Brewing coffee can be as simple and as complex as you like. From your everyday home drip maker to Toddy cold brew, there is a method that is right for your needs as well as sense of adventure. Make sure you have the right grind for your chosen method. It is probably the most important variable you can easily control.
Chemex Coffee Brewer
Pour Over Method
The pour over method of brewing coffee is a simple way to gain better control of your extraction and to experiment. All pour-over brewers share a common principle - manually pouring hot water over coffee grounds placed in a filter. There are a variety of products that allow single cup pour-over as well as brewing an entire pot.
Invented in 1941 by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm PhD, the Chemex Coffeemaker produces clear, pure and flavorful coffee without bitterness or sediment. This pour-over method ensures that coffee only comes in contact with the specially designed filter and the non-porous glass. The specially designed Chemex Bonded Filter provides precise filtration as well as optimal infusion time. On display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, this classic is virtually unchanged in its 70 year history.
Place the Chemex Coffeemaker on a heat resistant surface.
Open the Chemex filter so that one side has one layer and the other side has 3 layers and, position it in the coffeemaker so that the 3 layer side is toward the spout. Filters come in white and unbleached options.
Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and set aside.
Select your favorite Jamaica Coffee Trading CoCoffee and choose the Chemex (#8) grind. If you are grinding at home, you are looking for a medium-coarse grind just below what you might use for French Press.
Place grounds in the filter.
At this point the water should have settled to a temperature of about 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour just enough water to wet all the grounds without them floating. This is the bloom.
Continue to add water to keep grounds wet and until you have the desired amount of brewed coffee. Generally try to keep the water 1/3 below the top of the Coffeemaker.
Option 1: Pre-soak the filter with hot water. With the filter in place as above, pour hot water all around the filter to wet it. Dump the water, place the grounds in the filter and proceed as above.
Option 2: Pre-infusion. In the above process, the first wetting of the grounds creates a bloom or pre-infusion state. In this method, we keep the grounds in a “bloom” state throughout the pour. Instead of pouring and stopping, establish a continual slow pour throughout, keeping the water level about a half inch to one inch below the top of the coffeemaker. Experiment with a continual pour through the center of the grounds as well as pouring in a slow circular motion being careful to keep about 1/2” away from the sides of the filter.
The AeroPress is a device for brewing coffee. It was invented in 2005 by Aerobie president Alan Adler. Coffee is steeped for between 10-50 seconds (depending on grind and preferred strength) and then forced through a filter by pressing the plunger through the tube. The filters used are either the AeroPress paper filters or disc shaped thin metal filters. The maker describes the result as an espresso strength concentration of coffee, but its most frequent use is more in the filter brew strength.
According to the instructions, fine-ground coffee is placed in the bottom of the larger cylinder on top of a paper microfilter. Hot water at approximately 170 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit or 75 to 85 degrees Celsius is then poured over the coffee; this mixture is stirred for approximately 10 seconds before being forced through the microfilter by pushing the plunger downwards. In the different coffee competitions world wide (World Barista Championship, Brewers Cup, World AeroPress Championship etc.), the coffee is more often ground slightly finer than 'filter grind', and the dose is between 14 and 20 grams, with about 200 to 230 grams of water at 80 to 92 degrees Celsius and a steeping time of 30 to 60 seconds.
Baristas and coffee drinkers have also developed methods of brewing using an inverted (upside-down) AeroPress.
In inverted brewing, the plunger is placed into the column from the beginning, close to the “top” of the column, and the entire AeroPress is stood up upside-down, resting on the top of the plunger. One or two scoops of ground coffee is added, followed by water, and the entire mixture then stirred. While that brews, a filter is placed into the filter cap and wetted to help it stick in place, and the cap then carefully placed on top of the column and screwed into place. Lastly, once the desired brewing time is complete, the AeroPress is either turned right-side-up and plunged normally, or held at an angle and plunged horizontally.
This method is more similar to the French press, particularly the extended brewing time in which the grounds and water sit together. This makes it useful for using grinds that wouldn't be optimal in the official method, including coarse grinds such as you might use in a French press.
Home drip coffee makers operate similarly across brands. Simply, tap (preferably filtered) water is placed in a reservoir. Ground coffee is placed in a filtered cone or flat-bottomed basket. The coffee maker heats the water to the appropriate temperature, fills the basket of water at the right pace and the coffee drips into a carafe. While there is not much variability in these types of coffee makers, the key to producing good coffee in them is to use the appropriate grind and quantity of coffee for the water used. As a starting point, we recommend 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 6-8 ounce cup, and you can adjust from there.
French Press \ Cafetiere
A French Press also known as a cafetiere is a great way to brew a full-bodied cup. The metal screen filter allows many of the oils to remain. It is important to use a good unit made from high-quality glass. Some people may not like this method because of the sediment that can remain in the final cup but it does produce a rich and wonderful coffee.
Two keys to making good coffee using the French Press method are:
1) remember to preheat the container with hot water prior to making the coffee and
2), cleaning the french press well.
If you pour boiling water into a container that is not preheated, your water temperature can drop as much as 20 degrees and this seriously effects the final cup. Likewise, failure to clean the container well affects the final cup taste with residue from your last brew.
