Making your home a Coffee-house: An Introduction to Home Brewing

By Brittany Leslie – barista trainer and wholesale account manager for Kean Coffee

Staying at home does not mean that you must give up your morning ritual of drinking fresh specialty coffee. This article will help home baristas and coffee newcomers alike. We will go over the procedures and brewing techniques for a home brewer, Hario v60, Chemex, and French Press. There are many aspects and variables involved with brewing coffee. Whether brewing at home or in the coffeehouse these are the same and the key is understanding them and controlling them consistently. By sharing our knowledge with you, you will have all the tools you need to help you make the same great coffee at home that we make in our coffeehouses.

First, let us understand the important variables in brewing great coffee, regardless of brewing method.

Use only fresh roasted coffee. A coffee’s shelf life begins when it is roasted— for best flavor, only buy as much as you will consume in two weeks. If possible, grind the coffee as close to brewing as possible to ensure maximum taste. Pre-ground coffee oxidizes rapidly, losing flavor aromatics and leaving a flat taste in your brew.

Be sure you have the right grind. Each brewing method tends to have its own optimal grind size requirement. A grind that is too fine will make your coffee taste harsh, bitter, and strong (we call this over-extracted). A grind that is too coarse will make the coffee taste thin and metallic (under extracted). We will discuss the grind size for each brew method below. We recommend using a fine quality burr grinder and we can always grind your coffee for you when you purchase it.

Use the ideal coffee to water ratio. The Golden Cup Ratio is 1 oz of coffee to 15-18 oz of water. If you use too little coffee and too much water, you can expect your coffee to be weak, bitter, and dull tasting. If you use too much coffee with too little water, expect to be hit with an overpowering, sour cup of coffee. For those with a home brewer and no scale, an appropriate amount would be approximately 2 rounded tablespoons of coffee grounds per 1 cup (8 oz) of water. Using more coffee will make the brew stronger. Using less will make the brew too weak and thin. Use our recommendation to start, and from there you can determine your brew strength and alter it as you please.

Clean water. Your best option is Reverse Osmosis water, followed by bottled and filtered water. Tap water contains impurities that negatively affect the flavor of the coffee. Any chlorine present will chemically react with the coffee, causing bitterness. For those who know their TDS, we are looking for a range of 125-150 ppm.

Use the right temperature. Most coffee makers should already be programmed within this range, so this applies mostly to those manually brewing coffee or those who can program their brewer. Ideal temperature is 200 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a degree. Less than 190-degree water will yield a weak coffee and more than 205 degrees will scorch the delicate aromatics of the coffee, causing harshness and bitterness.

Clean equipment. Keep your equipment clean. No soap, no oils, no leftover coffee or grounds. Every time you brew coffee, it leaves organic residue behind that can then turn rancid and ruin your next batch. Clean equipment is essential.

Now that we know the important variables, let’s choose your brewing method and get started!

  • Home Coffee Brewer
  • Hario V60 Pour over
  • Chemex Pour over
  • French Press
  • Aeropress

 

HOME COFFEE BREWER

Examples: Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach. You will need to have a paper or metal filter.

  • Remember our ratio! 2 tablespoons of fresh ground coffee per cup of water (8oz). If you are wanting to make 32oz of coffee for family or friends, you will be using 8 tablespoons of grounds.
  • Let us grind our coffee, if it is not already ground. Medium grind:

Paper Filter (most brewers)- 500 microns, like the consistency of regular sand

Metal Filter- 650 microns for cone, 700 microns for flat bottom, slightly coarser than paper filter

  • Next, rinse your filter. Place the filter in the basket and pour some hot water over it before placing the grounds in the filter. This removes the paper taste. Discard the rinse water.
  • Pour the clean, filtered water into your brewer and put the appropriate amount of grounds in the filter bed, evenly distributed and not compacted.
  • Press your brew button and wait until the entire brew cycle is complete. Enjoy your cup of coffee! Remember, if your coffee is sitting on a warmer, it will lose its aromatics and complexity over time. If you find your coffee isn’t strong enough, feel free to add a little more coffee to your filter or use less water. If it is too strong for your liking, use a bit more water or less coffee. Use the variables you learned earlier to create that perfect cup!

