Coffee 101

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Mahogany Roasters

The World Needs Good Coffee

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Good brewed coffee starts with good beans. They should be freshly roasted (no more than a month old for optimal results) and freshly and evenly ground. A burr grinder provides the most even grind. If you uses a grinder with blades, we recommend you shake the grinder as you grind, and try and leave the finest dusty sized coffee out when you put the grinds in the brewer. You should use 7 grams of coffee for each 6 oz of water. It should brew for 5 minutes in water between 195 F and 205 F.

Most home coffeemakers heat the water by passing in through the heating plate at the bottom of the maker and then pumping it up to the basket. The temperatures can vary by the time it gets back up, and frequently these take 10 to 15 minutes to brew. Low temperatures can produce a foul tasting coffee, and the long brewing time can cause the coffee to become bitter from over-extraction.  The best and least expensive home brewer we have used is the Bunn Pouromatic. This has a boiler, just like a commercial brewer, which is kept hot and ready at all times. When you pour fresh water into the brewer, it forces the already heated water through the grounds. These provide great temperature stability and good brew times, for less than $100.

There are other ways to brew coffee at home. The vacuum brewers, very popular from the 1920's through the 1950's, are still being made by companies like Bodum and Hario, and produce an almost perfect cup, as well as being fun to use. These are the hour-glass style brewers in which the water is put in the lower portion and ground coffee in the top. As the water below heats, the water is forced up into the top bowl where it mixes with the coffee. When it is taken off the heat, the vacuum is formed in the lower bowl, and the liquid is sucked back down into the lower bowl. Bodum is now making an electric version, with a timer, that's as simple to use as a drip maker.