The best part of waking up is getting punched in the head with the crisp sweetness of honeydew melon and grape, resonating into toasted almond that remains on the palette during the first miles of your ride. But getting punched in the head with a sour, over extracted, burnt coffee is not awesome at all. So here are some fundamentals to help avoid that.
1: Water – At the end of the day coffee in all it’s brewing methods relies on the quality and temperature of the water used to extract its flavor. There is a bunch of stuff to talk about when it comes to temperature and extraction times based on the roast of the coffee, but to keep it simple start with fresh cool water that you would want to drink anyway. And don’t let the temperature exceed 105 degrees. Avoid boiling water, as too high a temperature scorches those delicate sugars in the coffee.
2: Freshness – Roasted coffee has a short shelf life, a week at most once it is exposed to oxygen. You might have noticed a valve on the bag of coffee you purchased. That is there to keep oxygen out but allow the carbon dioxide released by roasted coffee to escape the bag and not turn it into an exploding bomb of coffee beans. Avoid the fridge too, as the condensation caused by temperature change will degrade the coffee flavor faster than a cool, dry place on the counter.
3: Grind – As a general rule, the shorter the extraction time, the finer the coffee grind required for excellent coffee. That’s why your espresso uses a nearly powdered coffee, the pour over something in between, and a press pot requires a fairly coarse grind. It goes back to freshness, but coffee should only be ground right before it is time to brew.
4: Proportion – Back in the day a consumer research study decided that the correct proportion of coffee to water was two table spoons to every 6 ounces of water. But depending on the grind, that measurement may or may not work. Just like baking the best coffee measurements are done with a scale, which you’ll see the baristas at Angry Catfish use before extracting an espresso shot of brewing a pour-over.
And so those four legs are the start of what holds up an excellent coffee, and makes getting punched in the morning (with amazing flavors) something to look forward to.