How To Brew Coffee
The Cleaner, the Better
Your coffee-making equipment must be thoroughly washed out and rinsed after each use. Coffee sediments and oils can settle and grow stale if left uncleaned, which will produce unpleasant bitter-tasting coffee.
Good Water Makes Good Coffee
Use the best possible water available such as filtered or bottled water. Cold tap water can be used and should be free of any flavors, odors, or textures. Avoid distilled or softened water since some minerals are essential to coffee flavor.
Use Fresh, Quality Roasted Coffee
Fresher coffee beans equals greater tasting brews. Make sure that 100% Arabica coffee beans are used instead of Robusta beans, which are cheaper and not as high quality. Just so you know, San Francisco Bay Coffee only produces and roasts 100% Arabica coffee beans.
Know Your Roast Preferences
The roast of a coffee bean will determine the taste quite a bit. Here are some basic guidelines for roasting levels:
- Full City Medium Roast: our lightest roast. Beans are developed to a full flavor point without bitter tones
- Full City Dark Roast: our standard roast. Beans are roasted to fullest flavor point. Sweet and well rounded
- Espresso Roast: roasted past Full City Roasts until beans are dark brown and well oiled. Strong flavor
- Dark Espresso Roast: roasted to a dark rich flavor that blends well with milks and creams. Stout with sweet tones
- French Roast: roasted past the pop & sizzle until beans are very oily and dark. Intense smoky flavors
- Extra Dark Italian Roast: not for the faint of heart. Roasted to almost black. Very strong and smoky
Grind Your Own Coffee
Grinding whole bean coffee produces more flavors since the whole bean retained most of its complexities. How fine you grind the coffee will affect the flavor; a more finely ground coffee can become over extracted and bitter whereas a more coarsely ground coffee can be under extracted and bland. Here are some basic grind levels:
- Coarse Grind: feels like kosher salt. Best for brewing with a French Press
- Perc Grind: feels like soil. Best for brewing with a percolator
- Drip Grind: feels like sand. Best for an auto drip brewer with filter
- Fine Grind: feels like sugar. Best for brewing with a pour-over
- Espresso Grind: feels like powdered sugar. Best for espresso brewers
- Turkish Grind: feels like flour. Best for Turkish style brewers
Serve Coffee Fresh and Hot
Serve brewed coffee within 30 minutes, or store it in a thermal or insulated carafe. Coffee will remain fresh and tasty in this kind of container for about 45-60 minutes. Coffee that has been left exposed to air or left on a hot burner deteriorates rapidly.
To keep coffee warm, "prime" a thermal carafe by pre-filling it with hot water ahead of time and replace the water immediately with freshly made coffee. This method also works to warm up cold ceramic mugs. There is no purpose in re-pouring or re-perking brewed coffee through spent grounds. Any desirable flavor elements have already been extracted. Only bitter oils remain. Re-heating brewed coffee even in a microwave will break down coffee's many delicate components, which leaves only a warm beverage with a poor flavor.
Popular Brewing Methods
Drip Coffee Brewer
To make a great cup of coffee, start with a ratio of two tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water and adjust to your taste. For drip brewers, the brew cycle should be completed in 4-6 minutes.
Single-Serve Pod Brewer
These new coffee brewers are becoming very popular. The instructions are usually pretty standard, but the quality of the coffee used is crucial to a really great tasting cup of coffee. We recommend our wide varieties of OneCups that we sell in our store.
French Press Brewer
Truly one of the finest cups of coffee you can brew. Coffee should be ground to a medium grind (or whatever your preference) and used at the ratio of 1 heaping tablespoon per 5 ounces of water. Pour the coffee in the press and then pour in the appropriate amount of (almost boiling) hot water in with the coffee and place the lid/plunger on the carafe. Allow the coffee to steep or brew for about 4 minutes and then slowly and steadily press the plunger down.
Large Party Coffee Pot
When you prepare a large batch of coffee, carefully measure both the coffee and the water. Use two packages for a 24-cup maker. Use a 12-oz. bag for a 60-cup maker. It is fine to measure out cold water into the pot the evening before coffee is to be served. However for the best flavor, open and pour ground coffee into the maker's basket just before brewing. Avoid percolators with brew cycles longer than 6 minutes since they will over-extract the coffee and cause bitterness.