The Coffee Break
Taking a break from your day can seem like a lost art sometimes, but one of the best ways to help to clear my head is to take a break to enjoy a few moments for myself.
Just for a moment... sit. Have a cup of coffee and catch your breath. Absorb the scents and subtle sounds that exist in our everyday lives. As Spring blooms, and the gentle rain of April leads to the warmth of Summer, the simple moments of our lives need to be amplified and embraced.
Coffee should be something special. Yes, sometimes it’s the fuel to function and keep up with our routines. Other times, when we get to sit and enjoy our coffee break, coffee can be that elusive perfect cup. Learning basic techniques will help you achieve your perfect cup time and time again.
The first step to optimal flavor is grinding your coffee fresh. I recommend grinding your coffee just before brewing with a burr grinder to achieve grind particles that are even in size and coarseness. Consistent particle size will help with an even extraction of the coffee solubles as water is introduced. Do not use a blade grinder or spice grinder for grinding your coffee. You will never be able to achieve a consistent grind size.
Deciding how coarse a setting is needed to grind your coffee for your brewing method can be tricky. A rule of thumb is the coarser the grind, the longer the coffee is in contact with water. For instance, a french press steeps coarsely ground coffee and water for up to 6 minutes. The coarsest grind setting slows the extraction process for the proper brewing time, as opposed to brewing an espresso, which is a quick, thirty second process. For espresso, a very fine grind is needed to be able to extract more coffee quickly. Gravity fed brewing methods like drip coffee makers and Chemex brewers fall in the middle of these two methods.
Using a consistent brewing ratio will help you eliminate one variable in the process. Personally, I prefer to use about an 18:1 brewing ratio. This means there is 18 grams of water to every 1 gram of ground coffee. Choosing the coarseness of the grind will affect the cup of coffee greatly. If your coffee is too weak, try a finer grind setting in order to extract more coffee over a shorter period of time. Vice versa if your coffee is too strong.
Utilize these small techniques to help improve your coffee game and always find time to enjoy your coffee break.