Page 39 - June 2017
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T his month I thought we’d take a look at manual brewing devices for your home, and explore the uses of accompanying tools. I’ll offer up a basic formula to help you achieve a good brew ...
then it’s all up to you!
Coffee Apparatus
There are 3 main styles of manual brewing apparatus that we’ll touch on. I hope we can find which ones may work best for your taste in cof- fee, as well as help you find optimum practicality in your kitchen given the other devices you have at hand.
Pour-overs can be made of glass, ceramic, paper, metal or plas- tic materials, but the one unifying
trait is that they all use a filter of some kind, be it paper, cloth or metal. A kettle of hot water slowly poured over a bed of coffee grounds until you’ve reached a desired amount of liquid can create a fine cup. This is the brew method we’ll focus on this month, as it’s the most accessible device to the average consumer.
Immersion brewers work a bit differently, typically by steeping the coffee grounds in hot water until a desired time frame has been reached, as with the French Press.
Siphon brewers are an in-between, and use heat and pressure for a unique style of brewing. As the water’s temperature rises, it is pulled up into a secondary upper chamber, and doesn’t release again into the lower chamber until the heat source has been removed.
Brewing Tools
A kitchen scale is not only one of the best things you can have around for making a stellar cup of joe, it comes in handy for many other baking and cooking applica- tions. Do yourself a favor: invest $20 or so on one to weigh out the coffee as well as
the water you’ll brew with.
Coffee grinders ... there are 2 basic types available to home consumers, blade and burr
grinders. Most folks have $15 blade grinders that are pretty inconsistent at doing the job, but function for the purpose. I’d highly recommend a burr grinder for your home, as the grind consistency will be much better. This is important when considering the sur- face area of the grounds available to the hot water, and to evenly and ideally extract the desirable compounds. In other words, extraction of solubles will be much more uniform, resulting in a more balanced cup of coffee. Conversely, blade grinders tend to produce uneven coffee particle surface areas, leading to under and over extraction of the coffee, creating difficulty in finding the consistent results you truly should.
Having a timer handy is easy and necessary. Most brew cycles are complete within 3-4 minutes. If your brew finishes way before or after this time frame, you will want to adjust your grind finer to slow it down, or coarser to speed it up.
A Good Ratio for Pour-Overs
Assuming you’ve invested in a scale, a ratio of 15 grams (or milliliters) of water to every 1 gram of coffee is a good place to start. If you enjoy “bolder” coffee, go 13:1 — 17:1 if you like it “weaker.” To enjoy a 12-ounce cup of coffee, weighing out to roughly 300 grams or ml, 20 grams of coffee grounds will achieve a 15:1 ratio.
Grind your coffee on a “fine” setting, which is somewhere not quite as fine as espres- so powder, yet not nearly as coarse as what you might use in a French press. Dig? Play around with your grinders coarseness settings to find what tastes best to you.
A Few Other Tips
• Pre-rinse your paper filters with hot water before adding dry coffee grounds. To il- lustrate just how imperative this step is to the end result, I dare you to rinse your filter and taste the water that comes out from it. Mmmm ... yuck.
• Use good clean water heated to somewhere between 195-205°F, just slightly off boil.
• When you begin to add water to the dry bed of grounds, pour about 50g of water, then let it rest and “bloom” for up to 45 seconds. Then at 1 minute, continue to pour in slow circles until you’ve reached your end weight. Wait for it ... now sip away!
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