HARIO V-60 POUR OVER METHOD

you will need a Hario Pour Over kit (including Hario filters) for this method, as well as a scale, timer, grinder, and kettle. This method is great for a complex, single-serving cup of coffee.

25 grams of coffee to 400 grams of water. 2.5 – 3.5 min brew time

  • If you are using a kettle, heat your water to 202 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can’t program your kettle, please try to use a thermometer or wait a couple of minutes for your water to cool down after it begins boiling at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Weigh out 25 grams of whole bean coffee on a scale.
  • Place your Hario drip station on top of the scale, and place Hario dripper on top of drip station. The Hario range server will go on top of the metal drip tray, below the ceramic dripper. If you only have a Hario dripper, you can place that on top of a large enough vessel & place that on top of your scale. It is preferred you have a protective barrier between the scale and vessel in case of spills.
  • Fold the seam of the Hario paper filter to one side and place into the dripper. Filter should rest comfortably inside the dripper.
  • Using heated water from the kettle, wet the paper filter in the dripper while dripper is sitting above range server. This rinses the filter of paper taste and preheats the brewing vessel to maintain temperature stability.
  • Empty the hot water from ranger server/your coffee vessel and place server back on top of metal drip tray/scale.
  • Grind 25g of coffee, slightly finer than regular sand, but not as fine as an espresso grind where it clumps together. 450 microns to be exact! Single-serving pour overs will always be a slightly finer than paper drip grind setting.
  • Place freshly ground coffee into dripper with filter.
  • Pick up dripper, gently shake side to side to level the grounds, and set dripper back on top of drip station.
  • Tare your scale to zero with drip station, range server, dripper and coffee all on top of it.
  • Using 202°F water, gently but thoroughly pre-wet grounds with 50g of water and start the timer. Begin to pour water by picking a point halfway between the center of the ground coffee and the rim of your dripper. Use that as a reference for pouring your stream of water in a circular manner. This will initiate the “bloom” process.
  • Allow 30 seconds for the coffee to bloom.
  • Using a circular pulse pour motion at that same halfway point from before, slowly pour water over the coffee until the filter is filled about halfway.  Take care to avoid pouring water too close to the edge, as this will cause water to go right through the filter, negatively affecting extraction.
  • As coffee drips through filter and water level returns close to the grounds, keep repeating step #13 until scale reads 400 grams.
  • Once you’ve reached 400 grams, wait about 30 seconds for coffee to stop dripping.
  • The entire water pouring process should take no less than 2.5 minutes and no more than 3 minutes including the 30 seconds for the pre-wetting of the grounds.

Your coffee is ready to be served. Enjoy!

Chemex Pour over Method– you will need a Chemex Brewer and square filters, as well as a scale, timer, grinder, and kettle. This method is great for a clean-tasting cup and more suitable for multiple servings.

1:16 coffee to water ratio, 3-4 min brew time

  • Fill kettle with filtered water and begin to heat to 202°F.
  • Use the 1/16 ratio to determine how many beans to weigh. Example: 25grams of coffee for 400 grams of water or 45 grams of coffee for 720 grams of water depending on your Chemex volume and desired amount of servings.
  • If using a Chemex filter, making sure the 3-layered side is facing the spout. This will allow air to escape during the brew process.
  • Pour plenty of hot water through the filter to wash out any paper taste there might be.
  • Once thoroughly saturated, tip the Chemex over a sink to dispose of the rinse water. Do not remove the filter to empty the water out; it can be very difficult to secure back into place once removed.
  • Place your Chemex complete with rinsed filter on the scale.
  • Your grind size is going to be 500 microns, like the consistency of sand and the same grind size you would use for a home brewer’s paper filter. Grind your pre-weighed coffee and add it to the filter.
  • Set scale to zero after placing Chemex with wet filter and coffee on it.
  • Using 202°F water, gently but thoroughly pre-wet grounds with roughly 100g of water and start a timer. This will initiate the “bloom” process.
  • Allow 30 seconds for the coffee to bloom.
  • Begin to pour water by picking a point halfway between the center of the ground coffee and the rim. Use that as a reference for pouring your stream of water in a circular manner. Keep a close eye on the scale and add around 100g of water on each pour in 10-20 second intervals up to the total amount of water for your selected ratio. If the pour gets too high, pause for a moment to let the level fall a few centimeters, and then proceed with a slow pour. Do not fill up to the rim of the Chemex. Keep the slurry level at least 5cm from the rim for larger servings to keep the filter from collapsing.
  • Once the drips stall to every couple of seconds, your brew is finished. If your grind was correct, and you poured at the right speed, this should have taken approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove the filter and discard.

