Good Coffee Practices #1

With everyone making more coffee at home, we thought we'd share some simple ways to make your coffee the best it can be. First, we'll be discussing brewing ratios, and how that relates to the concepts of extraction and strength.

The Rule

  • The optimal recipe for our coffees is 1:17.  For example, we use 60 grams of ground coffee with 1020 grams of brew water, just over 1 liter. 
    • This ratio is perfect when using filter drip methods ("Mr. Coffee", Hario V60, Chemex).
    • If using "immersion methods" (French Press, Aeropress) you can go down to 1:16 successfully, though 1:17 will still work very well.
    • If you cannot weigh your coffee, a tablespoon of ground coffee is about 9 grams. Water’s weight in grams is equivalent in millilitres, so there’s no conversion necessary.

 

 

The Reason

There are two very important ideas in coffee brewing:

 

  • Extraction
    • How much of the ground coffee is dissolved into the brewing water. Empirical evidence suggests that we prefer coffees that are over 19% extraction (extractions over 24% are difficult to achieve).  This means that at least 19% of the ground coffee should be removed and dissolved to produce the cup of coffee.  For instance, if  we make a pot with 10 ounces of ground coffee (big pot!), at least 1.9 ounces should be dissolved into the brew.
  • Strength
    • What percent of the coffee you're drinking is actually dissolved coffee (and not water).  We like our filter coffees a between 1.35% and 1.45%. Our espresso we like between 7%-9%.
  • The 1:17 ratio results from these two ideas.  It achieves a balance of strength and extraction.  If using less water (say 1:10), the strength would be very high (about 2%!) to achieve good extraction.  Too much water, and the coffee would be weak at good extraction.

 

Our next blog post will be about how to taste and adjust your brew.