ANVIL at Home

You dont need an espresso machine at home to enjoy ANVIL...

There are a wide variety of brewing methods when it comes to coffee. No single technique is the ‘best’ way and each person will have a personal preference.

Choosing the right method can vary depending on lots of things. What you need first thing in the morning isn't necessarily what you crave mid-afternoon. Sometimes a full-bodied espresso will hit the spot, other times a fruity Kenyan single origin will sort you out.

Both quality and flavour of your coffee are not only determined by the brewing process you use but also by the type of coffee.  For example, coffee from specific countries will have distinct characteristics. Even changing between the region and what variety of coffee tree will alter this. Using a specific bean from one country or region is known as a single origin. This differs from what is commonly used known as a blend (a selection from several countries, regions or varieties)

The roasting profile is also a factor, dark and light roasts of the bean will taste completely different from one another.  Throw in the type of grind and you realise that there are lots of variables to play around with!

Be creative………. you can choose a darker espresso roast coffee and still have it ground to be brewed in a drip system. There are no set rules!

Having said that there are guidelines you should follow to ensure that you produce the best cup of coffee possible regardless of what you are using.

To make sure the quality of every cup of coffee you prepare is consistent, try working to the following principles…..

The Equipment

Make sure that your equipment is thoroughly cleaned after each use. The simple way is to rinse with hot water and dry it with some blue roll. Make sure that no grounds have been left in any part of the equipment. As important check there is no build-up of coffee oils. This is because the residue can give a bitter, rancid flavour to future cups of coffee.

The Coffee

Fresh roasted coffee is essential to a great cup of coffee. Try to buy coffee that has been roasted recently. If the coffee doesn’t have a roasted date it potentially could be missing as the production involved may result in the coffee being stored for a long period of time. Purchase your coffee in small amounts so you can to keep it fresh easier. Realistically, only purchase around 1-2 weeks supply.

The Grind

If you buy whole bean coffee, always grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible. The 2 types of grinders available are burr and blade. A burr grinder is preferable as all of the coffee is ground to a consistent size. If you normally grind your coffee at home with a blade grinder, try having it ground at either your local coffee shop or supplier with a burr grinder. You will be surprised at the difference!

Do not underestimate the importance of the size of the grind to the taste of your coffee. If your coffee tastes bitter, it may be over extracted, or ground too fine. On the flip side if your coffee tastes weak or acidic, it may be under extracted, meaning that your grind is too coarse. Most suppliers will be able to grind your coffee specifically to your equipment whether it be an AeroPress or pour over etc.

Before using the coffee, try rubbing some of the grounds between your fingers so that you can 'feel' the grind and become acquainted with the differences in size. This will help you become familiar with the different types of grind.

Never reuse your coffee grounds. Once it has been brewed, the coffee flavours have been extracted leaving only the harsh, bitter taste.

The Water

The water you use is VERY important to the quality of your coffee. Use filtered or bottled water where possible as many parts of the UK, particularly the South has very hard water that is full of lime scale. Other factors to consider are what is added to the tap water. Strong tasting chlorine and fluoride levels will alter the taste of your coffee. Make sure you use cold water and do not use distilled or softened water.

Ratio of Coffee to Water

Make sure you use the proper amount of coffee for every six ounces of water that is actually brewed, remembering that some water is lost to evaporation in certain brewing methods. A general guideline is 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. 

Water Temperature During Brewing

Your equipment should maintain a water temperature between 195 - 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction.  Colder water will result in flat, under extracted coffee while water that is too hot will also cause a loss of quality in the taste of the coffee.  If you are brewing the coffee manually, let the water come to a full boil, but do not over boil. Turn off the heat source and allow the water to rest a minute before pouring it over the grounds.

Brewing Time

The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important factor affecting the taste of your coffee. In a drip system, the contact time should be approximately 5 minutes. If you are making your coffee using a French press, the contact time should be 2-4 minutes. Espresso, as the name implies, means that the brew time is short and for optimum extraction the coffee is in contact with the water for only 20-30 seconds. If the taste of your coffee is not how it should, it is possible that you are either over extracting (the brew time is too long) or under extracting (the brew time is too short) your coffee. Play around with the contact time until you can make a cup of coffee that suits your tastes perfectly.

After Your Coffee Has Been Brewed

Brewed coffee should be enjoyed immediately!

Pour it into a warmed mug or coffee cup so that it will maintain its temperature as long as possible. Brewed coffee begins to lose its flavours just moments after brewing so only brew as much coffee as will be need at the time. If it will be a few minutes before it will be served, the temperature should be maintained at 180 - 185 degrees Fahrenheit.  It should never be left on an electric burner for longer than 15 minutes because it will begin to develop a burned, stewed taste. If the coffee is not to be served immediately after brewing, it should be poured into a warmed, insulated thermos and used within the next 45 minutes.

Never reheat your coffee.

Enjoy Your Coffee!

A finely prepared cup of coffee should be enjoyed as thoughtfully as it was brewed.  Take a moment to smell the aroma. Take a sip and notice your coffee's flavour. How does it compare to other coffees with regard to body, acidity and balance?  If it is a coffee that is new to you, notice how it is different.  If it is what you normally drink, note its degree of freshness or how simple changes in preparation affect the cup's flavour.

A steeping cup of coffee will not last long, but every sip is meant to be savoured and enjoyed!