When your coffee arrives it will be in a sealed poly bag fitted with a one-way exhaust valve. This allows the beans to out gas its CO2 without causing the bag to explode from the gas pressure. This is normal for fresh roasted coffee beans. You can leave your beans in this resealable bag or if you prefer you may remove the beans from this bag and store them in a clean airtight container. I use glass mason type jars.
Keep them in a cool dark area, but do not place in the refrigerator. You will need to open the jar(s) daily to allow the gas to escape. Each day there will be less gas produced. All coffee will go stale no matter how well it is protected, this is due to oxidation and unless a coffee is placed in an airtight environment immediately after roasting, and then frozen to stop the out gassing, it is going to stale. My fresh roasted coffee should be consumed within 10 to 15 days in order to experience maximum freshness.
If you think you will not be able to use all your coffee in this time frame, I would divide it up into weekly rations and put it in the freezer and keep out only what you will use in a week. Thaw your coffee only once and do not refreeze it.
Choosing Your Coffee Grinder
Next to fresh beans, the grinder is the most important aspect in producing a great tasting brew. You will need to get the best grinder you can afford. The “whirly blade” type grinder is the most economical grinder available. Whirly blade type grinders do not grind they fracture the bean into pieces by spinning at very high speeds, much like a food processor operates, with an uneven grind ranging from powder to large pieces. The powder will clog the filter and the larger pieces don’t release enough of the flavor oils into the brew, however, they are inexpensive and work well for drip type brewing. A burr type grinder is going to give you the best results for all brewing methods and is absolutely essential for producing espresso. These grinders are more expensive but, in my opinion, worth it if you want to experience great tasting coffee.
Using the finest grind possible without clogging the paper filter:
The reason for this is to maximize the surface area of the coffee exposed to the water so more of the dissolved solids and emulsified flavor oils can enter the brew. Finely ground coffee will produce more flavors from the coffee. (If the brewing time seems too long or the water becomes trapped in the filter, it’s because the paper filter has clogged up and you have ground your coffee too fine.)
Burr type grinders
As mentioned above, burr grinders will yield the best grind results producing a very even grind. The mills steel burrs slice the bean instead of fracturing it. There are many different brands. An ideal burr grinder I have used is the hand cranked German Zassenhaus brand grinder. However, if you are not into manual labor then an electric burr grinder such as the Solis would be good; in my opinion it is one of the best home use burr mill grinders available. There are also several other fine manufacturers of burr grinders for home use such as the Mazzer mini. Many of these are designed for espresso making, where the grind is super sensitive to producing a nice espresso.
Now it’s time to brew your coffee
There are many types/styles of coffee brewers out there. The most common are filter drip coffee makers. If this is your method of brewing then please choose a good paper filter, such as a Mellita. The reason for this is that cheap filters tend to clog more easily, which as described above means you will have to grind your beans much courser and thus use more coffee to produce the proper flavor. They also have excessive paper dust, which will impart undesirable paper taste in the brew. Gold type filters are an option and they will allow you to get more out of the coffee, however, they do allow some sediment through and they do not work well with the whirly blade type grinders.
The next important issue in brewing great coffee is to use good clean water. Ideally, bottled spring water will yield the most consistent results. If your tap water tastes good to you, then this is fine, however, keep in mind that if you are in an area with soft water it will make all your coffee taste dull. Further, you need to have some minerals in your water, so filtration systems that remove them will also cause your brew to be flat and tasteless.
Ideal water temperature for brewing coffee should be in the 195 to 205 degree range. Most filter drip coffee makers fail to reach these temperatures, and this causes your coffee to taste bitter. My preference for brewing filter drip coffee is with a manual pour over type coffee maker, such as the Mellita. I bring my water to a boil and wait one minute (I grind my beans during this period) and then brew.
Do not skimp on the amount of coffee you use
The rule is two level tablespoons per cup (6 oz.). Most people skimp or are used to using pre-packaged, pre-ground coffee, (which, by the way, is generally a blend utilizing poor tasting inferior Robusta beans.) Additionally, if you were to calculate the costs to use the proper amount of coffee it would equate to pennies per cup, so it’s really not worth it to skimp. However, if you use too much coffee your brew will become unpleasantly strong.
Keep all your coffee brewing equipment clean. Don’t let nobody-no, tell you dat da nasty putrid residue improves da coffee flavor, it don’t gonna done it. It sours it. Further, do not let your coffee cook on the burner longer than twenty minutes, because your coffee’s flavor will deteriorate the longer it sits on the burner. Pouring your freshly brewed coffee into a pre-warmed carafe, is your best bet, preferably a glass lined one.
Most other coffee out in the market today is at best just 12 oz.
I hope these little helpful tips will bring you much coffee drinking pleasure. It is my hope that you truly enjoy this coffee that I have so carefully roasted for you. If you have any questions or comments you can find me here on the web or at the Coffeeholic blog.