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How to Extract that Perfect Cup.

Beside the quality of the coffee, the two most important variables in brewing great coffee are the quality and temperature of your water. Have your water tested for purity and filtered if needed. Also, start with cold water and heat it to between 195F - 205F (slightly less than boiling) to extract the perfect coffee.

The grind of your coffee also affects its flavor. Coffee should be ground based on the brewing method. Larger grinds require a longer steeping time. Conversely, fine grinds, such as espresso, need only a short time in contact with water.

Lastly, cleanliness can affect the quality of your brewed coffee. Coffee contains oils (that is what gives some roasts a shine). Those oils, if left in a brewing device, can impart a dirty, bitter taste to subsequent brews. It is important that all your machinery is kept clean and free of residue and oils. Always use proper cleaning products for coffee equipment. Detergents should never be used.

Proper Brewing Methods.

Essentially there are three types of brewing methods we will concern ourselves with: espresso, drip, and French press brewing.

Espresso coffee is prepared using 7-9 grams of coffee ground to express 1.25oz. of extracted liquid at 192-198 degrees, using 10 atmospheres of pressure in 18-25 seconds. While brewing the resulting liquid should resemble warm honey and exhibit a dark golden cream-foam (crema).

Drip coffee is the most common method of brewing in the United States. With this method, 64oz. of water at 195-205 degrees is poured through 3oz.of coffee ground to drip specification, allowing a brew time of 4 minutes.

French press, or plunger, brewing is most often preferred by professional tasters because it allows you to control the temperature of the water. With this method, coarsely-ground coffee, measured at a ratio of one tablespoon per cup of water, is poured into water at a temperature of 210 degrees, left to steep for 2-3 minutes and then a wire-mesh plunger separates the liquid from the grounds.

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