5 Easy Steps to Better Coffee By Seth Lang: One of the owners @ Pacific Coffee Roasters
Hi friends, I just wanted to get this information out to all of our customers and basically anyone who is interested in improving their coffee experience. These tips are especially important when it comes to drinking black drip brew coffee as most of us do in the morning before we start our day.
Tip Number 1: Grinder
If you are buying pre ground coffee STOP! If you are still using one of those spinning blade "spice grinders" there you do a little dance, say a prayer, count to 30 and shake shake shake STOP!!! These grinders are not meant for coffee, when you use them you have no control over you grind size and you are guaranteed to get micron sized coffee coming through the filter which give you bitter flavours and a astringent cup.
To solve this issue you need to get a burr grinder with adjustable grind size. Uniformity is everything so the burrs are extremely important. I have looked at many grinders, Stay away from Kitchen Aid there burrs suck. Budget: Bodum seems to make a decent low end burr grinder, burrs are sharp. Recommended: I use the Baratza Encore at home and when I do demos. It's a bit pricy ($199 Amazon) but with replaceable parts, it's the last grinder I will probably ever buy. It does a great job of consistency and super simple to use. I have a much more fancy Baratza too which cost in the $700 dollar range for geeking out with espresso but the encore does well enough considering the price difference.
Tip Number 2: Grind Size
I like a rich body to any coffee that I drink and getting that consistently is pretty easy once you know how. Its all about grind size. Larger grinds, using a bit more coffee, will give you an improved body and mouthfeel to any cup as well as eliminate any bitter flavours in the cup. I usually go with a 6 to 7 on a scale of 10 for any coffee. But hey if you like intense coffee that slaps you in the face, as well as saves you a bit of $$ then id say crank the grinder down to a 4 or so!
Tip Number 3: Finding Your Roast
I once thought the bolder the better! That was before I truly began to understand coffee and how distinct the flavours can be when tasting coffee from different origins. There is a simple reason that a company like Kicking Horse (owned by Lavazza from Italy) is rumored to use exclusively Peruvian Organic coffee. It's because Peru is the cheapest origin for Organics, as the farmers cant afford the fertilizers or pesticides. If you take a Mexican, a Peruvian, and a Colombian coffee and you very dark roast it, the overarching flavour to the three coffees will be the same. What you get is the flavour of carbonized coffee cells or burnt coffee. It's super easy to do, and many people have come to like the flavour. Old coffee is also often very dark roasted.
On the other hand you may have gone to one of those specialty coffee shops where the coffee is very lightly roasted, the experience was good... but a bit to tangy or I can say "green or raw". Some coffee is amazing like this, I have roasted a few Ethiopians and Kenyans that have blown me away with flavours of strawberry, blueberry, and Orange Blossoms. However the coffees that bring these exceptional flavours are extremely rare and valuable.
For the coffees that I roast I like sweetness, body, rich mouthfeel, and a balanced profile where raw coffee and carbonization flavours are both in check. Each origin of coffee brings special flavours found nowhere else, we want to keep those in tour cup. Keeping the flavour attributes and making the coffee as delicious as possible is the specific reason that we roast coffees to where we do at Pacific Coffee Roasters. You will see medium dark on most of our labels, but we actually have to adjust our roasting every time we get a new shipment of green coffee into the roasting cycle.
Taste is subjective and what you like is personal to you. We make a coffee for the Dark Roast people as well as the Light Roast ones. If you haven't tried our medium dark, I strongly suggest you do. I love it.
Tip Number 4: WATER TEMP
Here is the magic number 203°F or 95°C. Measure the temperature of the water coming out of your brewer. Let it do a brew with no filter or coffee and see where your temperature lays. To hot? over extraction bad flavours can come through or highlight defects in your coffee. Not hot enough? Under extraction your coffee will be weak, thinner, lacking flavour. There are sure ways around this. The first is to use a pour over such as a Chemex system with a digital goose neck kettle such as the Bonavita. There are coffee makers that will pre heat water to the correct temperature before brewing such as the BEHMOR brewers, I believe that Cuisinart also makes one.
Tip Number 5: The Coffee You Choose
Choosing the right coffee is an exercise in exploration. You may find that there are a few varieties that you like in the morning, others for after dinner, maybe different roast levels? The expectations are your own and are personal to you. On our side, any coffee roaster must be responsible to their customers to provide the best product they can. Always check your best before dates, coffee is prime up to 3 months after it was roasted when properly packaged. It's solid up to a year but not prime.
The coffee must be what is says on the bag! This doesn't happen all of the time, some roasters will use a blend of a cheaper coffee as a base and add a bit if any of the coffee that the bag says it is. Why is this Blue Mountain so cheap! My coffees are 100% what they say they are, no cheap cousins like Tanzania to Kenya or Honduras to Guatemala. Our blends are never economic decisions they are purposefully matched with mostly Sumatran and Ethiopian coffees as the lead. This is quality coffee.
Packaging is important, does your bag have a degassing valve? This allows the coffee to expel CO2 and remove the oxygen from the bag so your coffees oils do not go rancid. Coffee will remain stable if it isn't exposed to oxygen
PSA: Read below and look for this coffee next time you are at the super market!
One of the most popular organic coffees in BC (Weird story about the history of Cocoa on a coffee bag) is saving themselves .40 cents per bag by poking a hole in the side of each bag with a pin. You open the bag and wow oil everywhere and the coffee oil is rancid. It should have a shelf life of about 2 weeks! If they would go so far as to do that to save a few $$ imagine the quality of their green coffee going in. Pour a bit out and you will see what worm damage look like.
I could go on and on and on but I will save that for another BLOG episode... Maybe a whos who in the coffee biz?