How to Brew Coffee

gourmet coffee company

The cleaner the better

Your coffee making equipment must be thoroughly washed out and rinsed after each use. Without proper cleaning, coffee sediments and oils settle on their inside surfaces. With exposure to air these leftovers grow stale. In time, this built-up material will produce bitter, unpleasant tasting coffee.

Good water makes good coffee

Use the best possible water available. Tap water should be free of any strange flavors, odors or textures. If it is not, then use filtered or bottled water. Avoid distilled or softened water since some minerals are essential to coffee flavor. Tap water should be cold and allowed to run for a few seconds to aerate it before it goes into a maker or water kettle.

Use quality freshly roasted coffee

The fresher the coffee is the better chance it will have to be a great tasting brew. Check your coffee packaging for expiration dates and if it is out of date get a new bag of freshly brewed coffee. Keep your coffee stored in a dry airtight container at room temperature. Read here for more on how to properly store coffee.

What is quality coffee? It starts with 100% Arabica Coffee Beans and then depends on the type of bean, where they were farmed and how they were harvested, aged and roasted. Lots of coffee manufacturers today are using Robusta Coffee Beans, but for quality coffee you should be looking for 100% Arabica Coffee Beans. All of our coffee brands use these quality coffee beans.

Know your coffee roast preferences

The roast of a coffee bean will add to the taste quite a bit. Do you like a hearty, robust flavor or a mild and sweet flavor? The type of roast you choose will influence this greatly. 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" and "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.

Want to learn more about coffee roasting, flavors or how to evaluate coffee visit our coffee cupping page or take a tour of our coffee roasting plant in Lincoln.

Be sure about your coffee grind

Always grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible and know how fine your are grinding them. A more finely ground coffee can become over extracted and taste bitter where as a more coarsely ground coffee can be under extracted and taste flat or bland. Most brewing methods have specific grinds that are recommended but the best thing you can do is try different grinds and develop a favorite. The type of grinder you use is important too. A burr grinder will create a more consistant grind than a blade grinder. If you want a blade grinder we recommend this Coffee Grinder.

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 45 Ė 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, then emptying it of the warming water and filling it with the 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 - breaks down coffee's many delicate components, leaving only a warm beverage with a poor flavor.

Organic Coffee Farming


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.

Fair Direct trade Coffee


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 San Francisco Bay OneCups or our Organic Coffee Company OneCups for the best results.

Community Aid Program


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.

Shade Grown Coffee


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. But 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.