Place the French Press on a stable surface.
Remove the cover/screen and preheat the container with hot water.
In a kettle, bring water to a boil and set aside.
Select your favorite Jamaica Coffee Trading Co Coffee and choose the French Press grind. If you are grinding at home, you are looking for a coarse grind. It should be as consistently coarse as possible and coarser than what you would use for drip.
As a starting guide, use 16-17 grams of coffee (2 tablespoons) for every 8 ounces of water.
If hot water is still warming the container, empty.
With the cover/plunger off, place grounds in the French Press.
At this point the boiled water should have settled to a temperature between 195 and 205 degrees. Pour water slowly but deliberately over the center of the grounds to saturate and bloom. It should look like a dome and bubble.
Gently place the lid on the container being careful not to press down on the coffee at all. Set timer for 90 seconds.
Lift lid and gently stir in a circular motion 3 or 4 times to ensure that all the grounds have been saturated.
Set timer for another 4 minutes and gently place lid on the container. Again, be careful not to press down on the coffee. Total brew time should be between 4 and 6 minutes.
Hold the lid in place and slowly push the plunger down, moving the screen at an even pace and making sure the screen stays level. Any angle will allow grounds to escape the screen. Total time to plunge to the bottom of the container should be about 20-30 seconds. You will meet some resistance as you plunge.
Pour and serve immediately. Do not store brewed coffee in the French Press.
Two important aspects of brewing a delicious cup of coffee is freshness and extraction (pouring water over coffee grounds). You can help control freshness by purchasing coffee as whole beans, roasted to order from Jamaica Coffee Trading Co. Coffee is a food and minimizing exposure to the elements is critical to keeping it fresh. When coffee is ground, more surface area is exposed to the elements, which causes it to lose its freshness that much faster.
The next aspect is proper extraction. While there are many extraction variables such as dose, water temperature, etc., one of the most important is the coffee grind. Uniformity in the coffee particle size ensures that each coffee particle is extracted similarly and properly. Simply, larger particles need a longer contact time with water to get a proper extraction; smaller particles less time. If you have particles that vary greatly in size you have coffee that is both over-extracted (too much contact with water) and under-extracted (too little contact with water). A small effort to get the most uniform grind possible for your preferred brewing method will yield a huge return in the cup.
There are two main types of grinders – blade grinders and conical burr grinders.
Blade grinders are the most common and the least expensive option available. They work by having a flat blade that spins quickly like what you would see in a food processor. The blade spins to chop the beans in the chamber. While blade grinders are convenient and fast, the “chopping” style yields a wider range of large to small particle sizes. In fact, it is likely you will get “dust” each time that not only would be over-extracted but hard to clean. The speed of the blades can also cause heat that robs the coffee of flavor while also generating some static electricity. Try cleaning one out after use and notice how the coffee particles and dust “stick” to the sides of the grinder. However, this option is still better than using stale ground coffee. Some suggestions to get the most out of a blade grinder:
1) Grind smaller quantities in batches.
2) Pulse the grinder, so that the blades do not overheat the coffee and to get a more even grind.
3) Count the total grind time for your preferred brew method and repeat each time for consistency.
Conical Burr Grinders
Conical burr grinders actually grind rather than chop coffee. Two round discs with teeth are set horizontally one above the other and look like a set of gears. Coffee enters these rotating discs and is ground between their teeth. The distance between the two discs determines the grind size. Since this distance is set, the grind size is very consistent. Almost all commercial grinders are of this variety. A decent home conical burr grinder starts at about 5 times the cost of a blade grinder but can quickly prove itself a good investment every morning! If you have more time and want to acquire a feel for the coffee, hand burr grinders are a fun and less expensive way to experiment and learn.
Hario Pour Over
Hario is a Japanese glass maker specializing in beautiful coffee and tea products. Hario pour-over drippers come in ceramic, acrylic and glass. Plastic has the benefit of not cooling down the water but the same result can be achieved by pre-wetting the filter in a ceramic or glass dripper.
Step 1: Place the Hario dripper over your cup or carafe.
Step 2: Fold filter over at the seam and insert into the dripper.
Step 3: Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and set aside. You want the temperature of the water to be between 195 - 205 degrees at brew time.
Step 4: Pour water over the entire filter to pre-wet it.
Step 5: Discard the water.
Step 6: Select your favorite Jamaica Coffee Trading Co coffee and choose the Drip Cone Filter (#6) grind.
Step 7: Place grounds in the filter.
Step 8: In a slow circular motion, pour just enough water to wet all the grounds and establish the bloom. Be careful to not pour water directly onto the filter, keeping about 1/4” to 1/2” from the sides. The Hario dripper has channels designed for this circular motion.
Step 9: Continue to add water in a circular motion until the desired volume is reached.
Variations: Pre-infusion. In the above process, the first wetting of the grounds creates a bloom or pre-infusion state. In this method, we keep the grounds in a “bloom” state throughout the pour. Instead of pouring and stopping, establish a continual slow pour throughout, keeping the water level about a half inch to one inch below the top of the coffeemaker. Experiment with a continual pour through the center of the grounds as well as pouring in a slow circular motion to introduce some agitation, being careful to keep about 1/2” away from the sides of the filter.