Coffee Brewing Guide / Cheat Sheet

By Tyler Workman

Coffee Brewing Guide / Cheat Sheet

I have decided to put this guide together in a bullet point format, so you can go down the list methodically. The purpose of this guide is not to cover specifics about the brew methods themselves as there are far too many to cover here, but to act as a framework to get you on the right path to brewing amazing coffee.
  • The very first thing you should do is to make sure all your coffee grinding and brewing equipment is clean. Dirty equipment can impart negative flavors into your coffee.
  • No matter what brew method you choose, you should always start with a good coffee to water ratio. I recommend starting with a 1:16 ratio. That means for every 1 gram of coffee, you would want to use 16 grams of water. You can now adjust this ratio based on your strength preference. If you like strong coffee, I recommend a 1:14 ratio and a 1:18 ratio if you like your coffee more on the mild side. Using scales to weigh out your coffee and water can really help take the guess work out of brewing coffee and ensure a consistent cup of coffee every time.
  • Use filtered water for brewing. Do not use distilled water. I get a good result from Poland Spring water, which can be found in most grocery stores. The type of water you use can drastically change the taste of coffee and more often than not, tap water is negatively affecting your coffee’s flavor.
  • Pre-heat all of your brewing equipment. This will help with thermal stability which positively affects the flavor of your coffee, and it will help keep your coffee hotter for longer. Win Win!
  • Rinse out your coffee filters. Most filters have a slight papery taste that can come through in the coffee – some much worse than others.  Use a bit of hot water to rinse them out.
  • Make sure your brew water is not too hot. I have found that the vast majority of coffee blends respond well to a brewing temperature of 190F. More sweetness and chocolate notes come out at this temperature. If you don’t have a way of measuring this, I recommend leaving your water for one minute after it boils. This will allow it to cool down a bit and reach 190F.
  • Bloom your coffee. If you have the ability to pour just enough of your brew water to saturate the coffee grounds for about 45 seconds before you start your regular brewing practices. This will release a lot of trapped carbon dioxide in the coffee caused by the roasting process and allow the water to extract more flavors from the coffee. Some of the more modern automatic brewers offer this as a feature you can select.
  • If you are using a grinder to grind your coffee, please use only a burr grinder. Do not use a blade grinder. A blade grinder will give you an extremely uneven particle size and the results when brewing are likely everything from bitterness to astringency. Please only use a burr grinder. I recommend the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder. I have had mine for about six years and its still going strong!
  • If you are grinding coffee, I recommend a particle size resembling that of table salt for all filter brewing with the exception being French Press and Cold Brew. For that I recommend a grind size resembling that of cracked pepper. *Note - I did not mention espresso here as it requires an extremely fine grind that needs adjusting frequently and I could write an entire blog post about his alone.
  • Last but not least, have fun! This is just a best practice guide, but coffee is a subjective experience and I highly encourage experimenting with all the above once you become comfortable to do so. Changing just one of these variables like grind size, brew temp, water type or ratio can change the flavor characteristics and body of your coffee dramatically.  
Coffee is a big passion of mine and the more people brewing and enjoying great coffee is a win in my book! There is a lot to unpack here, and the rabbit hole is deep so I can completely understand if you have further questions. Please hit reply to this email with any specific questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them for you. Also, if you know someone who would benefit from this guide, please forward this email over to them. 

I encourage you to grab a bag of coffee and start brewing!

-Cheers Tyler 


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