If you’re like us, you think about coffee all the time.
All day while we’re awake we think about how we can get more of the finest coffee beans on the planet, roast them to perfection and get them to your doorstep in our special air tight bags.
Then while we sleep we dream about these beans being brewed to perfection at your home.
Whether your morning coffee is a bold espresso blend, your afternoon coffee is a strong medium roast or your evening coffee is a Columbian decaf or whatever your preference is…how you brew your coffee matters
It matters a lot!
Life wine, coffee is complex. There are many many things that can impact the taste.
Because of this, many people are intimidated by the process to make truly great coffee. Or they just throw some grinds into their brewer and call it a day.
But making great coffee is easier than you think. You just need to know some of the best practices and techniques.
The time it would take you to microwave a quick breakfast is the same amount of time it takes to make the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had.
And perfectly brewed coffee doesn’t need to come from a fancy coffee shop, it can come right from your own kitchen!
We made this guidebook to help teach you how to brew the absolute best cup of coffee.
We didn’t want to skip out on any of the important details so we created what we think is the only guide you or anyone would ever need to make the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had.
But it’s a beast. Over 2,000 words!
Because there are so many aspects to making the best cup of coffee and to make it easier to consume the content, we’ve broken it up into chapters.
This will make it easier to navigate.
We used our own experience and knowledge as well as scoured the internet for the best information on each section and topic.
Understanding how each of these factors are interrelated to the final product can help troubleshoot and fine tune the brewing process.
If you follow these rules and this advice you are virtually guaranteeing a satisfying cup of coffee every time.
Table of Contents:
Section 1: The Beans
- The Finest Coffee Beans
- Specialty Coffee Standards
- How to Properly Store Coffee Beans
- Keeping an Air Tight Seal
- Lack of Contact
- No Pre-Ground Coffee
Section 2: Preparation
- Measuring Your Coffee
- Measuring Coffee With a Scale
- Which Coffee Scale to Get
- Measuring Coffee Without a Scale
- What Coffee Grinder to Use
- How to Grind Coffee
- The Right Water
- The Water Ratios
Section 3: Brewing
- The Temperature
- The Filter
- The Pour
- Pour Over
- French Press
- Cafe Americano
- Cold Brew
Section 4: Clean Up
Section 1: The Beans
The Finest Coffee Beans
Let’s start with the obvious to get it out of the way. If you don’t start with great coffee beans all else is pointless.
We at Tap Dancer’s offer the world’s finest coffee beans so if you’re looking to make great coffee at home…you’re in the right place.
CLICK HERE to Shop our Specialty Coffee Beans
We take great pride in this claim, and back it up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
We only offer specialty grade coffee, here’s what that means.
Specialty coffee beans are grown in select altitudes and climates and nursed for years before the first harvest. Specialty coffee producers devote their life to refining and perfecting the highest quality coffee on the planet. For them, it is quality, not quantity that is the most important consideration.
Specialty grade beans are 100% organic, fair-trade, low in acidity and not inherently bitter so it is easy to concentrate solely on flavor.
Specialty coffee producers take great pride on providing these beans.
In the coffee world, like fine wine or steaks, Specialty Coffee Beans are the best of the best.
Specialty Coffee Standards
To be considered specialty grade coffee they must adhere to strict standards.
To meet the criteria of specialty grade, green coffee can have zero category one defects and five or less category two defects.
You can see the SCAA green grading handbook for more information on these defects.
Specialty Coffee Standard List
How to Store Coffee Beans
There are a couple of things we have to consider to ensure our coffee retains all of its goodness until you drink it. One is keeping the coffee fresh.
Once coffee beans are roasted, the bean expels carbon dioxide and absorbs oxygen. It is the absorption of oxygen that creates a stale coffee.
This process of expelling and absorbing within the coffee bean cannot be slowed down, no matter what the temperature is that you’re storing the beans at.
The process speeds up however, with exposure to air so it is important to keep the coffee as airtight as possible after the roast.
Because of this, fresh roasted coffee is only fresh for 2-3 weeks.
After that it becomes stale coffee. That’s why we hand deliver our coffee (in Omaha) and ship same or next day to our friends outside of Omaha.
As we said above, it is the absorption of oxygen that creates a stale coffee. So in order to keep your coffee from oxygen you must keep it in a container with an air tight seal.
We make it easy to keep your coffee fresh, just keep it in the special bag that it was delivered in.
Each Tap Dancer’s bag comes with a one-way degassing valve, just squeeze the air out through the valve.
We use an impulse sealer to completely seal the bag. This is another way we separate ourselves from other coffee roasters.
The bags have a patented one way degassing valve. This valve insures that air only goes out and no oxygen comes back in.
There is a side notch that enables you to open the bag easily.
The bags not only seal airtight, but are easy to reseal to help keep the air exposure to a minimum.
This means better coffee for you!
Lack of Contact
The other thing we have to be aware of with coffee is that it is very absorbent.
Not only do we have to be concerned about outside moisture and exposure to oxygen, we have to be concerned about what the beans come in physical contact with.
Metallic foils (like aluminum or tin), plastic, cardboard and yes, even kraft paper will ALL taint the taste of coffee.
Again you don’t have to worry about this with Tap Dancer’s Coffee.
Our bags have a high vapor barrier and a neutral lining.
The vapor barrier keeps moisture out of the bag and keeps your coffee beans from contacting or absorbing anything that could negatively impact the taste.
These features all help to ensure your coffee retains its freshness and remains untainted.
No Pre-Ground Coffee
You may think it’s easier to buy pre-ground coffee, but pre-ground coffee is already stale by the time it gets to your home. Always get a whole bean, and grind it at home prior to enjoying it.
