If you are a serious coffee drinker or if you are planning to gear up your coffee sessions by learning how to make the best morning cup of coffee, it is important you learn the basics of brewing your coffee.
Learning how to brew the perfect cup of coffee takes both time and effort, depending on the brewing method of your choice. Brewing your coffee to perfection goes beyond just the brewing process. It is also important that you have the best coffee beans possible to make the best possible coffee.
So, in this article, we will cover the following topics:
- Basics of coffee beans (“How to Prepare the Best Coffee Beans”)
- 5 Different Methods of Brewing Your Coffee
- 6 Tips That Will Teach You How To Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee
This article will probably not be exhaustive, but, it should nevertheless give you the ropes on learning how to brew your own coffee.
How to Prepare the Best Coffee Beans
It is very important you learn the essentials of coffee beans because it will make or break your coffee. Here are the basics you should learn about coffee beans:
· 2 main types of coffee beans (Arabica and Robusta)
· Attributes that make up a coffee bean
Arabica vs. Robusta: Which Should You Choose?
The two most common types of coffee beans being produced and sold in the world are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica comprises around 60% of global coffee production, while Robusta accounts for around 20%.
Aside from the name, the two types do have significant differences; they will even influence your brewing choice (or, your preferred brewing method will influence which coffee bean type should you use). So, it is very important to learn about their differences and where they best fit.
Arabica beans are usually characterized by a bright body, multi-layered aroma and flavor, and a moderate or satisfying amount of acidity.
This type of bean is used best if you are a fan of hot and low creamer/sugar coffee. This is because Arabica beans usually diminish in quality when it is served cold or when it has moderate to high sugar or creamer levels.
Robusta beans are the total opposite of Arabica beans – if you are a fan of cold coffee and/or sugar and creamer, Robusta beans will better fit you.
These beans are often characterized by a smooth texture and low acidity. For flavor, Robusta often hints with chocolate and their specific signature flavor.
Attributes That Make Up Your Coffee Beans
It might sound silly at first, but learning as much as you can about coffee, beans, and the origin of coffee can help you understand how to brew the perfect cup of coffee. When it comes to beans, there are four main qualities to look at and observe including quality, body, acidity, and freshness.
Just as the word suggests, quality is how well (or not well) your coffee beans are. It is important to note that other factors such as acidity and flavor don’t often mean high or low quality; that may depend on your preference.
Quality is determined by how the coffee was farmed. So, if the quality is your big priority, you may want to learn the background of your beans or buy only from those who openly talk about their farming process (not really a matter of credibility, but just so you don’t need to do some tedious research).
The body depicts the level of fullness of your coffee’s flavor. Sometimes, the body is considered as the coffee’s flavor itself.
Your coffee’s body will be affected by your brewing method. For example, beans brewed via French press usually tend to have a fuller body and more robust flavor.
In coffee, acidity is the sensation you get at the tip of your tongue. But, that does not necessarily tell the actual acidity level of your coffee – its pH level. But generally, coffee is less acidic than cola.
If you are concerned about your coffee’s acidity, consider its roast: darker roasts often have lower acidity compared to light ones. This is because acids convert to sugar and other flavor compounds during roasting; the more you roast, the lesser acid it will have.
Just as the word also suggests, freshness is simply the time it took you from buying it to using it. Specifically, there’s this thing called “roast date”: it indicates how long (or fresh) the bean was roasted. Ideally, you should use beans that are around 1-3 weeks from its roast date; 2 weeks being optimal.
5 Different Methods of Brewing Your Coffee
There are a variety of brewing methods that can create a stellar cup of coffee. Here are the 5 most common brewing method used when brewing your coffee. Choosing a specific brewing method is crucial in learning how to brew the perfect cup of coffee. These are not the only way to brewing your coffee, but this should get you started.
Anyone who knows the basics of coffee knows what an espresso machine is – or at least, they’ll have an idea of what an espresso is, thanks to our favorite coffee shops!
