How to Make Good Coffee ( "Normal Drip Coffee" )

Coffee is fantastic!

Chances are you already knew that if you're here. This blog post will review the steps to make drip coffee. For the newbies, the section below lists the basics of brewing coffee. Coffee pros will be most interested in the section after.

Basics:

  1. Use freshly roasted coffee (month old max)
  2. 2 tablespoons of coffee per 1 cup of water
  3. Brew (either with a paper filter or mesh filter) and enjoy

 

How to make REALLY good coffee:

Now things will get bit more technical, we'll divide the subject into three sections: beans, grind, and brewing.

Beans

We won't get into variety or single origin vs mixed, but let's just say that the coffee you chose, for example, Drifter from Motorized Coffee, has the following attributes. 

  • fresh roasted
  • whole bean
  • not burnt (from a overzealous roaster who wants his coffee to taste like ash)

Given the above, you're likely holding a pretty good bag of beans. Why? Because fresh roasted (within a month or less) means the beans haven't oxidized and are significantly more flavorful. Whole beans stay fresh longer. And not burning them.... well hopefully that's pretty self explanatory.

It's important to keep this stuff in an airtight container away from light. Some say that you can freeze the beans for long term storage, but I've found success with just an airtight container and wouldn't consider freezing necessary.

Air tight coffee container

Grind

Alright great, we have a good base to work with. But reader beware, a bad grind can ruin your cup of joe. During the grinding process, the goal is uniformity of the grinds to what we'll call "medium". What does that mean? It means that the size of the grind we're looking for is between course (french press) and fine (espresso). It looks like this:

Coffee grind ground medium

For the best grind, "burr grinders" are recommended. A quick search of "best burr grinders" will reveal what products are out there. Once you have your grinder up and running, set it to a medium setting (often the manufacturer will have a recommended setting) and grind away.

Now that your grinder is ready to go, we need to make sure you have the right amount of coffee. There are two ways to go about this:

  • 2 tablespoons of whole bean coffee per 1 cup of water
  • 9 grams of coffee per 1 cup of water (166 milliliters of water)

For 6 cups of coffee, this would need about 54 grams of beans or 12 tablespoons of beans. The difference between using tablespoons (volume) and a scale (mass) is that the scale will give you the same amount of beans every time, while the scoops of coffee will be close but not exact every time. That said, this isn't an exact science, play with the amount and tune to your liking.

Brewing

Almost there! We have the beans in a proper form, now we need to make them into something better than "lukewarm bean juice". This, at it's core, means that hot water needs to extract the flavor from all the grounds.

Overextraction and underextraction can happened based upon a few factors. While grind size can affect this, we'll focus on water for now. The water needs to not only be hot enough (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit) but also needs to make it to all of the grounds. There are many different coffee makers than can do this, the internet is your friend. These various brewers can have a whole bunch settings, like pre-soak and water temperature control, but your manufacturer guide should explain what it can do. 

Press "start" you've done all this work afterall. Sup your coffee, and enjoy!