Deans Bean

All Organic Fair Trade Direct Coffee… and More

How to Brew the Best Cup

People get their PHD in coffee brewing these days, dedicating their entire lives trying to answer this very question! So this is our attempt to break down the science to help you figure out the basics of brewing a great cup. (If you want more, we recommend the National Coffee Association website or going onto You Tube or Google and searching for what brew method you are interested in.)

The differences between good and great cups of coffee boil down to a variety of factors.  Most importantly are:

  • Coffee roast level
  • The brew method
  • How you grind it
  • Coffee to water ratio
  • Quality and freshness of ingredients

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The Coffee!

The first factor to consider is, of course, the coffee.  You’ve already chosen to purchase quality organic and Fair Trade coffee…now you get to choose your roast level and favorite blend.  Our coffees come in Medium Roasts, Medium/Dark Blends and Dark Roasts.  Medium Roasts are roasted for less time than dark roasts (even if only by a few minutes), and the differences are huge!  Dark roasts are bold, robust and strong in flavor, while Medium roasts have more unique flavor characteristics that shine through.  Medium roasts tend to have pleasurable acidity, and are lower in bitterness.  Dark roasts have lower acid, higher body and more “roasted” or smoky flavors.

Country of Origin

The country of origin that each coffee comes from can also have a huge impact on flavor to take into consideration.  For example, Ethiopian coffees are quite floral while Nicaraguan coffees can have hints of chocolate.  And Indonesian coffees (like Sumatran) are full-bodied and earthy, which lend themselves well to dark roasts.  But within each region (and even elevation) there are differences, too.  You can explore each country of origin, and meet the growers here.

Freshness

You should brew the freshest coffee you can.  Fresh roasted coffee should be kept in a cool, dry and dark place in an airtight container.  A five-pound bag of whole bean coffee will last up to 4 weeks at room temperature.  Unopened one-pound bags, however, are nitrogen-flushed and sealed, and will stay fresh for at least 3 months if left in stable temperatures.

To freeze or not to freeze…that is the question!  Although it is not ideal in terms of freshness, we recognize that many of our customers purchase in larger quantities to save money, and need to store coffee for a longer period of time.  This is where the freezer comes in.

If you want to freeze coffee, the trick is to break up the coffee into small increments that will last you two to three weeks. Put the coffee into a freezer safe bag or airtight container. Keep the first amount out on your counter for immediate use, and stash the rest of it in the freezer. Once you run out of the supply on your counter, just grab the next bag/container. What you DON’T want to do is take the coffee in and out of the freezer. The drastic changes in temperatures will cause it to stale much quicker. It should hold in the freezer in a freezer safe container/bag for up to 3 months. 

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Brewing!

There are many different ways to brew your coffee, and each method makes for a unique coffee experience.  And of course, each method requires different grinds, coffee-to-water ratios and time.  Here’s a list of the most common brew methods:

  • The Autodrip Machine (your standard Mr. Coffee)
  • The Pour Over (including the Chemex)
  • The French Press
  • The Percolator (including stove top Moka Pots)
  • The Espresso Machine

Grind

If ordering ground coffee from us, you have three options – Normal, Coarse and Fine.  Normal is a medium grind, so the middle of the range on your home grinder.  If you are grinding at home, you will need a little bit of trial and error to figure out how YOUR grinder and brew method work best together.  If you have grinds or too much sediment in your cup, take it up a notch towards coarse.  If it’s not as strong as you like it, try a finer grind.

Different brew methods call for different grinds:

 

Grind

 

Autodrip

 

Pour Over

 

French Press

 

Percolator

 

Espresso

 

Normal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coarse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fine

 

 

 

 (Moka Pot needs not-quite-fine)

(Like table salt)

 

Ratio For Brewing

It’s best to measure by weight if you can (instead of volume – see chart below), which means investing in a kitchen scale.  But if you can’t (or don’t want to!), a general rule of thumb is 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of coffee per 8 ounces of water.  The difference from 2 to 3 tbl depends on your taste buds and what you like.  If you like it stronger, go with more, and less if you like it more mellow.  (Again, trial and error until you find what suits you!)

 

 

 

Autodrip

(for 4 cups brewed)

 

Pour Over

(Size: #2 filtercone)

 

Chemex

(Size: 8 cup)

 

French Press

(Size: 8 cup)

 

Moka Pot

(Size: 4 cup)

 

 

 

Coffee (weight)

 

56 -84 grams

 

16 grams

 

42 grams

 

56 grams

 

15 - 17 grams

 

 

Coffee (volume)

 

8-12 tablespoons

 

2-3 tablespoons

 

6 tablespoons

 

8 tablespoons

 Enough to fill the filter basket

(do not compact)

 

 

Water

32 oz

(4 cups)

10 oz

(1 ¼ cups)

40 oz

(5 cups)

32 oz

(4 cups)

 (Use Heated Water!)

Fill the bottom base

 

 

Time

5 - 7 minutes (your machine will do the timing for you!)

 

2.5 minutes

 

4 minutes

 

4 – 6 minutes

 5 minutes or so (listen to it; the sound will no longer sound like gurgling)

 

 

 

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Dos and Don’ts!

DO let your coffee “bloom.”  Pour a few tablespoons of the hot water you’re using onto your grounds before you start to brew.  Let sit for 30 – 45 seconds, and the coffee grounds will expand.  This allows for better extraction, and a better cup.

DON'T use dirty equipment.  Wash with hot soapy water often, to get rid of coffee oils which can be bitter or rancid after time.  For autodrip machines, clean periodically per the machines instructions.

DO use good, clean water.  No need to buy bottled water, but make sure its as pure as you can get.

DON'T let people make you feel bad about adding sugar or milk or soy or almond or...  It's YOUR cup of coffee.  Not theirs.  

Most importantly, DO remember to appreciate where your cup of coffee comes from. A good cup is more than just the right brew method + correct grind. Think about the growers and the impact YOU have on their lives when you purchase Dean's Beans.