Brewing the Best
Always buy fresh-roasted coffee, preferably from a small batch roaster. Although coffee in a sealed pack can maintain its freshness for up to two months, once the seal is broken, the coffee begins to degrade rapidly. Within one to two weeks, you will notice a marked decline in flavor.
Always buy your coffee whole bean and grind it as you need it. Once you break the hard, outside shell of the roasted bean, the fragile aromas begin to rapidly dissipate, and the coffee will lose much of its flavor within just a few hours.
We recommend using one coffee scoop (2 level tablespoons) of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water. If you like your coffee stronger or weaker, adjust the amount until it suits your taste.
If possible, buy just enough coffee to get you through a week—or two at the most—and keep it in an airtight container in a cool (but room temperature), dark place. We don’t recommend refrigerating beans because they tend to pick up moisture and flavors from inside the fridge. Freezing is not a good idea either as the extreme temperature tends to break down the delicate oils on the surface of the beans. If you are going to Antarctica for four months and have no choice but to take a four-month supply of coffee, you might be better off packing it in one-pound sealed bags and storing them in the ice until you open a bag. But other than that, if you buy really good coffee, why not drink it at its peak?
If you’ve ever wondered why the beans you take home never taste as good when you brew them as they do at the coffee house, consider the importance of water: A cup of coffee is 98% water. If the water you use is bad, the coffee will not be good. Your favorite coffee oasis probably filters its water. You will get the best tasting coffee with either spring water (but not distilled as the lack of minerals makes it taste flat) or filtered water. Carbon filtering can very effectively eliminating the unpleasant chemical taste of city water.
Coffee should be brewed from between 195° to 205°F. If you boil your water for coffee, let it sit a minute after it stops boiling to drop the temperature down a few degrees below boiling.
Serve brewed coffee immediately or put it in a thermal carafe to maintain its freshness. It should not be reheated, nor should it be allowed to sit on the heat because the flavor will break down and change into something we'd rather you didn't have to experience.
Clean your brewing and storage equipment regularly to remove residual coffee oils. If your brewer builds up lime scale, use a citrus descaler to keep the equipment running smoothly. These can be found at your local coffee supply shop or grocery store. This is especially important with espresso machines, which can become completely blocked.
Keep in mind that it takes five years for a coffee tree to produce its first full crop. The tree might produce about 4,000 beans, which are probably hand-picked and painstakingly processed, ending in a careful culling for the best 2000 beans. Those 2000 beans represent one small pound of quality Arabica coffee—or about 50 cups. Your cup of fresh roasted coffee is precious. Feel its warmth. Inhale the fragrance, swirl it in your mouth, feel it on your tongue. Linger over the aftertaste and count your blessings. This is ambrosia—the drink of the gods!