Brewing Equipment FAQs
The 4 Fundamentals
The recipe for a great cup of coffee is broken into four fundamentals: Proportion, Grind, Water and Freshness. Understand and follow the guidelines for each, and you're on your way to brewing a great cup of coffee every time.
Use the right proportion of coffee to water. This is the most important step in making great coffee. For the most flavorful cup of coffee, Starbucks recommends using two tablespoons of ground coffee (10 grams) for each six fluid ounces (180 milliliters) of water. If coffee brewed this way is too strong for your taste, you can add a little hot water to your cup of brewed coffee.
The shorter the brewing process, the finer the grind. Different brewing methods have different grind requirements, so grind your coffee for the brewing method you use. The amount of time the coffee and water spend together affects the flavor elements that end up in your cup of coffee, and the design of your coffee maker dictates how long the coffee and water sit in direct contact during the brewing process. For instance, coffee ground for an espresso machine should be very fine, in part because the brew cycle is only 19 to 22 seconds long. But for a coffee press, the coffee should be coarse ground, because the water and coffee are in direct contact for about four minutes.
Use fresh, cold water heated to just off the boil. A cup of coffee is 98 percent water. Therefore, the water you use to make coffee should taste clean, fresh, and free of impurities. Water heated to just off a boil (195° to 205° F or 90° to 96° C) is perfect for extracting the coffee's full range of flavors. Any cooler and the water can't adequately do the job. Automatic coffee makers heat the water for you. Make sure the machine you use gets the water hot enough.
Use freshly ground coffee. The enemies of coffee are oxygen, light, heat, and moisture. To keep coffee fresh, store it in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature. Storing coffee in the refrigerator or freezer for daily use can damage the coffee as warm, moist air condenses to the beans whenever the container is opened. Whole bean coffee stays fresh longer because there is less surface area exposed to oxygen. For the best results, coffee should be ground just before brewing and used or stored immediately.
- • Baratza: 1-877-701-2021 or 1-425-641-1245
- • Bodum: 1-800-232-6386
- • DeLonghi: 1-800-322-3848
- • Krups: 1-800-526-5377
- • Saeco: 1-800-933-7876
- • Cuisinart: 1-800-726-0190
- • Bunn: 1-800-352-2866
- • Technivorm: 1-800-223-8211
Why should I decalcify/descale my espresso machine?
Decalcifying helps to remove mineral buildup from the internal workings of your espresso machine. Mineral buildup can slow down or stop the machine from working. Decalcifying can help ensure better and more consistent espresso. Please note that certain geographies or water systems can increase calcification and may require decalcification more frequently.
To decalcify and clean your espresso machine, you should refer to the specific instructions that originally came with your machine. In general, you can use a commercial espresso machine cleaner to remove the mineral buildup from your machine, and then run 3-4 tanks of fresh water through it to rinse. Disassemble any removable parts for cleaning. Be sure to clean the showerhead screen and portafilter basket, and clear any buildup from the steamwand. Then rinse the machine again with water.