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how to brew better coffee (french press and pour-over guides)

There are three ways to significantly improve the coffee you brew at home:

  1. Only use freshly roasted coffee, optimally within 1-14 days of roasting. Fresh coffee is what we're all about. We always roast our coffee to order and ship it the same day to ensure optimal freshness.
  2. Grind your coffee just before you brew. If you don't have a grinder, we'd be happy to pre-grind it for you, even though we highly recommend investing in one. (We discussed the grinders we like here.) 
  3. Use delicious, clean, filtered water. As a rule of thumb, if you don't like the way your water tastes, it won't make delicious coffee.

After you've followed these steps, the brewing method and recipe you use will determine the clarity of your cup. While specialty coffee rewards attention to details and frequent experimentation, I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information. So here's a simple guide for improving how you make coffee at home. 

Pour-over

Tools: burr grinder, scale, timer, goose-neck kettle, cone-shaped brewer (V60, Chemex, etc.), and paper filters. 

Coffee to water ratio: 1 to 16.6 — 30 grams of coffee to 500 grams of water.

Grind: medium-fine (about the texture of salt). 

Brew time: between 2.5 to 3.5 minutes. 

Steps:

  1. Boil your kettle. We'll aim for 500 grams of coffee with this guide, so boil at least 600 ml of water. 
  2. Pre-rinse your filter while in the brewer. This rinses away the unpleasant paper taste and pre-heats your carafe and brewer. Dump the used water. 
  3. Grind 30 grams of coffee. Add to the brewer and shake to settle grounds. Start with your grinder's recommended drip coffee setting as a baseline and adjust according to taste and brew time.
  4. Bloom your coffee for 45 seconds by pouring 60 grams of water in a circle over the grounds, trying to saturate the coffee completely. It helps to swirl the slurry gently. 
  5. After blooming, keep your timer running and slowly begin to pour water in a circle over the coffee, being careful to saturate all the grounds as you go. Once your brewer is 3/4 full, stop and gently stir the slurry with a spoon. 
  6. Continue pouring until you reach 3/4th again. Gently swirl the coffee to level the grounds. Finish pouring until you reach 500 grams. As the coffee drips, occasionally give the slurry a swirl to ensure even extraction.
  7. If it takes longer than 3.5 minutes for the coffee to drip through the filter, adjust your grinder to a coarser setting. If less than 2 minutes, adjust to a finer grind. 
  8. Wait 4-5 minutes after brewing for your coffee to cool down. This is the sweet spot for tasting the delicate flavors in coffee. But above all else, enjoy!

French press

Tools: burr grinder, scale, timer, kettle, and french press. 

Coffee to water ratio: 1:15 — 40 grams of coffee to 600 grams of water. 

Grind: medium. Slightly coarser than pour-over. 

Brew time: 8-10 minutes.

Steps: 

  1. Boil at least 700 ml of water. 
  2. Grind 40 grams of coffee slightly coarser than you would for pour-over. Add to french press and tare your scale.
  3. Pour in 600 grams of water. Gently stir until the coffee is fully saturated.
  4. Set a timer for 3 minutes and wait. After your time goes off, take a soup spoon and carefully scoop out the grounds that are floating at the top of the brewer. Throw them away.
  5. Cover the french press with the lid, but do not press it down. Set a timer for 7 or 8 minutes. What's happening as you wait is that all the remaining coffee grounds are settling down to the bottom of the carafe. Plunging the french press will disrupt the slurry and release unpleasant flavors.
  6. After waiting a bit, with lid in place but plunger still up, carefully pour your coffee into pre-heated mugs. 
  7. Wait a few minutes for your coffee to cool and enjoy! 

This is called the "no-press french press" method, and it yields a much cleaner cup. We prefer the taste of this method, but if you would rather try a more traditional french press method, do this: After your 3-minute timer goes off, slowly press down the plunger and pour your coffee.