Below are the basics steps to brewing a great cup of coffee at home
Find a local source for fresh roasted coffee (unground)
Make sure you have good water at the right temperature for brewing
Store your beans correctly
Use a conical burr grinder and grind your beans within 20 minutes of brewing
Practice your brew method of choice recording what you like or don't like.
Now we will go into more detail on each of these steps.
1) Find a local source for fresh roasted coffee (unground).
An important factor to coffee flavor is how recently it has been roasted. Coffee is at its peak flavor for a month after roasting if it is being stored in an air tight container. We always roast and deliver our coffee within 48 hours of roasting. Most coffee roasters will display a roast date on their coffee if it is being sold in a store. You will want to make sure the coffee is unground, because coffee will only retain its peak flavor and aroma for twenty minutes after you grind it. More on grinding your coffee in step 4.
2) Make sure you have good water at the right temperature for brewing.
This is a relatively easy one. There are expensive tools to check the mineral content in your water, but a good rule of thumb is if your water tastes good to you it will taste good in your coffee. Also when you are brewing your coffee you will want a let it sit for about 30 seconds after it boils so it is at the optimal temperature of 202 degrees.
3) Store your beans correctly
Air is the enemy of flavor. Think of coffee like a bag of potato chips. If you open the bag and let it sit for a day air will get to the potato chips and stale the chips. The same is for coffee. Make sure you are storing your coffee in a container that keeps air out. The foil lined zip lock bags that we sell our coffee in are great or you can buy a coffee storage canister such as the Airscape Coffee Canister that is highlighted in our Coffee Gear Guide. You will also want to store your coffee beans in a cool place that is not in direct sunlight. Finally, please don't store your coffee in the freezer or fridge. The freezing will damage the flavor in the beans.
4) Use a conical burr grinder and grind your beans within 20 minutes of brewing
Coffee begins to lose it peak flavor and aroma 20 minutes after it has been ground. This is one of the hardest steps for most people because they are used to using preground coffee, they don't have a grinder, or if they do they have a blade grinder. A conical burr grinder is important if you want to be able to consistently produce a great cup of coffee. Different brew methods require coffee to be ground to different particles sizes for optimal extraction during the brew process. For example a french press or cold brew method will work best with a course grind where as an electric coffee maker will work best with a smaller grind size. While a conical burr grinder is designed to produces a uniform particle size a blade grinder inconsistently smashes the beans to reduce their size. With a blade grinder some of the beans will be pulverized where as others will be left as bigger chucks. Different particle size will significantly effect the amount flavor that is extracted from your ground coffee during the brewing process. A benefit of conical burr grinders is they imparts very little heat on the beans during grinding the grinding process which can have a negative effect on flavor. We provide recommendations on a few different conical burr grinders in our home brewing gear guide.
5) Practice your brew method of choice and keep a record of the type of coffee, brew method, grind size when you find a coffee your really like
Now that you know how to control the variables such as quality beans, water temperature, and grind size you can try different types of coffees from different regions of the world at different roast settings and learn what are your favorites. We will soon be posting recommended best practices for our favorite brew methods (Pour Over, Chemex, French Press, Aeropress, etc) so make sure to check back soon in the mean time we hope these were helpful and check out the link to our gear guide below that highlights Malone Specialty Coffee recommended brewing gear.