Coffee & More

How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee?

What Factors Affect Brewing?

The Freshness of the Coffee

The roasted coffee bean is perishable so make sure you love your beans! Coffee flavours are composed of gases, liquids and solids. These flavour components rapidly dissipate or become stale leaving the coffee with no aroma or flavour. Buy small amounts of beans often! Always store fresh in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot. Only grind when you have to, same goes for beans. (Fresh beans will keep their qualities for several weeks if stored properly while ground coffee will go stale in a matter of days!)

The Water

Coffee is 99% water! The quality of the water will greatly affect the flavour of the coffee. So make sure you use fresh, preferably filtered water. Always start with cold water, pre-heated water will adversely affect the flavour of your coffee.

The Grind

Using the correct grind is essential! How long the water stays in contact with the coffee depends on the grind and this will vary according to the method of brewing that you are using. Too coarse results in under extraction and too fine results in over extraction! Having your own grinder at home is a great idea and means you can grind your beans each time you brew.

Clean equipment!

Whatever method of brewing you use, make sure everything is clean!

Different methods of brewing

Brewing Method Grind Characteristic
Ibrik Pulverised / Turkish The finest of all, soft and fine as white flour
Filter Fine Slightly grainy powder
Pump Espresso Espresso Fine Powder with the consistency of salt
Stovetop Fine to Medium Powder with the consistency of sand
Plunger Medium Like cornmeal

Plunger Pot or French Press

The Plunger Pot produces a very rich bodied coffee resulting from the high ratio of coffee to water, the steeping time (or the time which the coffee comes into contact with the water) and the application of pressure. A quick and convenient way to brew coffee, ideal when combined with milk. Coffee should be coarsely ground and best suited for full-bodied coffees.

Brewing Plunger Coffee:

Heat plunger pot by rinsing with hot water. Measure 10g-15g of coffee per cup into plunger pot. Measure 200ml of hot water, just below boiling, (Boiling water may scold your coffee!) into plunger pot. Stir. Fit filter onto pot. Wrap plunger with cloth, to maintain heat. Leave to steep for 3 minutes. Slowing press down knob. Remove cloth and serve.

Brew Tips

  • Rinse the container with hot water before brewing
  • Wrap a cloth around the pot during steeping to prevent heat loss

The Middle Eastern Ibrik

An entertaining and different way to brew coffee! It produces a syrupy and thick brew and is best suited for dark roast coffees. Try a blend of a winy coffee like Kenya, with some Sumatran and a good dark French or Italian roast. The grind should be very fine.

Brewing Turkish Coffee 

Measure 2 level to rounded teaspoons of coffee per demitasse or short black cup, into the Ibrik. Add Sugar: Half a teaspoon for light, 1 level teaspoon for sweet, 1.5 teaspoons for heavy sweet. Measure in the water, never filling the ibrik more than half full. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring the coffee to the boil. As soon as the foam fills the flare at the top of the pot, remove from the heat source. Immediately and carefully, to avoid settling the foam, pour into cups. Fill each cup halfway first, then return and add some foam.

Brew Tips:

  • Bring just to a simmering boil. (Twice for Turkish, Three times for Greek)
  • Only fill the Ibrik to half its capacity to allow for foam
  • Use 2 teaspoons of coffee per demitasse
  • If serving sweet use one teaspoon of sugar per teaspoon of coffee

Drip Filter or Filter Machine

Using finely ground coffee the drip or filter coffee is a great way to experience any origin, blend or roast. Simple to make, the quality of the coffee is consistent with a light bodied clear coffee free from oils and sediment.

Brewing Filter Coffee:

Measure 15g-20g of coffee per cup to be brewed and place in filter. Measure 200mL of cold water per cup into water reservoir. With the brew interrupt feature in a closed position turn the machine on. Leave for 60 seconds, then release the brew interrupt switch, to allow coffee to pass through. When brewing is complete, swirl the pot to stir coffee, then serve.

Brew Tips:

  • Use the brew interrupt feature to moisten, stir and steep the grounds for about 60 seconds before completing the cycle.
  • Swirl the pot before pouring the first cup Keep the coffee warm in a thermal carafe

Stovetop Espresso

Stovetops will deliver excellent espresso style coffee in the same way as a commercial machine, by infusing the coffee under pressure through the filters up into the serving bowl. Using a medium to fine grind they are best suited for blends such as the Columbus or richer bodied coffee.

Brewing Espresso Coffee:

Fill water reservoir with cold water to just below the pressure release valve. Place the coffee holder into position above the water reservoir. Fill the coffee holder with loosely packed fresh grounds. Screw on the brewed coffee reservoir. Place stovetop on medium heated element. When brewing is complete remove from element and serve immediately.

Brew Tips:

  • Don't over fill the grounds chamber
  • Remove from heat when brewing has finished

Espresso Machines

The espresso machine extracts the maximum amount of flavour out of the coffee bean by forcing water through the finely ground coffee at great pressure. The full extraction is best suited to blends or full-bodied coffees.

Brew Tips:

  • Start with fresh water!
  • All equipment must be clean
  • All ingredients must be fresh
  • The espresso machine, handle and cup should be hot before beginning to brew
  • Never under fill the filter basket. Follow the correct procedure, according to the manual for your machine