Section 2: Proper Coffee Preparation
Now that you’ve purchased the finest coffee beans in the world, and have stored them properly. Let’s move on to preparing the coffee beans to be brewed.
How to Measure Coffee
Don’t just grab a handful of beans and toss them into your grinder. To get the best cup ever, we want to measure them properly and get the proper bean to water ration for brewing.
Most people control the water-to-coffee ratio by measuring the volume of water and coffee they use. They use a certain number of scoops of coffee with a specific amount of water.
A scale, however, is the better way to go than a scoop.
This is because the density of coffee beans can vary. Some coffee beans may weigh more than others even if they might be the same size. So weight is a much more accurate measurement than volume.
Once you start using a scale to measure your coffee, it is easy to use the same scale to weigh the amount of water you use.
And consistency is easy. Just use the same number of grams or ounces of coffee each morning and you will ensure your coffee-to-water ratio remains consistent to your preference.
Which Coffee Scale to Get
Measuring Coffee With a Scale
Measuring Coffee Without a Scale
Now that you’ve properly measured the right amount of coffee, it’s time to grind the beans.
What Grinder to Use
How to Grind Coffee
As long as you have the right equipment, grinding coffee is more about your preferred brewing method.
Coarse, Medium, and Fine are used for various brewing methods to get the best flavor possible.
- Coarse – Chunky, distinct particles.
- Medium – More the texture of coarse sand.
- Fine – Smooth. Feels like sugar or salt when you rub it between your fingers.
- Super Fine – Very fine but you can still feel some grit.
- Turkish Grind – Like flour, very powdery.
A Coarse Grind is generally used for the following:
- French Press
- Toddy Makers
- Vacuum Coffee Maker
A Medium Grind:
- Auto Drip Makers (with flat bottom filters)
A Fine Grind:
- Stove Top Espresso Pots
- Some Drip Makers (with cone shaped filters)
A Super Fine Grind:
A Turkish Grind:
The Water Quality
Water? Yes, even the water matters!
The taste of coffee is affected by the mineral content of the water that you use.
In fact scientists who were doing research on coffee (how fun is that job) found that the differences of water composition made a “dramatic difference” to coffee made from the same bean. Certain types of water hardness boosted the taste.
So what do you do? Use filtered water.
Besides not having a pleasant taste, water from the tap has minerals that will create mineral build up in your brewer. This build up will weaken the brewer’s heating ability to get the water to the proper temperature.
I personally prefer distilled water but again I tend to go to extremes.
According to researchers, the best cup of coffee should be made with water that is high in magnesium and low in bicarbonate.
Here’s more on that research.
Specialty Coffee Association Water Standards
Learn more HERE
How Much Water: Brewing Ratios
Water to coffee ratio is probably the hardest concept to conquer.
The best way to get a consistent water ratio for your coffee is to use a kitchen scale and a calculator.
Weigh the water you use in your pot and divide that number by 17 and that will tell you how much whole bean coffee to use.
For a sweeter coffee use a lower ratio.
For a more bitter coffee use a higher ratio.
Learn more HERE and HERE.
To be scientific about it, brewing coffee is the process of extracting the soluble and some insoluble components of ground coffee into an aqueous solution. (how’s that for fancy definition).
Brewed coffee is the result of strength (coffee mass) and extraction (soluble yield or coffee mass suspended in liquid).
Brewed coffee is around 98.8% water combined with 1.5% coffee flavor particles.
There are several factors that will affect the extraction process. As we already discussed, the coffee / water ratio, grind particle size, contact time, and water temperature.
The most important feature of all of them is to get the water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Too cold of a temperature and the coffee becomes bitter, too hot and the coffee becomes sour.
Get as close to 200 degrees fahrenheit as possible, but we understand that that is a very precise temp, so just try and stay in the range between 195 F (91 C) and 205 F (96 C). The closer to 200 F the better.
Boiling water (212 F – 100 C) should never be used. It will burn your coffee.
Note: If you bought the $30.00 coffee brewer you can be assured that it is not getting the water hot enough.
At home we use a Technivorm-Moccamaster. There are no bells or whistles on this brewer…..it simple gets the water to 200 degrees.
How long should I brew my coffee? Learn HERE
The Coffee Filter
If given a choice, it’s better to choose white paper filters over brown ones. Remember how we said coffee will absorb many things it comes in contact with, yep even the filter paper. Brown filters can make the coffee taste more like the paper.
If you’re investing in specialty grade coffee beans, you need to know how to use them.
Because it’s easier to control the temperature with all the pour over methods, that is the main reason they work so well and why so many coffee purists prefer them.
The pour over is a simple and elegant way to prepare your specialty coffee. It doesn’t require much equipment and delivers delicious, honest flavors when done right.
Learn how to do a Pour Over HERE
This is a rich and smooth way to brew your coffee, and probably the most simple next to a drip coffee maker.
You do have to purchase a french press for this, but they aren’t expensive. Here’s how it’s done.
Water is forced through finely packed coffee grounds to produce a small amount of concentrate.
Roughly ground seeds brewed in cold water for 12-24 hours. Final product is a highly caffeinated drink served cold.
Cleaning Your Equipment
The last step to making the perfect cup coffee is clean up. It’s important to do this properly so that you help keep both the longevity of the brewers and it will help to keep getting great flavor of each cup you make at home.
Here’s how to do it the right way.
So that’s it! See, not so bad. Follow these steps and you’re guaranteed to have the best cup of coffee you’ve ever made. And the great part is that now that you’ve brewed it once, you can make it over and over again.
Let us know when you try it, we’d love to get your feedback on how it went. And of course, here’s where you can get the finest coffee to make your best cup of coffee.