Coffee brewing advice from The Black Chapel for the home user.
Most of you poor slobs don’t have an espresso machine in your kitchen and the Chapel isn’t always open, so I often take patiently caffeine junkies bemoaning the fact they can’t get a fix from the shop every single day.
Never fear because DIY punk rock ethos wins the day, this is my direct action guide to brewing great coffee in your own home that shall set you on the path of righteous caffeination.
Let’s begin by pondering this: would you bake a cake without following a recipe? Then why try to brew coffee without one?
Using coffee from The Black Chapel ensures that the beans are not only fresh but roasted to optimize the beans own natural characteristic flavours. Always grind to use immediately and despite what the misinformed have to say on the issue, don’t keep in the fridge or freezer. A cool dark airtight container is best to keep beans fresh for around three months from the roast date.
Getting a good burr grinder is the first step to producing great coffee. No matter how you brew a proper grinder is the most essential tool in any home barista kit. A ‘nut chopper’ or kitchen whiz style grinder just won’t do the job, inconsistent grind size will produce an inconsistent brew. Grinding to the correct grind size for the chosen brew method is also essential. Black Chapel Coffee can recommend one best for your use.
Use water at the correct temperature, 90°-96°C. Anything more and you will scold the oils that carry flavour, over extracted and bitter, any less and the brew will be under extracted and sour. Using filtered or some low mineral bottled water will not only make it tatse better but will protect brewing equipment from calcium and lime damage
All brewing gear must be cleaned properly, as even scented dish liquid can taint the subtle flavour and complexity of the coffee bean.
The French Press, Cafetiere or what sometimes known as Plunger by Australians (urgh!) Is a great and easy way to make consistent coffee. Preheat the French Press with hot water, pour out when warm.
Place course ground (like sand) coffee into the beaker. 60 to 70 grams per litre, adjust to taste.
Bring freshly drawn water to approx 96°C.
Pour in half the water to allow the coffee to ‘bloom’ or swell and de-gas.
Agitate with a wooden stirrer untill all grounds are saturated. Then add the rest of the water.
Steep coffee for four minutes.
After Four minutes break the ‘crust’ and allow grounds to sink.
Use two deep spoons to remove beige ‘froth’ from surface.
Place lid and press filter gently not to let grinds through the sides.
Decant all brewed coffee from french press to a warm heat friendly serving vessel.
Drip Filter Cone or Filter Maker
Use a ratio of around 1:17 water and coffee.
For 250ml of water this should be about 16.5g.
You could measure the water by having all this on a set of scales with filter, cup and coffee ‘tared’ to zero. 250ml = 250g.
Coffee should be ground to finer than french press but courser than espresso.
Preheat with water if the cone is ceramic.
Rinse the new filter paper with hot water to remove papery taste.
Pour all grounds into the filter in a heaped fashion, using your wooden stirrer etch out a small pocket in the top of the the heap to create a concave area like a mini crater about the size of a 2p piece. This is to catch the water.
Put water in a preheated slow pour, goose neck kettle or olive oil can with spout with water at 95°-96°C (the temperature will drop by about 4°C by the time it hits slurry).
Add 30 ml to the ground coffee ensuring all coffee is saturated, this takes practice. You can then use the stirrer to dunk any dry spots. Allow coffee to bloom. Coffee must all start brewing at the same time.
Pour the remaining of the calculated quantity of water in concentric circles to create gentle agitation in the slurry pouring constantly over a period of about 2-3 minutes.
Extracted coffee should be consistently dripping from the base of the brewer, if it pour too fast the coffee is too course. Too slow, too fine. Adjust your grinder to correct this error.
What you should be left with is spent coffee that has a flat or domed surface with no high or dry clumps.
Moka Pot / Stove Top
Not an ‘espresso maker’ but makes what’s call ‘Moka’ from the name of the Yemani port Mocha, where coffee has been exported from since the 1400’s.
Not the most reliable way to make coffee as temperatures can exceed 100°C in the brew chamber where the coffee is placed fills with scalding steam.
Fill to just under pressure valve with pre-boiled water.
Fill basket losely to the brim and swipe off excess. Don’t tap, shuffle or otherwise condense coffee. It needs to allow the water through easily for a full extraction.
Screw parts together and place on full heat. Careful its hot!
When coffee starts to spurt wait till over half is out and remove from heat. At this point you my place a cold wet tea towel around the base to attempt prevent coffee burning.
Pour off all coffee and add water or hot milk to taste.This method can go horribly wrong quickly, so practice before you try it with ‘Esmeralda Geisha’ or some such.
Aeropress method is a great method because of the range of variables avalible, you can use fine grind coffee and less water for a quick strong coffee coffee you can add water to like a long black. Or you can brew it upside down in a full immersion method for 4 minutes like a french press but then filtered under pressure with a paper filter for clarity. No two people Aeropress the same, definitely the experimentalist coffee maker. But to break the rules you have to know the rules:
Water at 93°-96°C
Allow coffee to bloom and then step for 30 seconds.
1:7 Ratio of water to coffee (the Aeropress chamber is about 260ml therefore approx 17g)
Press firm yet gentle, as the forcing it will create a spurt from the side, into a strong and adequate vessel (probably a mug).
Most importantly of all you should enjoy making and drinking coffee at home.