Let’s face it. There is no shortage on opinions on the internet about how to make the best coffee. And quite a few has, in their own mind, come up with the perfect routine.
In this post I’m not after finding my own perfect way, nor am I particularly experimental, but what sparked me to write this was a first hand experience on how a seemingly perfect routine can be deceiving. As the parameters surrounding the brewing process changes, such as new coffees, different roasts and so on, this will affect the brewing.
We realized that we hadn’t checked for a while about what brew time and grinder setting was optimal for the current freshness of our coffee when making french press coffee. We’ve also been switching back and forth between two different grinders (same make but different models) but keeping the same grinder setting. We then decided that we had to check if what we were doing were correct.
To make a long story short: We kept the grinder setting, but varied the brew time.
We brewed several french presses at once, but let them brew for different lengths (4, 4.5, 5 and 5.5 minutes) and cupped the coffees blind. We used a Kenyan coffee (Eeagads Estate) with a very distinct blackcurrant flavour.
We ended up deciding to let the coffee brew for 5 minutes as opposed to the 4 minute brew we have been using up until now. Originally we had decided that 4 minutes of brewtime were perfect for this coffee, but since then some parameters have changed without us adjusting our routine accordingly.
This discovery led me to think of how many other coffee bars and roasters must be doing the same thing without realizing that things maybe should change.
Have you tested your own routine recently? Be it roasting a certain coffee to a certain colorette or agtron degree or brewing an espresso on one temperature setting with the coffee coming in almost certainly being roasted to slightly different degrees.
Personally I feel comfortable that we check our own routine and coffees regularly but this was still an eye opener. We roast our own coffee and know when we need to adjust the brew temeperature slightly to accommodate slight variations in the roast degree. But what about coffee bars that don’t roast their own coffee. Do they test to see if their new batch of coffee needs an adjustment of their routines?
Is it perhaps time to see if you’re making the most out of your coffee or if you’re just making coffee on autopilot?
Just a thought.