There are many questions floating around the Internet about coffee. Why is it better to buy whole coffee beans? Why does artisan coffee taste so much better than any bought at the supermarket? And why should you invest in coffee tools and accessories? In this post, we’re giving you 10 coffee tips straight from our experts that will ensure that you make the most of your morning brew.
Before you even start thinking about your coffee beans, you need to look at an aspect of coffee brewing that is often forgotten – your water. We suggest that next time you make coffee you try using filtered water rather than regular tap water. This is because unfiltered tap water contains minerals, many of which can negatively affect the flavour of your coffee. Sulphates are particularly nasty because they accentuate bitterness in brewed coffee. We think that it is especially important to use filtered water in the UK because some areas have hard water that is full of calcium and magnesium. Avoiding the mineral-rich water will also allow you to keep your accessories and tools cleaner.
Speaking of equipment, it is vital that your equipment is cleaned properly. Crema Coffee Garage explains that coffee is a very oily product, and that’s why regular cleaning is absolutely necessary. However, this isn’t just for heavy-duty equipment such as an espresso machine. Your Aeropress, French press or V60 need to be properly scrubbed too. If coffee oils build up, they will turn rancid and make the end product taste very bad. Furthermore, if you’re not using filtered water, limescale can also build up in your equipment and negatively affect the taste of your coffee.
This is one of the tips that our experts swear by! When discussing the perfect quantity of coffee to water, many experts mention the Golden Ratio. This is 1 gram of coffee to 18 grams of water (meaning for every unit of coffee you should use 18 units of water). You’ll never be able to get this precise a measurement of coffee or water if you’re not using a digital scale.
Now let’s discuss your actual coffee beans. We always use the highest-quality coffee that we can get our hands on. For us, that means using our speciality coffee, which is in the top 3% of coffee produced worldwide. This coffee is very different to the coffee that you’d buy at a supermarket, because it isn’t made as commercially. There is year-round quality control, and significant value is often placed on the coffee being single origin (all of the beans being produced in the same country or region). Unlike commercial coffee producers, farmers who grow speciality coffee aren’t driven to produce the highest yield of coffee at the lowest price. Instead, speciality coffee is sold at a premium, and the producers can take their time to make sure that every bean is perfect.
It is also vital that your beans are as fresh as possible. There’s a reason why small-batch, artisan coffee like ours tastes infinitely better than any you might buy in the supermarket. This is because small-batch beans are roasted immediately before being sold. Supermarket coffee can sometimes sit in storage for months before being sold. This immediately ruins some of the flavour, because coffee is best drunk days after being roasted.
We recommend buying whole coffee beans and grinding them yourself, and others such as the experts at Coffee Corner agree! Ground coffee starts to lose its freshness within a couple of hours, and can turn stale in just a few days. This is because it has more surface area that can interact with elements such as oxygen and moisture. Even if you store it properly, ground coffee will almost always be less flavoursome than whole beans that you’ve ground yourself.
Another factor to consider, especially if you grind your beans yourself, is the grind size and if it is right for your equipment. This will make a huge impact on the end result. For example, a French press will need a coarser grind than other equipment. The reason for this is because finer grinds will get stuck in the filter and/or push their way through, and you’ll end up with grinds in your mug. In contrast, an espresso will need extremely fine ground coffee because it slows the hot water, which increases the pressure necessary to push the water through the filter. This is what creates such a strong and powerful coffee.
Insider reported that many people order ‘extra hot’ coffees, not knowing that this is probably the best way to ruin their latte. This is because high temperatures will scald the milk and compromise the overall flavour of the drink. However, it isn’t just milk that reacts badly to very high temperatures. For the best flavour, your coffee grounds need to be brewed in water that is hot, but not boiling. 96C is the ideal water temperature, meaning that you’ll need to let your kettle cool slightly before pouring the water onto your precious coffee grounds. We also recommend using a small thermometer, if you have one.
Timing is crucial when it comes to your coffee. You don’t want to under-brew, because then your coffee will be weak and flavourless, and you don’t want to over-brew, because then it’ll be terribly bitter. Make sure that you always follow the timing instructions, and that you set a timer on your phone. This sounds simple, but it’s easy to let time slip away from you, and it really will make a huge difference.
Finally, to round out our experts’ coffee tips, we suggest serving your coffee as quickly as possible after it has brewed. Leaving your coffee in your V60 or French press whilst you find your mug and chosen milk/sweetener will let it brew longer than it is supposed to. Just prepare everything whilst your kettle is boiling, and pour your coffee as soon as it is ready.
Those were our top 10 coffee tips, straight from our experts here at Balance! Follow these, and you’ll be making the perfect cup of coffee in no time.
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