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Coffee Brewing Guide

OUR FULL BREWING GUIDE WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD SOON. 

In the meantime here are the essentials:

STORING YOUR COFFEE

We recommend keeping your coffee in its original re-sealable bag or transfer to an airtight container. Store it in a cool, dry place. Exposure to the atmosphere will rob coffee of the oils that provide its aromas and flavours. 

Coffee doesn't really 'go off' like other foods but once roasted the flavour and aroma will deteriorate over time. Consume it as soon as possible but definitely within 6 months of the date roasted. Once you've opened the bag try and use it within a month. 

Freezing coffee can help preserve some of its oils. But taking it in and out of a freezer results in fluctuating temperatures that leave moisture in the packet. This will de-nature the coffee and spoil the taste. Putting coffee in the fridge can also result in moisture forming inside the container.

If you bulk-buy coffee it’s fine to freeze some of it. Squeeze the air out of the bag and leave it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Then store on the shelf as usual.

 

MEASURING YOUR COFFEE

 Weigh. Your. Coffee.

You might think this is a step too far, but would you bake a cake without measuring the ingredients first?!

Forget spoons or scoops, these aren’t the most helpful as different coffees have different volumes. A scoop of one coffee might be heavier than a scoop of another and contain more coffee.

A set of digital kitchen scales (which you can pick up for about £15) will make a huge difference. Try weighing your coffee and your water for consistent results. 

For any kind of filter coffee we recommend starting with a brewing ratio of 60-70g of coffee per 1000g of water. Adjust this up if you want something stronger - going up to 100g per litre. Cannonball Coffee tastes great with higher ratios of coffee.


GRINDING YOUR BEANS

Once coffee has been ground it will start to lose some of its aroma. If you are serious about coffee an electric burr grinder is a good investment - they start at around £70.

A burr grinder produces a nice consistent grind size. Blade grinders create uneven grinds which will affect the end result and are best avoided.  

The coarseness a coffee is ground to will make a big difference to how it tastes. Personal preference and trial and error has a big part to play when it comes to how fine to grind. However, there are some general principles:

Where water touches coffee for a short amount of time use a fine grind, and when coffee is immersed in water go coarse.

Espresso or a stove top coffee maker has a ‘short contact time’. Using a fine grind creates a greater surface area and maximises 'extraction' - the process of extracting the good stuff from the ground coffee. If the grind is too coarse you'll get a watery drink with a sour taste.

When using a cafetiere or other techniques which involve immersing the coffee in water, a fine grind will result in too much flavour being extracted. This will produce a drink bitter. A coarse grind allows extraction to gently take place over a few minutes. 

If you’re not ready to grind your own beans Cannonball Coffee offers 3 different grind settings – fine, medium and coarse. This will help achieve good results with most coffee makers.

 

‘EXTRACTION’ 

Extraction is the process of extracting flavour from the ground coffee beans. It is what happens when coffee is brewed.

To brew coffee we have to achieve the following things:

  • Expose ground coffee to hot water for long enough time to extract desired flavours, but not bitterness.
  • Extract the desired amount of dissolvable solids from the coffee.
  • Control the water temperature. 93°C is seen as ideal. Too cold and we don’t extract enough flavour, too hot and we get the stuff we don’t want.
  • Remove or filter the grounds from the finished coffee.

Getting good at brewing coffee takes a bit of practice and experimentation. The type of coffee maker and variables like temperature, grind and time make a huge difference. 

 

graph showing the difference between over extracted and under-extracted coffee

 

If your coffee tastes sour try a finer grind or brewing longer. Too bitter try brewing for less time or a coarser grind. It is accepted that an average coffee brewed well tastes better than a great coffee brewed badly. 



BREWING GUIDES

Click the icon below for more information on your chosen method

AeroPress
AeroPress coffee maker


Cafetiere
cafetiere full of fresh coffee



Pour Over
v60 coffee brewing


Stove Top (Moka Pot)
italian stove top coffee maker

 

Cold Brew Coffee
hario cold brew coffee maker

 

Filter Coffee

filter coffee machine

Filter machines are a mainstay of offices and communal areas because they can be left unattended and keep coffee warm.

Water heated by the machine is passed through coffee in a paper. We recommend a medium grind as the water can sit on the coffee resulting in over-extraction if it is too fine. 

A top tip is to regularly clean using a specialist cleaning powder for coffee machines. This will remove build-up of oils from the coffee and limescale from the water which can both spoil the taste. Using filtered water will always make a massive difference, especially if you live in a hard water area.

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