Your coffee is ready to be served. Enjoy!

French Press– an easy way to make a full-bodied cup of coffee. This method brews single or multiple servings depending on size of your French Press. All you need is your French Press, timer, coffee, grinder, and hot water. Freshness and timing are key factors.

1:12 coffee to water ratio, 4 min brew time

  • If you are using a kettle, let’s get our filtered water heated to 202 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can’t program your kettle, please try to use a thermometer or wait a couple minutes for your water to cool down after it begins boiling at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • For each 12oz of water you are heating, you will need 1 oz of ground coffee. For French Press, we are going to grind it much coarser than the earlier methods- 900 microns! The proper grind should look similar to coarse sea salt.
  • Pour the premeasured coffee grounds into the French Press.
  • Set your timer for 4 minutes.
  • Pour premeasured 202-degree water on top of the grounds and start the timer immediately.
  • Stir the grounds gently to release the gas trapped by the coffee grounds.
  • Place the French press top and screen on top of the French press to conserve heat- do not press down yet!
  • Wait until the timer goes off and then press slowly. If the top is too hard to press down, that means your grind is too fine. If it flies to the bottom of the French Press, it means it is too coarse!
  • Pour the coffee into your mug or serving container immediately. If you let the coffee sit, it will continue to brew and become bitter and over-extracted.

Your coffee is ready to be served. Enjoy!

Aeropress Brew Method– innovative way of making a clean, bright cup of coffee. Single serving and very quick brew time!  Requires coffee, grinder, scale, hot water, Aeropress and Aeropress filters.

33 grams of coffee, 113 grams (4 oz) of water, 1 min brew time

There are many ways to brew with an Aeropress! The one below is recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association, but feel free to try out some award-winning recipes (yes, there is a competition dedicated to making the perfect cup of coffee using an Aeropress).

  • If you are using a kettle, let’s get our filtered water heated to 202 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can’t program your kettle, please try to use a thermometer or wait a couple minutes for your water to cool down after it begins boiling at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place filter in Aeropress and preheat Aeropress by pouring hot water through it.
  • Add coffee to bottom chamber of Aeropress and place on scale; tare scale to zero with your drinking cup/mug underneath the Aeropress.
  • Start the timer and add 113 grams (4oz) of your now hot, filtered water.
  • When all the water has been added, stir the coffee and water mixture.
  • Once the timer reaches one minute, stir the coffee and water mixture again, add the top chamber, and press hard into your cup! Not too hard though, overexcitement leads to a broken coffee mug.
  • This should produce a concentrated drink that can be enjoyed by itself or diluted with equal parts water or more to create a desired coffee strength. This is similar to diluting espresso with hot water to make an Americano.

Your coffee is ready. Enjoy!

You now have five brew methods to try at home.

As we discussed earlier, please be sure you have the proper tools and pay attention to all the variables that go into making your cup of coffee perfect. You may find you like one brew method over another: there is no superior brewing tool, only your personal preference. The roast, profile, freshness, and origin of your coffee may play a role in which brewing method prefer as well. For example, I love to experience a full-bodied, earthy Sumatran coffee as a French Press but enjoy the delicate aromas & flavor notes of a washed Ethiopian coffee with a Hario V60 pour-over. Fortunately, at Kean Coffee, we have many different coffee offerings available in our coffeehouse and on our website, as well as tools to help you succeed with your home-brewing. If we did not touch on a specific brew method or you have further questions, please feel free to talk to our baristas or contact our team at orders@keancoffee.com. We would love to help you out.

You can brew it!

 

 

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