Brewing coffee is the juxtaposition of art and science. The perfect cup of coffee is that which gives you the taste, aroma and flavour that you prefer. Often coffee brewing is considered as a complicated process and is deemed fit for coffee connoisseurs or baristas to indulge in. That being true, holds good if you are looking at brewing artisan coffees, tasting delicate flavour notes, doing coffee art, however, if you are regular human being like me and all you want is a great cup of coffee then trust me the process is not that difficult and the satisfaction that you will get will far outweigh the efforts that you have put.
But before you read any further, the first step that you need to take to make a great cup of coffee is to throw out any instant coffee powder, sachets, capsules that you have with you and no arguments or explanations here as instant coffees do not deserve any attention at all.
Universal prerequisites for a good cup of coffee
Irrespective of which part of the world you are from and whatever experience you have at brewing coffee, taking care of certain basics will ensure that you brew a great cuppa of coffee.
- Freshness of the beans - One of the most important aspects of a good coffee is the bean itself. The fresher, the better! After roasting, the coffee beans start to go stale with exposure to oxygen. Coffee roasters like us prevent the oxidation process by packaging coffee beans in gas-flushed bags (bags with air valves) to prevent oxygen getting in but allowing carbon dioxide out. Other factors that can cause coffee beans to go stale are light, moisture and heat.
So it’s important to procure your coffee freshly roasted and ground, and then store your coffee correctly once the bag is opened.
- Freshness of the grind - Once whole beans are ground, they become more vulnerable to the elements that cause it to spoil, so it’s important to pack your coffee properly immediately and consume it as soon as possible. This is one of the major reasons why we at Aeka, roast and grind our coffee beans only after we receive an order and ensure that it reaches the doorsteps of the customer at the earliest.
Contrary to some common advice, keeping ground coffee refrigerated will not lengthen its life – it can expose the coffee to moisture and absorb the odour of other foods.
- Water quality and temperature - Water makes up to 98% of the components in the coffee decoction, so it’s pretty important when it comes to making the perfect cup! It’s always best to use filtered water for the ideal taste and it also helps to keep your coffee filter in better condition
- Coffee to water ratio - The amount of water used to make the decoction is also critical. If there is too less water then the coffee powder doesn’t get brewed properly and if there is too much water then decoction is thinner with a watery taste to it. It takes a few trial and errors to come up with the right quantity, however, the thumb rule is for one part of coffee powder 3 to 4 parts of water is used to brew it in an Indian Coffee Filter.
- Milk quality - If you have your coffee black then milk doesn't matter else the quality of milk that you use decides the quality of coffee. For a great cup of Indian filter coffee, we advise full cream milk and this ensures that the body of the coffee is thicker and this gives a great flavour to the coffee cup.
- Cleanliness of your coffee filter & equipment - Your coffee filter and other equipment used are producing a consumable product, so for hygiene and health & safety reasons you need to clean them on a regular basis, preferably after every use. A clean filter will also ensure you brew the best quality coffee; it will be free from any residual old coffee, residual milk or other spillages which can contaminate the end product.
There are so many factors that can influence the quality of the coffee like the source of beans, the roasting & grinding equipment, the pressure, etc but one thing is clear; keep it consistent and you won’t go far wrong.