Brewing the Perfect Cup
Learn how to make a great cup of coffee.
The correct water/bean ratio is 2 heaping tablespoons of coffee to every six ounces of water. To figure this out for your pot at home, simply measure out the water, divide it by six, and multiply that number by two. That's how many tablespoons of beans you need.
Unfortunately, most home brewer baskets aren’t large enough to accommodate the proper bean to water ratios. To get around this, use less water to get the proper ratio, or try a different method: we love brewing Press Pot or Melitta® coffee by the cup!
What’s the most important thing you can do to make a great cup of coffee? Use the right amount of fresh whole beans and grind them immediately before brewing. Coffee beans are best when freshly roasted because the flavor deteriorates with exposure to oxygen. We suggest that you only purchase beans that you will consume within the week. Whole beans are considered stale (and not worth using) about one month after they are roasted. Once the beans are ground, however, and the entire inner surface of the bean is exposed to oxygen, the flavor deteriorates so quickly that they will be unusable in less than an hour. At Water Street Coffee Joint, we roast beans frequently, use them in less than a week, and we grind the beans thirty seconds (or less) before we use them.
The first consideration in brewing great coffee is the often neglected ingredient: water. Water makes up 98–99% of the coffee we serve. In general, water used to make coffee should be very hot (195–205°) and free of any faint tastes or odors. We recommend using filtered water.
Next, choose your brewing method. Different methods will bring out different characteristics of the coffee. Some common methods are:
Press pot: One of our favorite methods, but not for the faint-hearted, press pot coffee (also called French Press) is heavy bodied, rich and acidic, with a muddy color and intense flavor. The coffee is very coarsely ground and put right into the pot, then pressed down with a wire filter just before serving.
Percolator: Percolation is not the ideal brewing method because it uses boiling water, which can over extract the beans and destroy the coffee’s flavor subtleties; but it does produce a clean, clear coffee with a heavy body and a nice aroma; and it’s fun to watch that brew bubbling, especially over a campfire. Percolator coffee is coarsely ground and put in a filter basket, and cold water is added to the bottom of the pot. As the water heats, it is forced up through a tube into a glass knob on the lid and then flows down through the basket of grounds back into the pot.
Automatic Drip: The most common method of brewing, automatic drip coffee is crisp, clean, rich and full-flavored, although less complex than the Press Pot or Melitta® methods. The coffee is medium-ground and put in a filter basket, where hot water drips slowly through to the pot.
Melitta®: One of our favorite methods, Melitta® coffee is rich and dark with a deep, mellow flavor and a surprising smoothness. Coffee is finely ground and put into a cone-shaped filter. Hot water drips slowly through the cone filter and into the pot or cup.
Check out our selection of Home Brewing Equipment.