The critical last steps in producing the wonderfully satisfying cup of coffee that you desire is what you do with our finished product. Most who are serious about great coffee, already store, grind, and brew their coffee. However, few do each of these correctly due primarily to lack of information. None are difficult. However, small exceptions have significant negative effects on your cup quality. The specifics of these critical factors that you provide to producing the wonderfully satisfying cup of coffee that you desire are covered in detail below.
Storing, Grinding, and Brewing
Storing, grinding and brewing are the critical factors that you, the consumer, bring to the process of producing the awesome, wonderfully satisfying cup of coffee that you desire. All are easy, and all are critical to the quality of the final product. Small exceptions can have large negative effects. It’s just as easy to do it right as it is to do it wrong. But, done right, if you begin with Art’s Coffee, the results can be oh-so-wonderful. I say “can be”, because, like fine wines, some coffees may not appeal to your palate.
Freshly roasted coffee, properly stored, will maintain its full character and traits up to two weeks, the time varying slightly with each coffee. The coffee then starts to deteriorate, or loose its character. Thereafter, within one week or so, the coffee will be stale. Maintaining peak freshness for the first two weeks is quite easy. Store the whole beans to avoid air, excess heat, and water. Do not store in the refrigerator or freezer. Zip locks with as much air as possible squeezed out works just fine, as do sealed canisters that have no prior odors or contaminants. As I said, quite simple.
There are two significant aspects to the topic of grinding. One is the level of grind,that is, how fine or coarse. The other is the type of grinder, that is, blade grinder or burr grinder.
Level of Grind
There are three, generally interchanged, terms that affect the level of grind. These terms are immerse or immersion, infuse or infusion, and steeping. Each essentially means the process of the just-under-boiling water mixed with the ground coffee bean until the two are separated. Simply stated, the longer the immersion time, the coarser the grind, and the shorter the immersion time, the finer the grind. There are exceptions such as Turkish coffee and espresso. And, you can have too fine or too coarse a grind for your brewing method. However, this rule works well for all forms and variations of drip brewing methods and the coffee connoisseur venerated French Press, which I, needless to say, use and encourage. But I digress…
How to know if your grind is correct for your brewing method, you say? With Art’s Coffee, if it is ground and brewed correctly, your coffee will always be smooth and wonderful, never harsh or bitter, or the opposite, tasteless and lacking. Your palate may have different flavor or character preferences, but it will not be insulted by harshness, bitterness, tastelessness, or being devoid of anything altogether. As a starting point, French Press grind is the most coarse, slightly more coarse than corn meal. Drip methods require a slightly more fine grind because the immersion time is much shorter. If your ratio is correct as detailed below, yet your coffee is somewhat harsh or bitter, your grind is too fine, ie, over-extracted. If your ratio is correct, yet your coffee is tasteless or lacking in substance, your grind is too coarse, ie, under-extracted. With a small amount of trial and error, you will quickly discover the correct grind for your brewing method. You will be very pleased with the result!
Type of Grinder
There are generally two types of grinders, blade and burr. Blade grinders are comparatively inexpensive, are generally mechanically durable, and produce an inconsistent but acceptable grind if used correctly. Burr grinders are more of an investment and may, dependent upon the specific grinder, produce an excellent, consistent grind. It just depends upon how far you want to go to experience a phenomenal, wonderfully satisfying, deliciously smooth cup of coffee that will forever change your perception of coffee and what you desire. Guess which grinder Art uses!!
To use a blade grinder correctly, first, do not overfill the grinder with coffee beans. When grinding, hold the grinder in your hands and gently shake the grinder. This increases the consistency of overall grind. For drip methods of brewing, 3, three second grindings should produce the appropriate level of grind. For French Press, 2 three second grindings is what I use.
As to burr grinders, like so many other products, you can spend a lot of money and still not get the quality of product you need and desire. A quality product will produce Turkish fine to French Press coarse grind and everything in between, while being durable and easy to use. A great burr grinder will produce a grind unrivaled by any blade grinder. Contact us if you have interest in knowing more on this topic.
There are four considerations: fresh grind, grind-to-water ratio, brewing method, and water temperature.
Always grind what you will immediately brew. It preserves the freshness of your coffee. When you want to brew more, grind more. Do not store pre-ground coffee.
The correct ratio of grind-to-water is 1 level international coffee scoop of grind to 6 ounces of water. We send a scoop with your first order and will send others if you need them. You supply the 6 ounce measurer!
In all brewing methods, it is a matter of mixing the appropriate level and amount of grind, with the appropriate amount of water at the appropriate temperature, perhaps for an appropriate amount of time, separating the spent grind from the beverage, and sitting back and enjoying Art’s Coffee! How easy can it get??!! One significant note… If you use a drip pot, do not use paper filters. Use what are known as reusable gold or metal filters. This matter alone will reap enormous improvements in your cup quality.
In all cases, always start with fresh cold tap water. Never start with hot tap water. The correct water temp for brewing is 200 degrees F. If you use a French Press, 200 degrees F occurs right after you remove water at a rolling boil from the heat source. Do not allow water to boil extensively prior to using for brewing coffee. If you use one of many drip methods available, the water temp is rarely in your control. However, many manufacturers are now producing equipment that does heat the water to 200 degrees F. If so, they generally point this out in their brochures and owners manuals.
In all cases of brewing methods, clean is imperative. I do not use soap to clean for the same reasons serious beer drinkers do not use soap in their mugs. Just hot tap water and a dish cloth. The oily substance in coffee, if not removed, will ultimately turn rancid with obvious effects on brewed coffee. I actually store my French Press with hot water in the pot with the plunger in the hot water, even after it has been cleaned. If you do this, in due time you will see why. Coincidentally, it is this same oily substance that you often see in coffee bean storage bins at coffee shops and grocery stores. It goes rancid, too. Need I say more?
For those who use or want to use a French Press, here are some pointers that I suggest. First, with a permanent marker, mark your pot in 6 ounce increments. While your water is heating, grind your coffee beans and measure the quantity of grind produced. When the water comes to a rolling boil, pour the appropriate amount of water into your French Press for the amount of grind. Then add the grind to the water and stir. Set a timer for 5 minutes. At about the 1-2 minute point, re-stir. When the 5 minutes has elapsed, put the plunger or Press into the pot, press it down, and enjoy fabulous coffee. Another suggestion is to pre-heat the French Press pot and coffee cups with hot tap water prior to using them. Makes a better cup.
For those who use any of the various drip brewers available, I caution against assuming that the quantity markings on your brewer corresponds to 6 ounce increments. Some do, most don’t. It varies even among brewers made by a specific manufacturer. Go figure! Find out what your the markings on your brewer mean and make adjustments if necessary. And, as stated previously, use only reusable or metal filters.