Roast Master’s Guide to Basic Brewing
(Download PDF Version)
For all brew methods: Use fresh ground coffee and filtered water if possible (not distilled)
- Coffee Grinder (Burr style if possible)
- Scale (Electric if possible)
- Hot Water (I like to have an electric kettle—easy to use and transport)
- Fresh Coffee (Less than two weeks old if possible)
- Coffee Spoon (2 tbsp or 1/8 cup)
- Brewer and supplies (Filters, screens, etc.)
- Coffee Mug or Coffee Cup
Brewing by Weight:
I like to brew using weights. Everything is controlled; allowing for a consistent, reproducible cup every time I brew.
For brewing by weight I suggest a ratio of 1 part coffee to 16-20 parts water.
If using ounces, I would suggest the following ratio:
- .0625 oz fresh coffee/1 oz water
For a typical home auto-drip brewer, which is the most common brewer in most households, it will likley hold 60 oz of water, so I would start with 3.75 oz of coffee and adjust to taste (make sure to measure the water volume first). The low end for a 60 oz brewer is 3 oz of coffee (.05 oz coffee/1 oz water). These ratios work for any brew method, but measure the water capacity first.
If you prefer grams, a quick ratio is 3 grams of coffee to 50 grams of water. Just weigh the water first.
Brewing by Volume:
To brew by volume, measure the volume of the brewer, and apply this ratio:
- 2 tbsp fresh coffee/6 oz water
For a typical home brewer holding 60 oz of water, I would start with 1¼ cups of coffee. (2 tbsp=1/8 cup; so 60 oz water would be 20 tbsp, or 10 1/8 cups, or 1¼ cups. Also, could be thought of as 10 coffee scoops, but make sure they really measure 2 tbsp). Adjust to taste, but I would recommend using no less than 16 tbsp for 60 oz water.
Steps to great coffee:
- Preheat brewer—whether it is a carafe, urn, press, chemex, etc., the vessel that the brewed coffee will end up in should be heated before brewing. Simply add a small amount of hot water and discard prior to brewing.
- Pre-wet any paper filter—I like to do this no matter what, but in a household auto-drip brewer it isn’t completely necessary.
- Both preheating and pre-wetting can be done simultaneously in most brewers.
- Measure coffee by weight or volume.
- Grind coffee if you have a grinder.
- Depending on brew method, some of the following steps can be omitted.
- For auto-drip, add water to brewer and start. Wait until the cycle is complete before serving—this avoids an uneven extraction, and insures the best possible cup.
- For all other methods, pre-wet coffee—Make sure all of the grounds are saturated. A good rule is to use at least 10% of the total water to pre-wet the grounds.
- Start Timer—Brew time will be from 3-5 minutes. This will depend on grind, brew method and personal taste.
- After 30-60 seconds, slowly add remaining water.
- Some brewers can be stirred at this point, either before or after adding remaining water.
- Coffee Press—At this point, set the lid on top and gently push plunger down below the level of the water.
- When brew time is complete (3-5 minutes), remove filter and grounds. (For Coffee Press, gently push plunger to bottom of brewer.)
- Immediately serve and enjoy!
Some things to consider:
There is really no “right” way to brew coffee, but through experience these are the parameters that I find brew the most consistently pleasant cup of coffee.
There are many types of brewers, and this lest by no means covers all of them; however, these are suggestions that can be modified for almost all brew methods.
If you garden, coffee grounds (and some filters) are great for compost.
Avoid storing coffee in the refrigerator or freezer. Instead, find a cabinet or container free from light, humidity and temperature fluctuation. I like to keep my coffee in the original bag, tightly rolled, and in an airtight container in a kitchen cabinet.
Brewed coffee left in contact with grounds will become bitter. If all of the brewed coffee will not be served immediately, I suggest pouring the remainder into a carafe. This is especially important for Coffee Press brewers or other full-immersion brew methods.
Brewed coffee is best fresh: Avoid serving after 2 hours and never reheat.