser the grind, the less extraction, and the greater the chance for a weaker, poor tasting coffee. The answer, of course, is to experiment with your own coffee maker or other device until you find the perfect grind – and only grind as much as you need for the next brew,
Brewing Ratio and Extraction
Stated simply, brewing coffee is all about drawing out or extracting the soluble particles in roasted, ground coffee. These water-soluble compounds contain the caffeine, sour and sweet flavors (acids), lipids and oils, and sweetness and bitter flavors from the coffee grinds.
Depending on the type of brewing device you use, the ratio of coffee to water can very. The different types of brewing methods extract the coffee’s soluble compounds at varying speeds, so it’s useful to understand these.
Technically, Burwell Beans coffee works well at a ratio of 1:17, meaning a gram (g) of coffee for every 17 milliliters (ml) of water, but it all comes down to preference – yours. You may prefer a cup that is weaker or stronger, so experiment with your Burwell Beans. Find your own ratio by adding more or less coffee each time you brew, until the taste is exactly what you enjoy. Hint: The best way to ensure consistent brewing ratios is to weigh your coffee instead of using spoons and scoops. You’ve invested in great coffee, so why not also in a small digital scale.
Common Brewing Methods
In this method, coffee grounds are fully submersed in water, and coffee is extracted over time.
Popular immersion brewing methods include the French Press and AeroPress, in which the coffee grinds are submersed for four or five minutes, then passed through a filter to remove the grinds. Extraction slows down over time as the coffee becomes saturated and no more coffee can be dissolved.
For immersion style devices, you should use a coarser grind (which looks like sea salt), since the brew time is generally longer. You may want to use 1:16 ratio for these methods.
This popular method of steeping extracts the coffee more efficiently, due to a constant flow of water through the coffee grinds.
Popular manual infusion style devices include the Chemex, Hario V60, and similar brewers, and the automatic infusion devices include coffee machines like batch brewers and Bonavita. Be sure to check out the equipment on our Products page, since Bonavita is one of the auto-drip styles approved by the Specialty Coffee Association.
For infusion-style devices, you generally use a medium grind and use a bit more coffee. Aim for a ratio of 1:17 or 1:18, depending on your taste preference.
A term which indicates the style of brewing, not a particular bean, espresso is actually a type of infusion in which the coffee is extracted under pressure. This speeds up the preparation time to 25 seconds on average and increases extraction, resulting in a much stronger coffee. It is typically served in smaller quantities, 20-30ml, in espresso cups.
Espresso ratio is between 1:1 to 1:3. Varying extraction times account for different names for espresso, such as stretto and lungo. The grind size is generally fine, due to the short brew time.
Tips for storage
Buy coffee beans with a recent roast date on the bag. Stored properly, coffee has a shelf life of approximately one year. However, many factors, such as oxygen and heat can accelerate the loss of freshness and aroma.
Always keep your coffee beans in an airtight container, away from heat and sunlight and at a constant room temperature.
Do not store in the fridge, since coffee beans absorb aromas from anything close, and do not freeze, unless you are using the right type of bag and the beans are nitrogen-purged and moisture-free. Some people strongly believe freezing also breaks down the internal structure of the bean, affecting its flavor characteristics.
Care of brewing equipment
Keep your equipment clean, since old coffee residues and oils will affect your next brew, resulting in a stale, bitter taste.
Preheat your equipment and cups, and always rinse paper filters before use. Rinsing the filters note only removes any papery taste but also expands the fibers to optimize filtration. Remember to keep your grinder clean as well.
With this information in mind, explore, experiment, and savor your new coffee experience!