How to Brew at Home

So you love the coffee from Ember Coffee and want to recreate the same quality at home. Many beginners find this intimidating, but I’ve got good news for you: while making specialty-grade espresso-based drinks at home is an expensive investment, manual brewing is much more affordable.

From filter coffee to immersion, this article will cover everything you need to get started. Oh, and if you’re wondering where to buy this equipment. Most specialty coffee shops, like Ember Coffee, have their own retail shelf. Just ask us online, or ask one of our barista's for some advice when you visit.

COFFEE BEANS

First things first. You need excellent coffee beans. We recommend getting whole beans rather that pre-ground coffee. Outside of that, it's all down to your personal preference.

Do you like your coffee floral or fruity? Or perhaps you like something a bit more nuttier with tones of chocolate or caramel. Not a problem: just ask one of our local baristas for a recommendation. We sell the beans we brew, so you can have your own taste of Ember Coffee at home.

Just remember, the coffee's profile isn't just about coffee beans. Your brew method will affect it, as will water temperature, grind side, and more. Keep reading for more tips.

BREWING EQUIPMENT

There's an endless number of brewing devices you can chose from. The two main things you need to consider are the flavor profile and the ease of use.

For filter-based, pour over devices, the most famous ones are the Chemex, Hario V60, and Kalita Wave. A pour over coffee tends to have a cleaner profile than an immersion one.

Popular immersion brewing devices, on the other hand, are the AeroPress, Clever Brewer, and French press. These usually produce a greater body.

If you want to get fancy, there are speciality vessels and filters. Varying filters will catch more or less of the oils in the coffee (and, of course, will also have different impacts on the environment).

GRINDER

Here's a simple rule: the fresher the grind, the better the taste! This is why even beginners should buy whole beans and grind them. It gives you a head start.

There are two types of grinder: burr and blade.

Blade grinders are usually much more affordable. What often ends up happening is the finer grounds sift to the bottom while the larger boulder-sized grounds end up on top, barely getting hit by the grinder.

Burr grinders are generally considered superior to blade ones. This is because the coffee will be more evenly ground, which leads to better consistency. (When you make a great coffee, you want to be able to make it again, right?)

LET'S GET STARTED

Measure your coffee

Ideally, a ratio of 1:20 (that's one part coffee to 20 parts water, or about 7.5g of coffee to 150mL of water) makes a fairly strong cup of coffee. That said, some people go as high as 1:14 or as low as 1:30. It's up to you to decide what tastes best, which is much easier to do (and replicate) once you remove all the guesswork.

Pre-infuse your grounds

This preps the coffee by pouring hot water over the grounds to help release any remaining carbon dioxide gas left over from the roasting process. Skipping this step will allow the carbon dioxide to repel water during part of the brewing process, effectively making the brew weaker.

To preinfuse your coffee, insert a filter into the hopper and add your coffee grounds. Then use a kettle to preheat roughly 50 milliliters or quarter-cup of water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Slowly pour the heated water over the grounds, making sure to thoroughly wet all of them. Let this sit for approximately 45 seconds before starting the coffee maker.

Brew at the right temperature

Another step many automatic coffee makers skip is reaching optimal temperature. The desired brew temperature for drip coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Newer, high-end models sometimes have a manual temperature adjustment, but older, cheaper makers do not.

Keep in mind, however, you do not want to exceed 205 degrees, as it will "burn" the coffee. If this doesn't work, you might want to consider upgrading your coffee maker.

Use the right water

The quality of the water you use is another often overlooked aspect of brewing coffee. Using hard water that's full of minerals won't bond well with the dissolved particulates from the coffee, leading to an under-extracted, weak coffee. Big Lake has pretty good water, but even better to use water filtered from chlorine and other additives.