Preparation of Coffee
The following offers a step-by-step guide to preparing your favourite cup of coffee.
Amount of Coffee - The amount of coffee that you use will affect the strength of the finished cup, and should be based on personal taste preference. Industry experts agree that 1 to 1.5 tablespoons (15-25mL) of coffee, per 6 ounce (175mL) cup, will ensure full development of coffee characteristics. Many roasters and retailers provide recommended serving sizes to be utilized for further guidance.
Coffee Grind - The grind style you choose will also affect the strength of your coffee. Too fine a grind will result in a strong, perhaps bitter, cup, and too coarse a grind will result in a weak cup. The grind must also match the design of your coffee machine.
Establishing a consistent grind is a key element of coffee quality. When considering grinders for home, be aware that machines that "grind" with discs will offer a more consistent result than those that "chop" with blades.
Water - A cup of coffee is 98% water. To paraphrase a saying, the quality of the water that goes in, determines the quality of the coffee that comes out. Always use freshly drawn cold water, ideally filtered through an activated carbon filter. Avoid artificially softened water which will result in a "flat" tasting cup.
Coffee Machines - The answer to one of the most commonly asked questions ... "why does the cup of coffee I buy in my favourite restaurant or coffee shop taste different than the coffee I make at home?" ... is usually equipment related.
The performance of coffee machines varies depending on the temperature of the water and the speed at which the water passes over the coffee grinds. Restaurant and coffee shop machines are specifically designed to achieve water temperatures of 200oF (75oC) and "draw times" of between 3½ to 4½ minutes per pot. It is difficult for in-home brewers to achieve the same standards, but these parameters can be used as a benchmark for your machine.
To avoid water bypass, which may result in a weak cup of coffee, ensure coffee filters fit snugly in the basket and coffee grounds are evenly spread.