Time your pours & extraction
Cos water temperature affects your brew. yes, really.
Roasting and Brewing coffee is just like cooking,or baking. Setting the right temperature for the 'cooking' (brewing) process, allows the correct flavours to be developed and/or extracted.
Brewing your coffees at the correct temperatures decrease your chances of scalding your coffee (think bitter, flat, burnt), or under extracting your coffees (think dull, tasteless, grassy); both leaving you with a frustrating cuppa.
As a general guideline, this is what we at The Tiny Roaster like to do..
For fresher coffees - use a lower temperature (79-85C)
For older coffees - use a higher temperature (85-90C)
your grind..and adjust it
the discussion for grinders and grinds could span forums long,
Ground coffee starts losing its flavour almost immediately after it is ground, which is mostly the reason why roasters stay clear of grinding full bags of coffees for their customers.
TIPS ON GRINDING
1. Always Grind on Demand - grinding just before you brew each cup of coffee. This ensures the freshest cup of coffee possible. Avoid pre-ground coffees and grinding way before you brew.
2. The Grind Size needs to be adjusted. The fresher the coffee, the coarser the grind size, Hence, you should dial in for a finer grind size as each day passes, or as needed throughout the day.
With your own grinder, you can
3. The grind size affects how the water passes through the coffee bed into your cup. The coarser the grind size, the faster water will pass/flow through. Water that flows too fast through your coffee bed will not have enough contact time with your coffee grounds - this causes under extraction - which results in a lack of flavour. Adjust your grind size to achieve the brewing time as needed. Guidelines on brewing time various brew methods can be found here.
Pro Consumer Hand Burr Home Consumer Burr Home Consumer Blade Pro Consumer Bur Commercial Espresso Conical Burr
Choosing the right grinder.
Hand Grinder or Electronic Grinder?
If you are mostly brewing on the go, a good hand grinder is possibly the best choice for you. A decent hand grinder can cost as little as $60 (eg. Hario), or a top end hand grinder can cost upwards of $200 (eg. Commandante). The differences are mostly in the quality of burrs which affect grind concisistency. Design, material, and ease of use and burr replacements are also other considerations. The most obvious downside of a hand grinder is that it often takes a lot of energy, muscle, and time to brew 1 cup. The finer the grind size needed, the longer with more rounds of grinding action needed.
Brewing at Home or in the Office? An electronic grinder is the most convenient way with just a press of a button.
Electronic grinders can be Blade (mostly cheaper), or Burr grinders. Burr grinders produce more consistency in grind size as compared to blade grinders. If you are on a tight budget, you may like to start with a blade grinder (eg. Bodum) - as we like to say, any grinder is still better than pre-ground coffee.
Filter Grinder, Espresso Grinder, or Both?
Thankfully, companies such as Baratza/Malkonig, has given us a 2 in 1 option with their range of grinders which can be used for both styles, which give you the option of expanding to brewing up both filter coffees and espresso coffees.
Cafes however, would usually have in their setup, 1 or 2 espresso machines (1 for each espresso coffee served, and 1 or 2 filter grinders (1 for light and 1 for darker roasts). This is mostly for operational efficiency and wastage reduction. Home users would rarely need to acquire more than 2 grinders for a home coffee set up.