There are many ways to brew great coffee. As we recall from previous lessons, espresso is just one method of brewing coffee. Each extraction process has its virtues and, if executed properly, can produce excellent coffee. In this lesson we will discuss batch brewing, pour over, and french press.
The basic difference in preparation for these methods is the equipment used. The bulk coffee grinder is an example of an equipment difference that defines other brewing methods. Unlike an espresso grinder, a bulk grinder does not feature a storage hopper. The bulk grinder is always empty, and coffee is portioned and ground fresh before brewing. A barista turns on the bulk grinder, loads a dose, grinds, and turns off the grinder. The bulk grinder uses a relatively wide adjustment, meaning that the space in between clicks on the adjuster and the difference in grind particle size is quite large. The bulk grinder features settings from very coarse to very fine.
Another big difference between these brewing methods and espresso is hot water delivery. Batch brew, pour over, and french press do not use hot pressurized water to extract coffee.
The five key variables for coffee brewing:
- Coffee dosage amount
- Water volume
- Grind size
- Extraction time (time coffee is in contact with water)
- Water temperature
There are many factors involved in properly brewed coffee, but we will explain the five most fundamental basics.
Understanding the influence of these factors in the brewing process will help you to master your craft and consistently serve excellent coffee.
coffee to water ratio
The coffee to water ratio is extremely important. Our industry standard gives us a 1:16-1:18 ratio. A more accessible way to express that might be 60 grams of coffee per 1 liter of water (60g:1L). This coffee to water ratio turns out to be about 1 part coffee to 17 parts water (1:17), right in the middle of the range. Similar to our espresso parameters, this ratio can serve as a guideline. What’s most important is to adjust to taste.
Another important point is that methods of brewing filter coffee will require dialing in the grind.
Grind particle size and extraction time are two crucial variables, and are related to proper extraction. The longer the coffee is brewing, the coarser the grind size should be. For example, we use the coarsest grind setting and a longer brew time (4-6 minutes) when we make coffee in the french press. When we make espresso we use a very fine grind setting and a much shorter brew time (~30 seconds).
Coffee water brewing temperature should be between 195 and 205 degrees fahrenheit, also defined by specialty coffee industry standards.
Pour over is a generic term for coffee brewed by manually pouring hot water on top of the grounds (we will be using a Chemex in our example). We are essentially pouring water over the coffee grounds. One of the benefits of a pour over method is that you are brewing one cup at a time with freshly ground coffee. The barista also has full control of the brewing process.
Here is the typical step by step process for brewing a Chemex:
• Rinse the paper filter with hot water, then pour hot water into the sink. This step can help prevent a paper taste in the coffee, and will help preheat the Chemex.
• Weigh out your desired dose (amount of coffee)
• Grind coffee and dump the dose into the filter. Tare out the scale to zero. This will allow you to weigh your water input.
• Begin pouring a small amount of hot water onto the coffee grounds and stop once saturated. This is called the “bloom”.
• After roughly 30 seconds, you will continue to pour hot water onto the coffee grounds, keeping the coffee evenly saturated.
• Once you reach your desired water to coffee ratio (coffee weight in grams to water weight in grams), you will stop pouring and let the water drip through the coffee until the extraction is complete.
• Remove the paper filter.
• Pour into desired drinking vessel and enjoy.
Lesson 3: French Press
• Weigh out and grind your coffee at a coarse setting. Dump the coffee into the french press.
• Start your timer.
• Fill the french press with hot water leaving an inch of room from the top.
• Make sure the coffee grounds are evenly saturated, leaving no dry grounds.
• After 1 minute, sink the crust with a stir spoon and put the lid/plunger on.
• After waiting the remainder of the 4-6 minutes plunge carefully and slowly.
• Immediately pour coffee into desired drinking vessel or carafe if not drinking immediately.
* Do NOT leave coffee in the french press as it will continue to extract the grounds.
Clean Your Equipment
“Painstaking care should be given to the preservation of the coffee-makers in a state of cleanliness, as upon this depends the value of the brew.” – Ukers 1939
Each time the coffee pot is used it should be rinsed thoroughly. Once a day, it should be disassembled and cleaned/soaked with a dedicated coffee pot cleaning product. The process should only take 5-10 minutes. All of your equipment and serving vessels must be clean and in pristine condition to ensure consistent, delicious coffee.