When you brew your morning cup of coffee, the hot water that you use is a solvent that takes the soluble solids from your coffee grinds into your brew. The most common method of brewing coffee is through a paper filter. This means that you only end up with soluble solids in your cup. There are other common brewing methods that also allow insoluble solids into your coffee. These include French press, espresso and Turkish coffee.
Here are five important things to keep in mind when you are brewing your coffee, no matter which method you use:
Watch the coffee-to-water ratio. Most coffee drinkers find that when about 20% of the soluble solids are extracted from the grounds of coffee, this gives the brew the best flavor. If you extract too much the coffee will taste bitter. This can happen if you brew for too long or have too hot water or too much coffee. Or, if you have under extraction, you will have coffee that is weak and thin. Keep in mind that just using more coffee does not really correct under extraction. You should try to weigh your coffee so that you know you are using the ideal amount, which is about 10 grams in most cases.
Size of coffee particles: A fine grind means that more of the surface area of the bean will be exposed to water. If you are using a brewing method that has a longer dwell time, such as French press, you want to have a coarser grind. The most important thing is to make sure that whatever grind you use, it is even. An uneven grind will lead to a less than adequate cup of coffee.
Temperature of the water: The perfect water temperature to brew coffee is about 200 degrees F. Water is a better solvent when it is close to boiling. This is why you should brew a full batch of coffee on an auto drip coffee maker. These machines are built to get a full batch of water to the right temperature.
Contact time: How long are the coffee and the water in contact with one another? If the coffee takes too long to brew, this can affect the taste of the coffee.
Agitation: If you stir the coffee-water infusion, it will boost the extraction rate of the soluble solids. You should remember that pouring water on the grounds causes agitation. In a brew method such as immersion, it is critical to stir the brew in the dwell time period.
Retention of heat: You should not allow your coffee to sit on the hot plate or in the French press. You should transfer the coffee as soon as possible to a thermal carafe so that the coffee is not overcooked or over extracted.
When you are brewing coffee, you also should remember what the quality of your water is. If you have water that tastes bad, your coffee will taste bad. You should not use distilled water: You need to have some minerals in the water to extract the best taste from the coffee beans. If you do not have those minerals in your coffee, it can make it taste very sharp and bitter.
Another thing to keep in mind is what is the quality of the coffee you are using? You also should look at the roast level of the coffee. Some different types of roast methods will do a better job with some brew methods. For example, a light roast can taste too strong in an immersion brewer. And, some pour over brew methods do not give the best flavor to darker roasts.