From the first step, I can say there is no best coffee for everyone, but there might be best only for you. There are many coffee brewing methods and all of them have its own taste. In this article, my main goal is to ensure that you find the best flavor that suits your palate.
As I said the aim is to find the appropriate taste for your palate, not for everyone. It is very normal that another person might not like the tones you like, because the taste varies.
I’m assuming that you’re starting with a well-preserved coffee with suitable water, otherwise whatever we do, the taste won’t be as pleasant as we’d like. First of all, it is useful to know the variables we have. These are; coffee type, coffee amount, coffee grinding fineness, water amount, brewing time and brewing method.
I’ll start by the manual filtering method known as Pour over / v60 / dripper. Then I try to summarize the variables and their effects for each brewing method.
Pour-Over Coffee Brewing Tips
Coffee / Water Ratio
The coffee to water ratio is variable according to the brewing type, but also it varies according to the type of coffee bean. If you visit 3rd Wave Coffee Houses and ask what are their coffee/water ratio, you might get different answers. You can even see that the same barista gives different brewing rates in two different beans. This is one of the main issues that I started to write this article.
The ratio of coffee to water varies from 1/16 to 1/25 in the pour-over coffee brewing method. (How much water to use for each 1 unit of coffee). This usually labeled as the level of coffee strength (which is actually the density) in general terms. If the coffee you drink tastes strong, you can soften it by increasing the amount of water.
-This was the simplest fine tune-
Coffee Grinding Fineness
Sometimes coffee tastes to you very strong, but when you increase the water ratio, that strange “strong” taste does not go away, but the coffee became like a soft tea. Because the thing that you called strength is directly related to the fine level of the ground coffee.
At this point, what you need to change is the fineness of grinding. Let’s say that the grinder we use has a fineness level in the range of 1-15. In general, 7-9 ranges are used for filter coffee machine and 5-8 ranges are used for pour-over. This ratio is 1 for espresso and 13-15 for French press, usually 2 for moka pot and AeroPress.
Let’s grind it with 7 for pour-over. And brew it with 1/20 coffee/water ratio. You took a few sips of coffee, and if you get a lumpy residue on your palate (just like when you first drink red wine) and If you don’t like this (I mean if it is not the taste you are looking for), you need to coarse your grinding so you can use 7.5 or 8 instead of 7. Or, after the first sips, you didn’t get enough taste of coffee, there was no residue left on your palate, the taste was close to hot water instead of coffee. This time, it means you ground too coarse, you need to try level 5.5 or 6.
Coffee Brewing Duration
This setting is completely under your control with pour-over brewing, but not available in the filter coffee machines (except for aroma-enabled machines). If your machine has a flavor/aroma function, then you only have 2 options. Not as much as manual brewing but better than zero.
Pour over has a flow rate itself (dripper to cup) which you cannot control. But you can control your pour speed. When you pour water with more flow than the dripper flow rate, the water amount increase in the dripper which causes coffee to meet water for a longer time. This increases the flavor of the coffee. However, if it is more than necessary, you will see a bright coffee in the dripper. Due to the amount is higher the pressure in the dripper will increase and water started to filtered quicker. At this time you can reduce the water flow and increase the frequency of pouring to the dripper.
Wetting the Paper Filter
Wetting the filter paper, equipment, and glass with hot water before brewing your coffee has several benefits. One of them is that you prevent the taste of the filter paper from passing into the coffee. Another is that you heat all the equipment and ensure that the hot water does not cool down at the first contact.
Blooming is very important for brewing, but most do not pay attention to it. After wetting the dripper and filter, you put the coffee in the dripper and pour 2 oz hot water carefully, ensuring that all ground coffee pieces get wet. Then wait bout 40-45 seconds. Meanwhile, the carbon dioxide gas in the coffee ground will be released besides the air between coffee pieces. You have to allow this so that, coffee can meet with water more precisely. Otherwise, the most precious first drops will flow faster into your cup, and this affects the taste negatively.
You can find the best taste for your palate by playing with the subjects I mentioned above (except the last two). Now let’s look at the additional alternatives to the above that you can play in other brewing methods.
Syphon Coffee Brewing Tricks
Criterias in pour-over brewing also valid for this method as well. The additional control that you might have is flame level. If you increase the temperature, the water will pass to the upper part quickly, which will shorten the brewing time and also shorten the time coffee and water meet. Conversely, hot water will meet the coffee for a longer period of time, resulting in a bitter taste.
French Press/Cafetiere Brewing Tips
The brewing time, which is one of the criteria in the pour-over brewing method, also applies to the french press. Here you can think of as waiting time. As in the above examples, the longer the time, the more the taste will go towards bitterness. Otherwise, you will approach a taste like light tea.
Another aspect of the French Press is the stirring preference. If you stir the coffee after pouring water, the coffee will pass to the water more quickly and the waiting time will decrease, but this will shorten the passage of the flavors depending on the dissolution time.
I don’t prefer stirring. Instead, I pour the water with higher speed which stir the coffee naturally.
AeroPress – Coffee Brewing Tips
Here, in addition to the pour-over criteria, the pressure you apply, and the corresponding preparation time also affect the taste. The high pressure will bring the flavor of the AeroPress closer to the espresso, while the low pressure will bring the filter closer to the coffee. The choice is yours.
The inverted method, normal method, and using single or double paper filters or even using a metal filter also have an impact on taste. When you use normal brewing I suggest you use double filter paper which will prevent water to flow in the cup without pressure. The double filter also result in better filtering.
There might be some tips that I forgot in this article if you think so please share your experience with us in the comments.