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Brewing great coffee at home shouldn’t be mysterious

We tend to favor, manual brewers like the French press and the single-cup dripper ourselves. But you can improve your brews no matter the method with some of these coffee basics.

Fresh Coffee

Buy whole bean coffee. In general, brew within 30 days of the roast date on the bag.

Burr Grinder

Coffee grinders come in two varieties: blade and burr. Blade grinders haphazardly chop your coffee into various sizes, while burr grinders cut it to a relatively consistent size, producing a grind more capable of yielding even, delicious extractions.

Filtered Water

Water that tastes or smells off (e.g., chlorine, sulfur, iron) will inevitably produce off notes in your brew. Distilled water won’t yield a full extraction. Use filtered tap or spring water.

Brewing Rules of Thumb


Choose a clean filter that will not impart taints. Metal filters tend to retain funk and detergent taints; they need extra-mild soap, hot water, and elbow grease before use. Paper filters can yield paper notes; We like Kalita filters and Chemex brands.


Coffee should be brewed right around 200°F. Be sure to pre-heat your brewing equipment with hot water; this enables you to brew without exaggerated heat loss through initial contact with room-temp ceramic, glass, coffee grounds, etc. If you don’t use a thermometer, use water right off the boil to brew close to 200°F.

Brew Ratios

 Volume: 1 tablespoon of coffee to 3 ounces of water

Weight: 1 gram of coffee to 17 grams of water


Depends on brewing method. French Press 4 minutes while drippers drip between 2.5-4.5 minutes.


Use a burr grinder to select a grind/particle size appropriate for your brew method. Grind just before brewing. In general, coarser grinds correlate with longer extraction times as with French press and other full immersion brewers. Medium to finer grinds correlate with slightly shorter extraction times as with drippers and Aeropress brews. Experiment. Dial in to balance sweetness, flavor clarity, and body without over-extracting and introducing bitterness and astringency.