How to make good coffee

A cup of good coffee can be prepared in so many different ways, which one makes the best cup of joe varies from individual and own preference. Nonetheless, there are some important, must follow fundamentals on how to make good coffee which we will address here.

4 important factors that affect the quality of your coffee.

how to make a cup of good coffee

  • Freshness of Coffee bean – Does it really matters?
  • The coffee grinder – Do I need one?
  • Quality of water – Is your home tap water spoiling your coffee?
  • Water temperaure – Important yet most overlooked.

What coffee bean got to do with making good coffee?

fresh roasted coffee bean produce good coffee

Well, the process from roasting the beans, storing and grinding to brewing do play an important role for making your coffee perfect.

Coffee bean is actually the seed in the coffee cherries of coffee plant, after harvesting, it need to go through quite a long process before roasting. To learn more about coffee harvesting process, click here. Roasting process will create the Maillard reaction which result in the change of color and produce distinctive coffee that we enjoy every day.

It is recommended that you purchase freshly roasted coffee bean and consume it as soon as possible before it lost its freshness. Do noted that freshly roasted coffee need to go through a degassing period while the carbon dioxide is being releases due to the roasting process.

It may takes a few days and without proper degassing, the rich flavor will not be fully extracted when being brewed. Most of the coffee roasters will only put the roasted bean up for sale after proper degassing.

You will also want to know that after degassing, oxidation process took place immediately. Oxidation plays a major part in degrading your coffee. Rule of thumb, buy what you need and don’t stock up more than you can consume for one or two weeks, more is not always good.

If you are thinking of roasting your own coffee bean, you are not alone. Many coffee aficionado buy their own bean roaster to ensure that the beans are prepared to their personal liking.
National coffee association of USA has a webpage on coffee roasting guide which we think is very informative and educational.

Coffee grinder – Do I really need one?

Do I need a coffee grinder

Unless you buy pre-ground coffee, you need a grinder to grind it into smaller part before you can brew and fully extract its favor, turning it into your favorite cup of Joe. There is knowledge involve in how to grind your specially selected beans to perfection.

You may ask since there is pre-ground coffee available off the shelf, why go through the hassle of grinding your own bean? well, any barista will tell you that the only sure way to preserve the favor of your premium coffee is to grind it just before the brewing process.

For grinding coffee bean, there are 2 types of grinder, the burr and blade grinder. Now the question is which coffee grinder to use? The burr or blade grinder? Coffee aficionados will tell you to go for the burr grinder instead of the blade ones. Grinding process through burr grinder can preserve the favor and original properties of the bean much better than the blade grinder and produces a more consistent taste.

How burr grinder works?

Burr grinder comes with two separated burr, one stationary while the other one rotating when in operation. Beans are fed in between the gaps of the two burrs and being crush into smaller, uniform size.
Uniform size of the grind give your brew a more consistent taste. You also have more control on the fineness of the ground and the process generate less heat compare to the blade grinding, less heat will prevent the coffee from losing its essential properties and favor.

How blade grinder work?

For the blade grinder, there is a rotating blade at the bottom of the container, it will spin at a fast speed and chop the bean into pieces when the beans come into contact with the revolving blade. The end result of the bean grinded will not be as uniform as the burr grinder.

Why the size of your coffee ground has great impact on the taste of your coffee?

When the beans are grinded too fine, your coffee may taste bitter as there is a tendency of over extracting during the brewing process. When it is too coarse, under extraction may happen, causing your coffee to taste flat. Inconsistent grinding size will cause your coffee to taste differently on every brew.

Quality of water – What in your water may ruin your coffee

Water plays an important role in making good coffee. It is one of the deciding factors that can either make your coffee fabulous or unappealing. There are many chemicals, microorganism and other properties in the water which can affect the quality of your coffee.

Most water running out from our taps are treated to remove harmful bacteria and impurities, it may alter the harness, PH value and other characteristic of the water which can affect the taste of our coffee. Water for brewing a perfect cup of coffee should be clean and odor-less. If you can’t get it from your tap, bottled spring water is an alternative, in this case. You may consider investing in a good water filtration system in your home.

According to SCCA, Specialty Coffee Association Of America, to attain superior quality coffee extraction, the water for brewing need to has the following characteristic in places.

Characteristic Target Acceptable Range
Water odor Water must be clean/fresh and odor free  
Color of water Clear color  
Total chlorine contain O mg/L  
TDS (Total dissolved solids) in water 150 mg/L 75 – 250 mg/L
Calcium Hardness 4 grains or 68 mg/L 1-5 grains or 17 mg/L – 85 mg/L
Total Alkalinity 40 mg/L At or near 40 mg/L

Water brewing standard table is extracted directly from SCAA website, you can find out more detail or download the PDF format directly from the website

Water Temperature – Important yet most people over looked

Water temperature for brewing plays a critical part in making a perfect cup of coffee, yet most people over look this important factor. In order to extract the full favor of the bean, the most ideal temperature should be 195 F (91 C) and 205 F (96 C) for optimal extraction. Simple way to measure the temperature include using a normal thermometer, buying a kettle with temperature control or just let the fully boiled water cooled for 30 seconds before pouring over your coffee ground.

If water is not hot enough (below 195 F), under extraction can occur, if water temperature is too hot (above 205 F), your coffee may taste bitter as it may be over extracted.