The Beans – Buy only the finest and freshest whole beans available. Purchase beans within 14 days of the roast date, and brew within 7-10 days of opening the bag.
The Grinder – Use a burr grinder with adjustable settings to grind your beans, and grind only what you intend to use, just before you use it. Coffee loses a substantial amount of its aromas 10 minutes after grinding. Avoid blade grinders and never buy pre-ground coffee. Ever.
The Grind Size – The courser the grind, the less surface area exposed to water. A course grind is best for the longer extraction time of a French Press. A medium grind is best for the slightly faster extraction time with Kalita or Beehouse drippers, a Chemex or (god forbid) automatic coffee brewers. Use a finer grind still for the faster extraction time of Hario V60s. Experiment with grind size coffee/water ratios to dial in flavor, intensity, body and balance.
The Water – Always use fresh, filtered water. Coffee is roughly 99% water. If your water smells or tastes off, so will your coffee.
The Kettle – Any kettle will boil water, but we recommend an electric kettle with an automatic shut-off. It’s twice as fast as gas, and you can’t forget it and burn your house down (both key features for that early morning fog.) Whether gas or electric, get a kettle with a goose-neck spout for precision pouring.
Coffee/Water Ratio – In general, this is a matter of personal preference. A good rule of thumb is 16 grams of water to 1 gram of coffee. At our Farmers’ Markets, we use 22 grams of coffee to 350 grams of water, which yields a 12 oz. mug of coffee using a V60 dripper.
Water Temperature – The ideal water temperature for brewing coffee is 195 -205 f. A good rule of thumb is to pour immediately off the boil.
Time – It varies by method – in general 2-3 minutes for pour-overs and 4 minutes for a French Press and a Chemex.
Scale – Buy a scale that measures grams and use it. If you own one of these and use it every day to brew coffee, congratulations, you have moved to the dark side of coffee geekery. By using a scale daily to brew, you’ll achieve the holy grail of great coffee-- consistency.