Brewing Great Coffee at Home

Brewing Great Coffee at Home
Wesley Farnell
Making great coffee at home can be challenging.  But it doesn’t have to be. 

We use recipes for virtually every gastronomic experience.  Whether you are going to a restaurant, a cocktail bar or simply cooking at home, the consistency and flavour you aim for is only achieved by following a set of instructions.  So why should this be any different when you brew coffee?

Whichever brewing method you use, following the simple guidelines below will help you ascend to coffee heaven, or at the very least make your coffee taste better.

Before you begin, make sure that you have everything you need - It’ll make for a much more organised brew process:
  • High quality fresh coffee beans from a roaster with a great reputation (check out our staff picks)
  • Brewer - and filters, if necessary
  • Burr Grinder set to the correct grind
  • Pouring vessel (ideally a pouring kettle but the thing you have with the thinnest spout to control the water flow and direction)
  • Scales (scoops are not accurate or consistent) - ideally to 0.1g accuracy with a minimum 2kg tolerance
  • Timer - a smartphone will do the job nicely
  • Kettle - temperature selectable fancy ones are cool, but a regular kettle will be fine
  • Mug or Decanter - your coffee has to go somewhere
  • A stirrer for agitation
  • A thermometer - this can be used to check the temperature of water
There are so many different methods for every brewer all over the internet, (some of our favourites are listed at the end of this post).  But the purpose of this is to address the constants that can be applied across most of them to improve your brew.
  • Turn on the kettle - make sure that you have enough water
  • Weigh out the required amount of wholebean coffee - add a gram, as you will lose a little in the grind
  • Pre-wet the filter using hot or off the boil water - this will wash any residual paper flavours from the filter and pre-heat your mug/decanter & brewer.  If you are pouring from a pouring kettle then use this, as it will also be pre-heated as a result.
  • Make sure that the water used to wash the filter is emptied out of the mug/decanter/brewer.  I’ve had to re-make a coffee on many an occasion when I haven’t paid attention!
  • Grind your coffee to the required grind
  • Place the brewing setup on to the scale and zero (tare) the scale, checking it is set to grams
  • Put the ground coffee into the brewer to the desired weight and level the coffee. Zero the scale again
  • Start the timer and pour the off-the-boil water (about 2x the weight of coffee) over the coffee ensuring that all the coffee is saturated
  • Agitate (stir) the coffee making sure that all of the coffee is fully saturated - you can also swirl the brewer if you prefer
  • Allow the coffee to ‘bloom’ for 30-45 seconds - this allows the coffee to de-gas and a more even extraction can be achieved
  • Pour the remaining water (using the scale to control the amount) over the coffee.  Pour in circles.  If you’re using a pour over method, avoid pouring to the edge of the filter.
  • If using an immersion brewer - e.g. french press, Clever - decant all of the coffee so that extraction doesn’t continue
  • Drink it!
Hopefully, your coffee will be much improved just by following these steps - so make sure you write down the recipe!
  • Weight of coffee used
  • Pre-brew time
  • Amount of water used for pre-brew, and in total
  • Overall extraction time
  • What you liked and didn’t like about it

This will allow you to repeat your success.

Want to refine your coffee deliciousness further?  Try making a change to your recipe, but only change one variable at a time so you can see the impact it has.  As you change various elements, you will no doubt find coffee that you love even more!

*Have an electric brewer?  You can still make it better by washing through the filter and weighing out your coffee and water to a recipe - somewhere between 65g & 75g of ground coffee per litre depending on your taste.

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