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Brewing a great cup of coffee depends on a number of things such as the quality
of the coffee bean, the quality of the water being used, the type of brewing
being done, and the grind of the coffee. Now quality of bean and water is
something you can easily take care. Just use good quality beans and pure water.
However the relationship between the grind of the coffee and the type of brewing
being done is more detailed and could use a little explanation. Now we all know
that we make coffee by passing hot water over crushed coffee beans. However for
it to really work well we need to understand just how long the water should be
passing over the beans. The purpose of this article is to help you understand
how to match your coffee's grind to the type of brewing you are doing in order
to make the best coffee possible.
Generally speaking, the 'soaking' time relates directly to how coarse the coffee
is ground. This means that smaller coffee grinds need less contact with the
water, and coarser grinds need longer contact. Espresso coffee is only exposed
to water for 20-40 seconds and as a result is made using extremely fine grind
coffee. A French press coffee maker can take as much as 4 minutes and uses an
extremely coarse grind. If coffee is left contacting water for too long for its
grind size, unwanted extracts emerge and make the coffee taste bitter. Of course
if the grind is too large and the water passes very quickly (like using frech
press grind in an espresso maker), very little of the caffeine and flavours
extracted and will have poor flavour.
Of course filters play an important role in managing the balance between over
and under brewing your coffee. Not only do they keep the grind out of your cup,
but they also control how fast the water passes over the grinds. Paper filters
are the most common, but many people are also using metal varieties. Paper
filters are quite good. However they can absorb some of the coffee flavour, and
some people claim they can taste the paper in the final coffee. Metal filters
are normally made from stainless steel or gold plated mesh. They have very fine
weave and filter out the coffee grinds very well. They also do not alter the
taste of the coffee at all. Metal filters are also more environmentally friendly
than the paper alternative.
Whichever you choose, be sure to buy decent quality. Cheap filters often clog or
not allow the coffee to brew properly. A decent quality metal filter will last
years and save money in the end.
Brewing a cup of coffee is not that hard. Brewing a great cup takes a little
more understanding, but isn't any harder. Start with fresh beans and good clean
water and then match your brewing style to the proper grind and then mess around
with the exact proportions and pretty soon your be brewing killer coffee every
time.