At the very beginning, what you should know is that to make the perfect coffee, you need to understand what a good coffee actually is. Hence, first thing to know is how the coffee world measures its brews. According to a special study carried out in the 1950s’, results have shown that the ultimate formula of a perfect cup of coffee is made of the following ‘ingredients’:
- 18% – 22% Extraction
- brew strength between 1.15% and 1.35 % Total Dissolved Solids
Confused? Do not be. The aforementioned Percentage Extraction represents the quantity of coffee particles that have been extracted from the original dry grounds. On the flip- side, the Percentage of Total Dissolved Solids represents the exact percentage of coffee solids in the cup of coffee. This is commonly referred to as ‘brew strength’. It means that when the coffee is being brewed, the goal is to hit that center of perfection, mentioned a couple of lines above.
To ensure this center of perfection, thus the most out of a fantastic coffee, you need to have the right equipment and of course, the right coffee-makingtechniques. Throw a glance at the few fundamental principles of making the ideal coffee.
- Good (Quality) Coffee Beans –Toguarantee the pleasure of drinking the best coffee on the planet, make sure to buy quality coffee beans. Whole coffee beans make the perfect choice, since they are sustainably farmed, thus roasted within the past few weeks. Look for a lighter roast, as this is what will keep the original smell and flavour of the coffee. Please note that if you turn to darker roasts, you will lose the ‘terroir’ (special characteristicts) of the coffee itself. If you are a newbie with zero coffee knowledge, the best way to get good and quality whole coffee beans is to find a reputable and experiencedcoffee-bean retailer. Although the 21st century online coffee market is full of different sellers and retailers, to ensure the very best buying decision, start your whole-coffee-bean online quest, while being guided by quality and positive feedback.
- Grinding Before Brewing –One of the key principles of ensuring a luxuriously exquisite cup of coffee is the ‘grind before brew’ principle. Roasted coffee is known to be perishable and pretty delicate. In fact, coffee-related surveys have proven that coffee features much more flavour compounds than wine. The bad thing about it is that coffee compounds tend to deteriorate very quickly when they are exposed to oxygen. Hence, grinding the coffee right before brewing will keep coffee’s essential compounds intact. May this be your number one rule in your coffee-making practice at home.
- Store The Coffee Properly – Whole coffee beans that won’t be used immediately for grinding and brewing, and finally getting into the cup, should be stored in an airtight container, kept away from direct sunlight. For a long time, regular coffee drinkers have been seriously debating about whether to freeze or not coffee. The ideal answer is quite simple – if you are not planning to brew the coffee in the following two weeks, then freeze it. Otherwise, there is no need for freezing it. Just stick to the first-mentioned rule.
- Do Not Forget The Golden Ratio Of Coffee To Water – It is no more a secret that one of the major errors coffee drinkers make during the coffee preparation is not using the recommended (enough) dose of coffee. The truth is, most of coffee drinkers think that it is unnecessary and wasteful to add an extra scoop of coffee. As we have previously mentioned, the first and most important step to beautiful, full- bodied and delicate coffee, is sticking to the golden ratio that will take you to the ideal coffee-making zone.
- Use Quality Coffee-Preparation Equipment – To get the absolute maximum out of coffee pleasure, make sure that you are using high- quality tools that feature durability and optimum performance. Yes, it is absolutely true that you will probably spend a little bit more upfront, since buying quality coffee- making equipment is indeed a costly investment, but think that this way you will ensure using the equipment at its fullest capacity in the long run. This very important feature particularly applies to the coffee machine, as this is the piece of coffee-making equipment that actually does the most of the work. Another information you should be ‘equipped’ with before heading to coffee preparation, is how you want your coffee to taste in terms of body and flavour clarity. Simply put, the balance between the coffee’s body and flavour clarity depends on thecoffee-bean parts that make it into the cup. Do not be confused about this, because this is practically a matter of chemistry. If we delve into the world of chemistry, we will come across to the information that there are soluble and insoluble compounds. Well, this basic chemistry principle applies to the world of coffee as well. Therefore, the soluble compounds (particles) that are normally extracted from the coffee ground, contribute to coffee’s flavour and aroma, whereas insoluble particles hold the primary role in determining the coffee’s body. The truth is, roasted coffee contains both soluble and insoluble particles, meaning that the way you balance them during the process of extraction will determine the final coffee character of your cup. Whether you like a ‘grittier’, richer cup of coffee or you prefer a cleaner cup of coffee that features citrus notes, depends on adjusting the following conditions:
- The Grind Size Of The Coffee Beans – Believe it or not, the grind size plays a huge role in the extraction rate, as it directly affects the surface area. Coarsely-groundcoffee beans feature less surface area when compared to the same quantity of finely-ground beans. And this particular condition makes it difficult for the water to penetrate, thus extract the coffee solids. When it comes to this matter, the ‘uniform grind size’ term is frequently used? What does uniform grind size actually stands for? It refers to consistency of the extraction rate of acids and oils in coffee, meaning that there will be no small pieces that over-extract and no large pieces that under-extract. This is the boldest reason why coffee experts highly recommend using a good burr coffee grinder.
- Water Temperature – Again, the temperature of water is a very important factor that directly affects the extraction rate, because solids tend to dissolve pretty fast at higher temperatures. Furthermore, the temperature has a great impact on coffee’s flavour, as it determines the dissolved solids. Hence, if you are using extremely hot water, the coffee will become sour, due to the fact that coffee beans release unpleasant acids at very high temperatures. Therefore, coffee experts suggest brewing with water somewhere between 195 and 202 degrees. Do not forget to measure the water that is actually in the coffee, and not just what you are pouring into the cup. There is a big difference, so please keep this in mind.
- How Frequently Coffee Grounds Are Agitated During Brewing: Coffee-ground agitation speeds up the spread of dissolved coffee solids in the water, thus quickly exposing the coffee grounds to fresher water. However, agitation can lead to water cooling – a condition that will certainly affect the process. The truth is, perfection can be achieved through trial and error, and this is one of the things that beginners can learn with continuous practice.