If you know the basics of coffee, or at least you’re a fan of going to Starbucks, you would hear the word “espresso”.
Espresso coffees are made via espresso machines. Here’s how it works: pressurized water is pushed through a little chamber; this presses your coffee beans through a coffee filter. After squeezing the beans, it will produce what we call the “espresso”.
Watch this to learn how to make your own espresso.
Drip coffee is best when it comes to convenience, but you probably don’t want to use it if you invest in high-quality coffee beans because it can affect your coffee quality. Nevertheless, it’s still not a bad option.
Here’s some tips on how to properly do your drip coffee.
The process of using the French Press is quite the same as the AeroPress – grind your coffee beans, heat your water and then place them all in your French Press machine… then press!
However, it takes more time in brewing your coffee with French Press than with an AeroPress. Also, if you make even the slightest mistake, this can ruin your coffee, so you need a relatively moderate experience for the French Press, unlike the AeroPress.
Here’s how French Press works: heat water, grind your beans, and then, place them all in your French Press machine. Then, simply press!
The process may sound simple, but it may take time before you really master the dynamics of using the French Press. But once you’ve mastered it, it will reward you with the perfect coffee you love!
AeroPress is a simplified version of French Press, so you can get started easily with it. But don’t let the simplicity fool you – it can still deliver quality coffee for you!
AeroPress is made for on-the-go people, those who like to travel, or if you simply want a faster way of brewing your coffee.
Check this video on how to use AeroPress.
Pour over method is best if you want to explore the subtleties of your coffee beans. This means you can draw out more of its flavor and aroma. And (seriously), if you are a fan of alchemy, you may want to try out the pour over method – just look at its setup, it looks some sort of an alchemy project.
Here’s how to do the pour over method.
6 Tips That Will Teach You How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee
You can follow these tips once you get a good footing on brewing your coffee, or you can just follow them on your first time brew and if it’s convenient for you.
But once you’re doing well in brewing, you may want to consider these tips:
1) Use fresh, whole coffee beans
Don’t buy pre-ground or ground coffee; they have lost some of their essential aromatics and flavor due to oxidation. It’s best you use whole beans – it’s the most intact beans you will find because it did not oxidate due to breakage. Also, be sure to check out the roast date – remember, 1-3 weeks is the time range; 2 weeks is optimal.
2) Use airtight containers or jars when storing your beans
To keep the quality as much as the possibility of your beans, keep them in an airtight container or jar. Also, place them in a dry, room temperature location.
3) Do not buy coffee beans in bulk
Unless you own a coffee shop, you’re many in the family (obviously, who loves coffee that much, too) or you really want to mow those beans down (please don’t), don’t buy coffee beans in bulk because you’ll use the freshness of most of your coffee. Buy only what you intend to use at least for a week or two. That’s how you can keep up your bean’s freshness and quality.
4) Brew at the right water temperature
The optimal water temperature is around 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit, so be sure to brew on these levels. The problem with most drip machines, especially the older generation, is that it does not brew within that range.
Heat your water at that temperature or buy a newer model or drip machine that can heat to the optimal temperature.
5) Have a standard measurement
If you really have high standards of coffee, you may want to consider how to measure the coffee-to-water ratio:
The standard ratio is 1:20 (that’s 1 coffee to 20 water, or around 7.5g of coffee to 150mL of water). This makes a relatively strong cup of coffee. You can go a bit high (like 1:30) or a bit low (like 1:14), but the most important thing is, once you got your preferred measurement, stick to it. Don’t do guesswork because measurement does matter and will affect your coffee.
6) Grind just before you brew your coffee
This is quite given already; you don’t buy pre-ground coffee just to ground them at your home and not use them immediately. This is essential in learning how to brew the perfect cup of coffee.
Grind your coffee when you’re about to use them. This is to preserve the freshness and quality of the beans.