4 tips for a world class cup of coffee at home.
To celebrate the launch of the new McCoys online shop where you can by fresh coffee, we thought we’d give you the inside tips from one of the best baristas in the world to make sure you get the best cup of coffee you can with our beans.
Coffee is more labor-intensive than wine to produce and has three times the “complexity” — the volume of taste compounds. As it turns out, you can make coffee better than almost anyone in your city by following a few rules.
1. Buy good coffee beans, ideally freshly roasted.
The 2008 World Barista Championship winner (yes that’s a thing) Stephen Morrissey has said “I’m supposed to be one of the best in the world at this s***, but if you give me bad beans, there’s nothing I can do to make it taste good.”
For a cost-practical guideline, aim to consume beans within a month of roast date. Buy in small quantities, as you might buy expensive vegetables or bread. Luckily enough you can order from an amazing selection of hand roasted coffee beans right here.
2. Grind beans in single portions.
Stephen insists that “stale-ish coffee off a good grinder is better than fresh beans (within two weeks of the roast date) off a rubbish grinder.”
Brewing coffee beans is like cooking garlic. If you use bigger chunks of garlic, the taste is mild; if you put garlic through a press or finely dice it, the taste can be overwhelmingly powerful, even bitter. This is why chefs harp about cutting into uniform size. Coffee’s no different.
“Extraction” is the dissolving of bean solids into water. If the grind is inconsistent, the brew will exhibit both sour underextraction (from the large particles) and bitter overextraction (from the smaller particles) at the same time. The solution is using a burr grinder, not a blade grinder. Depending on your budget and time, you can:
A) Take your beans to a good coffee shop, which can use its commercial burr grinder to grind for you.
B) Use a £20-£60 hand-powered burr grinder
C) Use an electrical burr grinder
The biggest quantum leap for me, regardless of grinding method, was grinding a single-serve portion of beans just before making each cup. This ensures that the oils and flavors end up in your drink and not in the air (oxidized). Again, not unlike garlic, freshly chopped is best.
3. Weigh your coffee and water in grams.
Measuring water by weight (grams) is more reliable than measuring by volume (ounces), since the density of water changes when heated.
My default recommendation for damn good coffee is 2g per 30 ml/g, commonly translated to 2g of coffee for every 28 g (1 oz) of water.
4. Use the right equipment
AeroPress: This is now, bar none, my favorite brewing method.
Remember the Aerobie, the amazing UFO-like disc that you could throw farther than a football field, 20 times farther than a standard Frisbee? Alan Adler, a mechanical engineer and Stanford University lecturer, created it. After conquering the 1980s toy market, he began to obsess over coffee.
The result was the AeroPress, which debuted in 2006. Quickly adopted by the specialty coffee community, it offers a simple way to prepare a small amount of good coffee.
Armed with an AeroPress and a tiny manual hand grinder like the Hario MSS-1B Mini Mill, 28 you can make world-class coffee on an airplane meal tray! No mess and no fuss.
In Stephen’s words: “The AeroPress has the thinnest paper filter I know of, and it’s an awesome one-cup brewer. People [baris- tas] often use it on flights. They just held the World AeroPress Championship (WAC) in Portland, Oregon. [As cons], it isn’t as sexy as the Cafe Solo and has a limited brew volume. Overall, though, the flexibility and mobility of the AeroPress makes it a win.”
The paper filter removes many of the brew solids, decreasing perceived bitterness and yielding a clean, light mouthfeel. If you prefer the slightly heavier body and mouthfeel of a French press, no problem. Try the Able Brewing metal filter, which supposedly allows oils to flow through.
To cut the science down, you can really get it down to using really fresh, well roasted beans, using a burr grinder to get the right taste, although we can also supply you with pre-ground coffee although we reccomend that you grind per portion for a really amazing taste. Get the ratio of your coffee to water right (2g of coffee for every 28 g (1 oz) of water) and using either a french press (be careful of the timing with this, roughly 3-4 minutes) or if you really wanted perfect coffee everytime, an aeropress. A bonus tip would be to get your water temperature right. It should be between 195 F (91 C) and 205 F (96 C). The closer to 205 F (96 C) the better. Boiling water (212 F – 100 C) should never be used, as it will burn the coffee.
There you have it! You now know how to make a perfect cup of coffee, but some of the fun with it is really experimenting to get the taste that you really enjoy. If you liked this post or have any great tips for great tasting coffee leave a comment down below!