If you just received an amazing bag of coffee (or one is arriving soon) and you are worried about how to prepare and store your coffee, then this article is for you!
Just so you know, if you decide to click on and buy any of the products linked below, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. These are all items that I truly believe will help you make better coffee.
First things first… let’s talk about storage. Coffee does not like oxygen. When not being used, keep your coffee sealed tight (preferably in the bag it came in). When coffee is in contact with oxygen for too long, it will lose some of its aromas and will alter the flavor to something less desirable, such as a papery taste. This taste signals that your coffee is not fresh anymore.
Keep that bag out of direct sunlight in a cool, dark place. Make sure to squeeze out all the air when you close it! Coffee should ideally be within two months of the roast date (which should be listed on the package). This is a general rule of thumb, but with proper storage, you may get another month or two!
Only grind your coffee right before you brew! Once you grind the beans, they start losing aroma compounds very quickly. In addition to this, if you grind all of your coffee, oxygen will affect the flavor and freshness faster than the whole beans because there is more surface area exposed.
Do yourself a favor and invest in a grinder if you don’t already have one. This is the easiest way to make your cup of coffee that much better. Plus, grinding your coffee fresh releases that familiar smell we all know and love. What a good way to start the day!
Make sure to buy a burr-style grinder, not a blade-style one. This helps ensure that all of the ground coffee particles will be the same size. Here are some adjustable manual hand grinders that I recommend:
If you don’t want to have a mini arm workout before drinking coffee, an automatic coffee grinder may be a good choice. Just plug it in and turn it on!
The “adjustable” feature of these grinders is also important. Depending on the method you use to brew your coffee, the grind size will differ. For example, the French Press uses coarser grounds, while a pour-over uses finer grounds.
There are a million different ways to prepare your coffee and not a single one is the “right” way. Take your pick and enjoy your coffee however you want to enjoy it!
If you want to consistently make a great cup of coffee, use a scale.
With a scale, you can weigh exactly how much coffee and water you are going to use. I recently purchased a simple scale and it changed my coffee-making game. Now when I make a great cup of coffee, I can replicate the exact ratio of coffee to water to make it again the next day. No more guessing.
I recommend buying a scale and a grinder at a minimum if you can afford them. Here are some options for you for scales.
I recommend using around 7 grams of coffee per 100 grams of water to start. I know people that use 6.2 to 8.5 grams depending on the coffee and palette preference, so start experimenting and see what you like best! That being said, the 7:100 ratio is a pretty good starting point.
Water is very important and must not be overlooked.
A cup of coffee is mostly water. The quality of the water being used to brew is extremely important. If you do not already have filtered tap water at home, look into getting a filter. Please try to stay away from bottled water and find a more sustainable solution, if possible.
In addition, many people are accustomed to using boiling water when brewing. Avoid using boiling water. This can give the coffee a burnt and bitter taste. I recommend using between 93-96° Celsius. If you don’t have a thermometer, simply take the water off boil for 30-60 seconds and then pour it over your freshly ground coffee beans.
There are tons of different brewing methods, so I will simply cover a few here.
For a cleaner profile (read: less mucky), use a filtered pour-over method. For those just starting out with specialty coffee, these cups may feel light or weak to you. If you want something “heavier”, scroll down to the French Press I have linked.
- Hario V60 Size 02 Pour Over Starter Set – $19.75
- Melitta Pour Over Coffee Cone Brewer Combo Set – $10.50
- Chemex Classis Series with Filters – $41.32 and $12.22
The easiest of these to start with would be the Melitta, and it’s also the cheapest – woohoo! With any of these methods, make sure you use hot water to rinse the filter first. This gets rid of the paper taste of the filter so it doesn’t interfere with your coffee.
For the other two methods, I recommend getting this gooseneck kettle to help with the flow rate of water. It’s nice to have but not necessary. I personally don’t have a kettle, but that’s because it won’t fit in my 50-liter backpack when I travel!
Even easier than a pour-over method is the French Press. Simply grind up your coffee, toss it in, add water, wait a few minutes, and push the plunger down!
This seems like a great option: Veken French Press Coffee Maker – $24.99
You may even have something like the extremely common Italian moka pot that you set on top of the stove. That works too! Use whatever method you feel most comfortable with. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to brew. ??
There you have it! A lot of information, but try not to get overwhelmed. The world of coffee is big and only growing. There are a million ways to make coffee, and everyone has their style. Start with something, experiment with it, see if you like it, then go from there!
Remember to store your coffee well and only grind before you brew. That’s the most important thing… well that and some good water. ?
If you want to read more about these things, I recommend two books. They really opened my eyes up to the coffee world and got me to where I am now, roasting and shipping coffee worldwide!
The second book, in particular, will help you identify variables to change to improve your cup, such as extraction time or grind size.
Send me a picture of your coffee-making setup by messaging me here – I’d love to see how you brew!
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