Brewing Filter Coffee Basics

Three things you’ll need first, coffee beans (unground preferably), a grinder, and whatever brewer of choice you will be using.

The terms ‘pour over’ and ‘full immersion’ define the two main approaches to filter coffee and the difference is simple.

 Full immersion – is a preparation method wherein all of the coffee is in contact with all of the water for the entire duration of the brewing process (Aeropress/French Press)

 Pour Over – water is gradually poured over the given dose of coffee (Hario V60, Kalita, Chemex)

 

1. Grinding

It’s crucial that grind size is consistent and adjusted for the dose size and the given preparation method. An uneven grind size can spoil the whole experience from coffee by causing some particles to extract sooner than others. This can lead to unpleasant flavors such as bitter notes. The most important factor in achieving the right brewing time is the ratio of the coffee dose to its grind size. If we end up extracting the coffee for too long, we can over extract it, it will be bitter and unpleasantly astringent in the mount and neck. Or we may end up under extracting the coffee, making it dull and often without flavor profile and body,

 

A quick note on grinders, do not I repeat DO NOT get a blade grinder. Whole beans and a conical burr grinder give you the most control over your grind. Blade grinders don’t offer a consistent grind, and they also produce heat as they chop up all of your grinds since they have to move so quickly to get the job done. Heat further cooks the grounds, and it can actually cause your beans to have that undesirable burnt taste.

 

Conical burr grinders, on the other hand, typically use ceramic blades and they move at a much slower pace, which means none of that pesky heat. No burnt taste. Unless you like assaulting your taste buds. They also produce a uniform consistency, reducing any wonky extraction problems.

 

The best affordable hand conical burr grinder on the market in my opinion is the Porlex Hand Grinder, but there is plenty out there on the market, just remember conical burr over blade, or else just get your local barista to grind your beans on their wonderful EK43 grinder.

 

2. Filter

To prevent the smell and taste of the paper filter from making it into the final prepared coffee, each filter should be thoroughly washed out with hot water immediately prior to use.

 

3. Water

Filter coffee is mostly water, even despite this fact this variable is often overlooked and undervalued. Filtered or otherwise treated water, is best for making coffee. This is mostly for the purpose of getting as many solubles from the coffee itself into the cup. Water should also have the correct temperature, generally recommend between 91 C and 95 C, but you will quickly discover that temperature is something to be played with, not to be set in stone. Some coffees really need a much lower temperature to reveal their true potential.

4. Correct dosage

Preparing coffee is sometimes almost a laboratory procedure. Weighing eans is one of the most important steps. The right coffee-to-water ratio will ensure a balanced flavor as a result.  

Anything between a ratio of 1:15 (gram of coffee – millimeter of water) to 1:17 is used.

 

5. Tools

To achieve the best flavor, these tools can often greatly help you, scale, grinder, kettle (ideally with the ability to restrict flow i.e. gooseneck), thermometer or temperature controlled kettle and decanter/jug.

 Although not a necessity most of the above are a worthwhile investment.

 

6. Storing Coffee

Coffee is better kept fresh as coffee goes stale after being exposed to air. Buying coffee with a clear roast date is important when trying to stop this, as it indicates how old the coffee is. Creating moisture is the biggest thing to try and avoid when storing coffee, so it should never be kept in the fridge as it encourages moisture.

 

7. Pouring

Every pouring technique falls into two basic categories: Pulse pouring and continuous pouring.

Continuous Pouring- A pour-over technique that refers to a continuous pouring of the total desired water over the bed of grounds. Typically, the coffee is still bloomed and then after the rest period, the remaining water is poured over the grounds at as constant of a flow rate as possible. This technique is typically more heavily used with a true pour-over style brewer like the V60 or Chemex where the flow is not regulated by the dripper at all. Compared to a pulse pouring if all other variables (water temperature, grind size, brew time, etc.) were kept the same, a continuous pour should be less extracted as it agitates the ground coffee a little less.

Pulse Pouring- A pour-over technique that refers to how the water is distributed over the grounds with respect to time. Although the timing and amount of the pulses can vary greatly, the principle is the same. Fractions of the total amount of water are poured at intervals over the bed of grounds until the total volume of desired water is reached.  the pulse pouring technique makes it easier to be consistent and keep the water level low in your dripper. Whether you are making multiples cups of coffee at once or also cooking breakfast, pulse pouring allows you the option of an attempted (and probably failed) multitask. If you are brewing using a small dripper (such as the small Bee House or the Kalita 155), pulse pouring is practically a necessity as there is not much room for the water level to rise in the brewer. Likewise, if you are brewing a large batch, it is much easier to brew in pulses. There are many different pulse dosages used in pour-over recipes, but a typical dose is between 50-100 mL or 25 percent of the total brewer volumes (four pulses). The rest times are also all over the place but it is not typical to go past 4:00 minutes or so in total brew time (including bloom time).

 

To me, more important than specific pour technique is the pouring technique as a whole. Avoid the temptation to simply “dump and run” (if you want to brew this way, check out the Clever Dripper).

 

Each brew box coffee box contains suggested filter recipes and grind settings which we used to test out the coffee we put in your boxes.

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