Brewing coffee at home doesn’t have to be difficult, and it can certainly turn out just as good as when your local professional baristas brew a cup for you.
How many times have you opened your cupboard, pulled out your coffee maker and brewed yourself a pot of coffee, only to find yourself incredibly disappointed by the lack of flavor or bitterness in your cup? If you’re like me when I first got started brewing coffee at home, it never quite tasted as good as when I went to my favorite local coffee shop and had a hand-brewed cup of coffee from the best baristas I knew at the time.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the quality of a freshly brewed cup of coffee, but if you ask us, there’s probably one that’s more important than all of the others (to a degree). No matter what brewing method you use, how much practice you’ve had with that brewing method or even which roaster you get your coffee from, if you follow this one single tip, you will have a significantly better cup of coffee every single time you brew at home. Don’t take that to mean those other things aren’t important, of course, just that when we look at why most people hate brewing coffee at home, this is the one key point that can to be improved upon the most.
It all comes back to the coffee beans
If you think you can’t possibly brew a good cup of coffee at home, then I’m going to have to first ask you to “stop”. Stop listening to coffee enthusiasts tell you this brewing method or that brewing method is “better than all others”, because that’s just a matter of personal opinion. The angle that you pour your water in has less affect on your quality of drink than this single most important thing. Even the brand of coffee that you purchase from might not determine how much you enjoy your coffee (that’s why we feature so many different brands each month).
It’s really simple. If you want to brew great coffee at home, whether with a french press, auto-drip coffee maker, Aeropress of even the quick and easy Keurig, the best way to improve your daily cup is freshly roasted and well sourced beans from an excellent, small-batch specialty coffee roaster.
Basically, when you buy coffee beans for the house, always:
- Buy from a trusted specialty coffee roaster
- Make sure it was roasted in the last week
- Buy the coffee in very small quantities to make sure you always have a fresh supply (and to cut back on old, wasted coffee – we hate waste)
- Buy coffee whole bean and grind it yourself
Coffee is a finicky thing. It’s a produce, and like all produce, it’s better when it’s fresh. It doesn’t matter how you store it, if coffee sits for longer than three weeks after the roast date, it will start to dramatically lose its flavor.
Science backs it up, too. Over time, coffee becomes oxidized and breaks down essential chemical compounds, nutrients and acids that won’t last longer than a few weeks outside of a healthy, green coffee bean. Grinding coffee accelerates that process by a substantial amount, which is why we ALWAYS recommend using your own grinder at home (and tell Bob Evan’s and Starbucks they’re lying when they say “Fresh Ground Coffee” – it’s NEVER fresh when it’s pre-ground).
Think about this, too: The first time you open a bag of new coffee and you get that big whiff of aromas coming out of the bag, you’re actually smelling tiny particles of that coffee floating in the air. Over time, more and more of those particles are lost to the air, and they aren’t coming back either. Given enough time, those excellent flavors will practically vanish from your next cup of joe. No wonder your cousin doesn’t like coffee! The only stuff she has is 3 years old, pre-ground and been sitting in a plastic jug on her counter!
This is also the #1 reason why we ship coffee in small sizes (no larger than 12oz bags) immediately after we get them from the roaster. Coffee just doesn’t give the same kick of flavor if it’s been sitting for a few weeks, and our goal is to create better coffee experiences, not just your every-day normal coffee experiences.
It’s surprising how many people don’t realize the importance of this one, very simple step and how it affects the flavor of your coffee. Try it for yourself for a few weeks and see if you agree. We aren’t just assuming the outcome, we absolutely KNOW that you will see a huge difference between the old coffee in your pantry, and the bag you just bought fresh from the roaster.
In the future, we’ll look more at the techniques of storing, sourcing and brewing coffee. For now, though, just stay true to this one thing, that freshly roasted, whole bean coffee is substantially better than anything you’ll buy in a major chain retail store that’s pre-ground, and you’re already most of the way to an excellent cup of coffee at home.
Need help finding a great Roaster in your area?
Send us an email and we’ll help you: firstname.lastname@example.org