First and foremost, make a habit of using freshly roasted coffee beans. This is why we first started roasting our own beans. Once you experience a cup properly extracted from freshly roasted beans, it’s tough to go back! Most coffee bags are stamped with a “Best by:” or “Roasted on:” date. Coffee will keep for up to three months from the roasting date, depending on how it’s stored. Dark roasts tend to go flat more rapidly.
BUY WHOLE BEAN.
Whole bean coffee keeps fresher longer than ground coffee. Coffee goes stale pretty quickly once it exposed to air, and even more so once ground.
The goal is to limit your bean’s exposure to air, light, heat and odors. Try to store your bean in a dry, cool place, in an airtight and light-proof container. Ceramic clamp jars work great. Even better is a container or bag that air can be squeezed out of. For long term storage, the freezer might slow down the oxidation process a little however you run the risk of freezer burn. At the very least, roll your bag up tight, and put a rubber band around it.
MIND THE GRIND.
For drip brewing, don’t over-grind your beans to powder; you want the grind to be semi-fine for cone filters and a touch coarser for flatbed filters. Too course and the cup will be tasteless, too fine and it could be too bitter. Err on the finer side because the extraction time on most drip brewers is relatively quick. A general rule of thumb: The quicker the extraction process (water time), the finer the grind. Go for a finer grind with a stovetop espresso maker, and a coarser grind with a French press. A burr grinder delivers a more even grind and is less likely to pulverize your bean. With a blade grinder, grind in short bursts to help avoid heating the bean.
TRY MORE BEAN.
The most common brewing mistake is not using enough bean. We’ve experimented quite a bit with our coffee measurements, and found that more coffee means better coffee. While of course it’s in our interest to advocate using more bean, you can always use less water. For most brewing methods, with our coffee, we recommend using 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water. If you weigh your coffee, use 21 grams per 8 ounces of water. Note that coffee makers vary. Some use a 6-ounce measure line per cup, while others use 5- or 8-ounce cup lines.
CONSIDER THE DETAILS.
Remember that the coffee-to-water ratio affects the strength of the brew while the grind and brewing method affects extraction, which is the key to flavor control. And, because we just can’t help ourselves, here are a few other ways to improve your brew:
- Use quality water, preferably filtered
- Avoid bleached filters and rinse them when brewing smaller amounts (i.e. pour-overs)
- Clean your brewing equipment regularly
- Experiment with different brewing methods like the French press, Aeropress, Clever Coffee Dripper and pour-over cones