Brew a Better Cup of Coffee in 5 Simple Steps

By Brian Montgomery

There are few things more enticing (or more profitable) than the delicious aroma of freshly brewed coffee. A good cup of coffee doesn’t necessarily come from the most expensive beans... the condition of your coffee brewing equipment and your brewing and serving procedures can have a big influence too. Think about it, if you serve a better tasting cup of coffee, you can charge a premium for it! Here are a few suggestions to make the most out of your coffee service, without necessarily having to "upgrade" to a more expensive grind:

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness...

Coffee brewed into funky, dirty decanters, urns or airpots doesn’t taste too stellar. Noble Chemical’s Klearly Koffee is great for cleaning all these things! Make sure all your equipment is clean too, and delime your brewer and sprayhead regularly.

The Best Brewing Temperature Is...

The ideal water temperature for brewing coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything much higher will result in bad flavor. Anything lower will result in poor extraction. While we’re talking about water, slightly hard water (50 to 100 ppm of dissolved minerals) actually delivers better tasting coffee. Overly soft water can prolong the brewing & extraction process, resulting in a bitter brew. We’ve recently added a great selection of water filter kits for coffee brewers so you’ll have great quality water coming into your brewer.

Time, Time, Time

Now that your equipment is clean and have checked for optimum water temps, grab your stopwatch! How coarse or fine your coffee grounds are will determine how long they should be in contact with the hot water:

  • Fine Grind: 1-4 minutes max
  • Drip Grind: 4-6 minutes max
  • Regular Grind: 6-8 minutes max

Basically, the coarser the grind, the longer the water needs to be in contact with it to penetrate the particles and extract the flavor. Too short=a weak cup, Too long= a bitter cup. If your brewer takes too long for the grind size indicated above, you might need to delime the spray head or nozzle. Many brewers come with a deliming spring to clear water passages of performance-robbing deposits.

So, How Much?

Taking all these other factors into consideration, the next natural question is, "How much coffee should I use?" A lot of research and taste testing has been done on this subject, and the general consensus in the industry is a ratio of 1 lb. of ground coffee to 2 to 2 1/2 gallons of water. This ratio delivers the best balance of flavor characteristics and pleased the majority of taste testers.

Holding and Serving

Once you’ve achieved brewing perfection, you should serve the coffee as soon as possible while the flavor and aroma are at their peak. It’s best to hold coffee for no longer than 20 minutes in an open top decanter, or 60 minutes in an airpot or closed urn. In either case, it’s best to hold between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Any longer, and your coffee will start losing its aroma and taste characteristics.

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