BODKA COFFEE’S GUIDE TO BREWING THE BEST COFFEE
Surprisingly, despite the huge popularity of coffee around the world, many lack the knowledge necessary to produce the best tasting cup. Not that many years ago, I was sailing on THAT ship!
To brew the perfect cup of coffee, always use freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee. Ground coffee should be used immediately as it begins to stale within a few minutes! It takes freshly roasted, freshly ground QUALITY coffee, not stale supermarket coffee. As coffee is over 95% water, it just makes sense to use good tasting, filtered, or spring water. When this water is heated to the recommended 200f, (+/- 2f) the ground coffee yields it’s most delicious taste. Of course, having a coffee brewing device capable of dispensing the water properly over the grounds is the final element in the brewing equation. Sounds complicated? Actually, it’s not.
Let’s start with the most important ingredient, coffee.
Quality, Fresh Roasted Coffee
You are reading this because you realize exactly how important quality, fresh roasted coffee beans (NOT pre-ground coffee) is to the brewing process. To get the most out of your Bodka Coffee purchase, it is highly recommended you own a quality coffee grinder. The best of these are those called “burr” grinders.
A good, solid burr grinder for auto-drip, manual pour-over (we’ll discuss this a bit later on), or French press can cost as little as $80, or tip the scale at over $350. In most cases, $125 will get you a grinder that will yield an excellent grind for the methods mentioned above.
Remember that even freshly roasted beans start to age within a few days after roasting. To keep your coffee beans as fresh as possible for as LONG as possible, we recommend storing your coffee in the pantry, away from heat sources. We like using a normal canning jar, such as a 12oz Mason, or Ball jar. Don’t be surprised when you open the jar each morning the first week, and there is a whoosh of expelled air! This is actually CO2 still escaping. a by-product of the roasting process.
The fun begins as you order different coffees, usually called “varietals.” A BLEND is exactly that, several different coffees expertly roasted by the roast-master to bring out the best in each bean. Then they are blended to create a balanced, nuanced layer of flavors.
It's In The Water
As explained above, brewed coffee (not including espresso) is over 95% water. Using clean, filtered, or spring water is HIGHLY recommended to allow the taste of the coffee to shine through. A simple Brita pitcher will work just fine, or various under-sink filters also do an excellent job.
We DO NOT recommend brewing coffee with RO processed water (reverse osmosis), distilled water, or water produced by devices such as a Zero Water™. There are two very important reasons for this:
The first being that a lack of mineral content produces FLAT tasting coffee. No one wants that.
The second reason is that it’s been said that using RO or distilled water in electric coffee appliances (such as auto drip coffee makers or espresso machines) can affect the performance of these coffee makers, even to the point of causing them to fail.
Good tasting spring water, if not exceptionally heavy in mineral content is also a good choice.
Ok, it sounds too simple to be true, but quality coffee beans + clean filtered water = GREAT COFFEE!
While that’s true, there’s still one more subject we need to cover.
Methods of Brewing
There are numerous ways to brew an excellent cup of coffee. Now don’t tell grandma, but percolators (in our opinion) do NOT make good coffee. What worked "back when" was not exactly gentle on the coffee, or on your stomach. Excessive heat, excessive brewing time, and over extraction resulted in, dare we say, a BITTER BREW!
There, we said it.
Add to that, what mom/grandma used in those devices was most likely the usual supermarket pre-ground, canned, STALE coffee. We LOVE our mom’s, but they just didn’t have the tools, nor the quality coffees now readily available to EVERYONE these days.
Brewing delicious coffee can be as simple as the ubiquitous “Melita” style hand pour over. Similar, newer methods are the Chemex, Hario V60, Kalita, Clever Cupper, and so forth. Whichever device you choose, you simply heat your water to near boiling, let it rest a few seconds, and slowly pour over your freshly ground coffee. Voila, delicious coffee, and you did it yourself.
These different devices can be purchased for as little as $15. All use either a paper, or metal filter.
The French press, or as some call it, the “press pot” is known world wide as a simple way to brew coffee. (Also called an “immersion” style coffee). This method produces a bit more body in the final cup, though it also allows more coffee oils, and a wee touch of sediment. Still, it is very popular, and French press devices are most reasonably priced, usually between $20-75.
At one time, many years back folks used a device called a vacuum coffee maker, “vac pot” for short. These devices have undergone a new wave of popularity, for they combine the richness of French press coffee, with the clean filtered taste and body of a manual or electric drip. This is another version of “immersion” brewed coffee.
The newest generation of electric “auto-drip” style machines offer many useful functions, and for those who choose these, the quality of the brew has really improved over past generations of machines.
There are literally dozens of these machines in many styles. Avoid those that have a built in grinder. The grinders are of poor quality.
There are now several auto drip coffee makers that are “certified” by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) to produce heated water that is at the recommended 200f. Ask your vendor if they carry machines certified by the SCAA. Improper water temperature, especially when below recommendations can lead to sour tasting coffee.
However you decide to brew your coffee (and we haven’t yet covered the awesome method of espresso extraction!), starting with “specialty” artisan roasted coffee beans is the key to serving some of the best coffee on the planet!