Brewing the Best

 Here are some tips for getting the best flavor as you brew your coffee

Start with the following items in mind and get ready to drink a wonderful cup of coffee right in your own kitchen-

  • Fresh beans
  • Pure water
  • Proper grind
  • Right temperature
  • Methods of extraction


When the beans are ground they begin to lose moisture and the oils begin to oxidize, losing flavor quickly. Grinding fresh beans just before brewing is the only way to get the most flavor and best quality from your coffee. Vacuum-sealed bags that have one-way valves near the top allow the beans to de-gas without oxygen entering the bag. When you open the bag it’s best to use the coffee beans up within two weeks of opening. Store your coffee beans in an airtight, dark, cool, and dry place. If you are able to invest in a high-quality coffee maker and burr grinder you will also maximize the quality of what you enjoy.

Burr grinders can provide a more consistent grind and will not heat the beans as they are ground, which may change the flavor. Some people say weighing the coffee gives you a precise final product but for most coffee drinkers a simple measuring method works just fine. A grinder that allows you to adjust the size of the grind is important. Fine, medium and coarse grinds release different amounts of flavor and oils depending on your method of brewing.  See the various preparation methods for the recommended grinds.

Coffee connoisseurs recommend weighing your coffee rather than measuring. You can go that route and purchase a scale but for most of us measuring with a 2 tablespoon coffee scoop gives a fairly consistent brew.  For every 6 ounces of water (about ¾ cup) you use 2 tablespoons (or .38 ounces) of coffee. This will give you a moderate strength and of course you can adjust for personal preference.

Filtered or bottled water is best but if you’re using tap water, let the cold water run a minute before you fill the pot. The National Coffee Association recommends the temperature for water to brew coffee to be between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Colder water gives you under-extracted coffee, while water that is too hot can cause a loss of quality flavor. If you want to check the temperature of your automatic coffee machine you will need an instant read thermometer. Run about 4 cups of water through without coffee and quickly check the temperature. If it’s much cooler than desired it may be time for a replacement.

If you are brewing the coffee manually, let the water come just to a full boil, then turn off the heat and allow the water to rest a minute before pouring it over the grounds. In a drip system, the contact time should be approximately 5 minutes. If you are making your coffee using a French Press, the contact time should be 2-4 minutes. Espresso has an especially brief brew time — the coffee is in contact with the water for only 20-30 seconds. Experiment with the contact time until you get the right balance for your taste and method. Below is a summary of three popular methods of making coffee at home. Your coffee maker may have come with instructions or online resources have even more detail for each method.

Pour Over and Immersion
The manual pour over method is popular because the cone is simple to use, easy to travel with and you come customize for personal preference. All that you need is a coffee cone and paper filter. Pour over cones work best by first preinfusing your coffee or letting it ‘bloom’. By pouring hot water over the grounds any remaining carbon dioxide gas from the roasting is released. If you leave out this step any carbon dioxide may repel water during part of the brewing process and leave you a weaker brew. To make your cup of coffee first set up your filter and grounds, then pour about 1/4 cup of water slowly over the grounds to wet them. Give this a few seconds and then complete the pour over by slowly pouring your hot water over the grounds in a circular motion. Gravity does the rest. Immersion brewers combine the best features of a french press and a pour over.  You can use a smaller grind and still have no residue particles by using a filter and you control the strength by the amount of time you let the water soak the ground beans. One type is called the Clever drip brewer and may be found online or in coffee shops.

French Press Using a French Press pot, ground coffee is soaked, steeped and strained in hot water. The French press method gives a deep flavorful cup with more particulates than filtered methods. Medium to coarse grind is best.

Automatic Drip Machines These are convenient for brewing multiple cups at one time but with much less quality control. Three tips to make it better: Get a carafe style machine without a warming element. Use the right grind. Medium for a flat bottom filter Use filtered cold water.


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The National Coffee Association website will give you an education on coffee. Learn more than you imagined at