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Seed to Cup - Brew Methods

Seed to Cup - Brew Methods

You Brew You

We’re going to start talking about brewing. We are of the general opinion that you should do you when it comes to coffee, and brewing is a perfect place to display your preference. Drip, pour-over, French press, espresso, Aeropress, and steeped (yes, steeped coffee)—you should use whatever works for you and leads to the best-tasting cup for you.

What is brewing?

Brewing is extracting, pulling soluble elements (naturally occurring fats, oils, sugars) and insoluble elements (flavor and caffeine) out of roasted and ground coffee beans. That extraction is what ends up in your cup.

What do you need to brew?

In addition to the brewing machine, manual or automatic, of your choice, extraction requires basic elements: 

  • Properly roasted and stored coffee beans. Since brewing pulls flavor and caffeine out of coffee beans, you want beans that have been prepared to be their most flavorful and to showcase their caffeine level.
  • Coffee ground appropriately for the brew method. Extraction happens when water hits the grounds—the size of exposed surface area matters. 
  • Water. Clean and fresh water means you’re not adding impurities to your cup. Temperature—from cold for cold brew to the correct level of hot for your hot-brewing method—is also key.
  • Contact time between water and grounds. Most brew methods should not take longer than four minutes once the water starts moving through the grounds. 
  • Turbulence. That’s an industry term for how aggressively the water moves through the coffee grounds—the pressure the water is under. Sometimes there is low turbulence, or pressure, as gravity pulls the water through in drip machines or pour-overs. Sometimes there is high turbulence; espresso machines force water through grounds at 120 pounds per square inch.

 What is the right brewing method?

You can’t choose a “wrong” brewing method, but you can treat a brewing method incorrectly. Keep all those elements we just discussed in mind, so you do not overextract or underextract, pull too much or too little out of the grounds. 

The more manual a brew process you use—for example, pour-over, French press, and AeroPress—the more you control each of the basic elements. Automatic brew processes, such as drip and espresso machines, take a lot of your experimentation and precision out of the equation—you just need to grind fresh beans appropriately for your machine. 

Both manual and automatic methods have their upsides and downsides; you may even want one of each on hand, to fit each day’s different schedule and mood. Taking care with a pour-over can help calm you during a stressful day or let you relax into a vacation day. Using the automatic version of a pour-over, a drip machine, can help you get out the door faster on a busy day or help you serve a lot of people at once at a party.

Which coffee is right for my brew method?

Coffee taste is so subjective that we resist recommending you use or avoid one particular roast for your machine. We can say that all roasts work great with one of the most popular brew methods, the drip machine. We’ll even grind the beans of your choice perfectly for you and ship them to you, freshness-fast.

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