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Essential Tips and Tricks to Brew Coffee at Home

As Tim Wendelboe would say, making tasty coffee is really simple and takes just as long as making really bad coffee. Here are some simple rules to ensure your coffee is always the best.

First and foremost, the foundation of great coffee is excellent beans. Make sure you're using highly traceable beans. Generic labels like just the country’s name won’t guarantee quality or fair compensation for the coffee farmers (you can learn more on how to buy coffee like a pro here).

DotaCoffee Company
Coffee from our farm

Pay close attention to the roasting date. Coffee tends to lose its full flavor after four weeks, so always check the roasting date, not just the best-before date. Your coffee should be packaged in a valve-sealed bag. I’ve seen some cute biodegradable packages sealed with a strip at the end and no valve—though it seems like an eco-friendly alternative, coffee needs to be protected from oxygen to prevent it from tasting rancid.

Store your beans in the same bag with a zip or in a black container away from sunlight, ensuring it's sealed so no oxygen can get in.

The grinder is key to brewing good coffee. Always buy whole beans and grind them at home. The best option is an electric grinder with adjustable grind settings. Avoid blade grinders since you can’t control the grind size. Generally, use a coarser grind for larger batches and a finer grind for smaller ones. If your coffee tastes weak and sour, try a finer grind size (don’t just add more coffee). If it’s too bitter, go coarser. It's important to grind according to your brewing method.

Costa Rica Whole Bean Coffee
Whole Bean Coffee

Water quality is often overlooked but can significantly change how your coffee tastes. It profoundly affects coffee extraction and flavor. For instance, the water in Edmonton is considered hard due to high levels of calcium and magnesium. While this can enhance coffee flavor, it may also lead to scale buildup in appliances.

Remember, your choice of water is as vital as the beans themselves. If you think water quality might be affecting your brew, consider using a high-quality water filter or distilled water.

Brewing coffee with a scale
Brewing coffee with a scale

A scale is helpful to measure the amount of coffee you’re using. If you want to brew like a pro, you’ll need a scale with a timer to measure how much coffee, water, and time you’re using. Timing is crucial—long brewing times will over-extract the coffee, making it bitter, while short brewing times will under-extract it, resulting in sour and weak coffee.

Right on, you now might be all set to start playing a different game with your coffee!  

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