Three Ways You Are Ruining Your Brew

Making great coffee at home is easy and involves changing some bad habits that are ruining your morning brew.

Take action against the following bad habits and you'll see immediate improvement:

1. Using a blade grinder

Blade grinders don't really grind the beans as much as they smack the beans really hard and shatter them into smaller and smaller pieces. The problem is the only control you have over grind size is the amount of time you grind the beans and it's easy to over-grind some of the beans (those that pile above the blades) and under-grind others (those that settle below the blades).

See also: Why Use A Burr Grinder

Burr grinders, on the other hand, crush the beans and only let bean particles of a certain size and smaller  pass beyond the burrs. This produces a more consistent grind size.

2. Using beans roasted who-knows-when

As a roaster, this one is near-and-dear to my heart. Freshly roasted coffee is the holy grail of great brewed coffee but most coffee at the grocery isn't labeled with a roast date.

Therefore only buy coffee with a known roast date so you can ensure you're getting the best flavor out of those beans.

3. Under or over-dosing your coffee

How many scoops of coffee do you add to that pot of coffee?  Is it always the same?  Volume is a bad way to measure your unground beans because different coffee types have different bean sizes and densities.  You'll get fewer coffee beans in a tablespoon if the beans are larger in size and this will result in an under-dosed coffee.

See also: Hacking Your Brew: Brewing Coffee By Weight

A set of digital scales fixes this problem. Weigh both the bean and the water and shoot for a water-to-coffee ratio in the window of 16 - 20:1.  Test and tune the ratio. If you want it stronger, use less water for the same amount of coffee and do this for each new coffee type -- some coffees are better with a higher water content.

It's easy to fall into a routine with your coffee ritual, especially considering you're making the coffee in an under-caffeinated state. But if you eliminate these three bad habits, you'll be well on your way towards delicious coffee every day!

Continue Learning: Looking for more how-to articles or articles about roast science? Then check out this page for more!


Michael C. Wright

Michael is an American expat living in Singapore where he writes about many things coffee-related. A roaster by trade, Michael is also a licensed Q Grader and an Authorized SCA Trainer (AST).

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