Sipping the cup of coffee that we just brew a second back, we can give ourselves a line that it could be better, and to be real from the heart to heart, it can be. So let's take a small walk into the blends and aromas of coffee, and tell each other a few tricks we pick up on the way back. Here's our attempt at giving you our secrets.
1. Buying good beans
The soul of coffee lies with what it is at its core, the bean, and when the beans are properly roasted the flavour is crisp, to say the least. Green beans have a longer shelf life because they are not roasted thereby they don't sit after extraction. The green beans can be roasted at home for making your coffee-making experience all that worthwhile, sometimes slower is better and with coffee, it might as well turn out to be. While store-bought brown beans have a shelf life where they are the best to use and then slowly degrade from thereon, the sweet spot usually lies from 5 to 25 days. Notes would vary from various kinds of earthiness from the kind of beans we choose, Arabica or Robusta, or a blend of them. No matter how sophisticated the equipment, it wouldn't make sense when the beans are a bust. In a way, it is always about who you are on the inside after all.
2. Grind your own beans
Now that the beans are roasted, we can get on with grinding them. In few places, few extra bucks go a long way in deciding the quality of experience and in that aspect getting yourself a good grinder does a lot. We'd say so because good grinders are somehow hard to find, and well-ground coffee is so important because a uniform grind always translates into a uniform cup of coffee after all. The goal is to have more of what we want and less of what we don't, like life like coffee, the grind particle distribution is all that matters when you get to the nitty-gritty of things and the steeper the bell curve the better.
3. Choosing your preferred brewing equipment
The preferred extraction that the ground beans go through also defines what your coffee becomes, for example, expresso, Moka pot and Aeropress are the preferred methods for a milk-based beverage because they are heavy-bodied in nature whereas a pour-over, french press, Chemex and brew bags are better prepared for water-based beverages. It is also to note that a pour-over and Chemex are not as manageable with brew time as filter paper and brew bag are more manageable because you can stop right at the moment where you'd like the process to stop.
4. Different type of filter give different results
Coffee filters are like the same with the filters we talk with, each filter brings a separate set of pros and cons. With metal filters it is how they are reusable, but let a lot of gritty powder pass through if there's a small slack in grind consistency. With paper filters it is how they are portable and easy, but are disposable and leave a sense of guilt for adding to the carbon footprint. With cloth filters it is how they are versatile and reusable, but maintenance needs a little bit of an extra effort. It is going to be subjective, but at the end it boils down to exactly what you're comfortable with.
5. Getting a perfect Water temperature
When you brew something beyond a particular temperature, you often end up with a similar ashy flavor that is crass and a little crude, in the context of making coffee we should understand that water is our medium of heat, and for light and medium roasts we should go for a temperature of low or high nineties because the water tends to carry the heat into the powder while extracting the best out of the powder but for a darker roast we should tone it down a little as to avoid overdoing the roast, to get the best out of everything we start somewhere and we try.
6. Using proper ratios & scale
Proportion is quite an interesting word because it includes ratios of what is exactly right for something and what isn't. In coffee, we look at how much a particular type of coffee needs, whether it is an espresso. a pour-over or a cold brew, every beverage has its own golden spot and in terms of flavour we can only suggest so much because what is perfect for us might not be the same for you, but think of getting yourself a weighing scale because it'd be of great help, our ratios are:
- 1:2 for an Espresso
- 1:15 for a Pour-over
- 1:10 for a Cold Brew
Do try them out and don't forget to experiment, practice makes a coffee perfect too.
7. Timing the brewing process
In cricket the word timing is thrown around with relative ease, letting things happen before you play it right under your nose is something one gets better at with time and consistency. In brewing and especially cold brews, timing plays a massive role, because letting coffee brew over the sweet spot of 16 to 18 hours will let it become a little bitter, because extraction happens at that rate it is not alarming or even visible to the eye. But it is happening and you've got to label things out, let it remind you when it's time and stick to scheduling it with care.
8. Choosing your favourite accompaniments
Coffee's best friends are conversations of course but a little over the saucer, we should think of food that comes along with it, light-bodied coffees would be great pair with sweet foods whereas heavy bodied coffees like cappuccino would love a savoury company.
One thing we'd love for you to have is happiness and in every situation, a cup of coffee hurt none and brought people closer. Here's to 8 secrets and plenty of memories with the beverage we all adore.
- Mani Varna from Wobh