Weigh, Weigh, Weigh!
Weighing your coffee is the number 1 tip we can give you as a home brewer. If a cafe using 10 + kilos a day can incorporate weighing into their systems, then so can you. As baristas we are trying to control variables and one of the best ways to do that is by weighing your coffee in and brew out.
You can dose your coffee straight into the portafilter or use a dosing cup. A great starting place when dialling in most coffees is starting with a brew ratio of 1:2. That means 1 part ground coffee to 2 parts brewed espresso. For example put 20g of freshly ground coffee into your portafilter and extract 40g of espresso out. If your coffee tastes weak, grassy and acidic then make your grind finer. When your coffee tastes bitter and burnt then you should make your grind setting more coarse. Weighing your coffee allows you to have actual figures to reference in pursuit of a great cup of coffee.
Grind on Demand
As important as weighing your coffee comes grinding your coffee on demand. Buying pre ground coffee or batch grinding will accelerate the process of your coffee becoming stale. The first thing you will notice is that your coffee starts to lose its fragrance. As you brew pre ground or old coffee you will experience a lack of vibrancy and flavour, resulting in what we call in the business as ‘flat’. If you’re not ready to take the plunge with an automatic electronic grinder, you can work on your on those arms with a hand grinder. Trust us, it will make a world of difference.
Beans live in the cupboard
Coffee is best stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry place. Freezing coffee is also a really great way to store your coffee long term. Vacuum seal your coffee and it will last for over 6 months with little to no change in flavour.
Warm up those cups
In a cafe setting, the top of a coffee machine acts like a heater for the cups. Home brewers should aim to emulate this practice. It’s as easy as running some hot water into your cup or carafe before brewing. Avoiding this practice can seriously affect your coffee’s body and sweetness. So for your next cup make sure the coffee has a warm bed to jump into.
Coffee is made up of two parts and yep you guessed it…. Coffee and Water. I bet you can guess which one is often neglected. To bore you to death we could go into water chemistry in relation to coffee brewing, but we wouldn’t do that to you. Just take this one piece of advice, use filtered water whenever you can. It could be something as simple as a jug in your fridge with an inbuilt filter. Your coffee will be nothing short of stunning if you take this one small step.
Practice makes perfect
Like anything, practice makes perfect, trial and error is the way all barista’s learn. Getting to know your equipment and being comfortable in making adjustments is one of the joys of coffee.