Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A return to drip

A recent unfortunate incident at the coffee shop close to my office prompted me to stop going for my morning americano (it wasn't great, but it wasn't bad) and return to using my drip brewer at home.

I hadn't made coffee in a while. I have to admit that when I ground some (good, fresh) beans, added water and hit the button, what came out wasn't very good at all.

To put this in perspective, I was pretty sure this wasn't my equipment. I have an electric burr grinder from Bodum - it's not super expensive but it's not cheap either. By all accounts, I have a pretty fantastic drip brewer insofar as those are concerned. I even have pretty good water (though, candidly I don't filter it).

So I investigated and it turns out there were a few things I got right (good fresh beans, medium grind), and something I got very wrong - the amounts of my ingredients, namely beans and water.

As it turns out, one of the recommended (and simple) ways to measure these two important ingredients is by weight. A simple digital kitchen scale that can measure down to tenths of a gram is appropriate here.

I like to take my coffee to work in an insulated tumbler (btw, while they wear out after a while, I like the Starbucks tumblers more than any other I've found) that has a capacity of 16oz. In order to make ~16oz of coffee in the morning here's what I measure out:
  • 20g of coffee beans (before I grind them)
  • 500g of water (before I pour it into the drip brewer)
Throw the beans into your burr grinder (don't use a blade grinder if at all possible, there are a number of articles others have published about that) using a medium grind setting. Throw the coffee grinds into a paper filter in your drip brewer (fold the seams before you put the paper filter in there - I like to fold each seem towards the opposite side). Throw in the water and hit the button to brew. That's it.

After this small change of measuring my coffee beans and my water before I brew, I've been getting a consistent great cup of coffee day after day for many weeks. Of course I'm buying a lot more coffee beans, but spending a lot less at coffee shops.

I hope this little change (it takes 2 extra minutes in the morning in my experience) makes a little, but important, part of your day better. Let me know of questions, and if you're more advanced than I am at brewing a great cup of coffee, feel free to leave expert tips for anyone else that stumbles across this post - I'd love to learn more as well.

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