SCR Coffee Blog

  • The Basics: How to drink a better cup of coffee...

    The Basics:  How to drink a better cup of coffee...

    This one is simple...Don't drink coffee that's too hot!  Duh, right?

    Q:  Why is this a big deal?

    A:  Well aside from burning your tongue, which really sucks, it is well known that the flavor of coffee changes as it cools.

    Coffee experts agree that the ideal temperature for drinking coffee is about 155-175 F. This is especially important when you're drinking fresh roasted specialty coffees that have undertones of fruits or chocolates. Those flavors definitely come out more as the coffee cools a little.

    Q: So how do you know when your coffee is at the ideal temp?

    A:  That depends on several factors, such as the method of brewing (how hot the water was going in vs coming out) and type of mug you drinking from. The key here is to experiment...maybe wait 5 min after brewing and then drink your coffee over an extended period of time - this way you will sample it at different temperatures. No doubt you will taste a difference. 

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  • The Basics: How to Make a Better Cup of Coffee by Adjusting Grind Size

    The Basics: How to Make a Better Cup of Coffee by Adjusting Grind Size

    First...good for you for reading this!  We're going to make this easy and the payoff in terms of the taste of your coffee is going to be night vs day!

    The coffee brewing process can be complex and there are plenty of variables to learn about later.  Let's appreciate the complexity, but not drown in it

    We're going to explain the basics of brewing so that you can make a flavorful and delicious cup of coffee every single time.

    The one term you do need to understand: Extraction

    It's simple...there are soluble compounds inside the coffee that impart flavor and body. Hot water will "pull out" or extract those flavors...and that's brewing!

    If you're experiencing poor tasting coffee is most likely because it was either under-extracted or over-extracted during brewing 

    Under-extracted:  Your coffee is lacking flavor, it's tea-like, or sour

    Over-extracted:  Your coffee is tasting too bitter or a general unpleasant taste

    Ideal extraction:  Balanced sweetness and body, complex and delicious...brewing perfection!

    Note:  Old, stale coffee will produce a bad taste no matter how good you brew it, so let's assume you are buying fresh roasted coffee :)  

    The simplest way to adjust your extraction is to adjust the grind size of your coffee  

    Think about water flowing through a funnel that is filled with sand.

    Fine sand will be more compact and it will take a longer time for water to flow through = increased extraction

    Coarse sand will be loose and porous and water will flow through faster = decreased extraction

    So let's think about it by answering this common question...

    Q:  I have an auto-drip brewer and therefore can't control the flow of water, so how do I increase or decrease extraction?  

    Although you can't control the flow rate of water over the grinds with an Auto-drip, you can still adjust extraction by adjusting the coffee grind size.

    If your coffee is tasting under extracted...grind finer and the water will take longer to flow through, thus increasing extraction.

    If your coffee is tasting over extracted...grind coarser and the water will flow through faster, thus decreasing extraction.  

    Here's a chart showing the range of grind sizes and the best brew methods for each:

    Bottom Line:  If your coffee is tasting just blah and you're not experiencing its full flavor...experiment with different grind sizes. 

    Move in the direction of grinding finer until your coffee starts to taste a little  bitter (over extracted), THEN go back up one level coarser and that's the ideal grind size. 

    Congratulations you have just leveled up!  

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  • The Basics - Part 1: So what is specialty coffee anyway?

    The Basics - Part 1: So what is specialty coffee anyway?

    In a nutshell....Specialty coffee is high quality coffee that meets the strict requirements of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) which include standards in all parts of the coffee supply chain.  Producers of specialty coffee constantly have their coffee graded and rated.  Specialty coffee is Arabica coffee with a grade of 80 or above (out of 100) when "cupped" or taste tested by a certified Q grader.  This represents only about 10% of all Arabica beans worldwide!    

    This sets specialty coffee apart from “gourmet" coffee or regular commodity coffee, which have no strict definition and therefore could be decent quality coffee, or just good marketing.

    Specialty coffee producers must pay attention to quality at every stage. Since the beans can’t have defects, the coffee plants need to be carefully cultivated and harvested at the right time, producers must adhere to best processing practices, and storage protocols.

    The specialty coffee movement has actually been driven by the consumer!  It is part of the "third wave" coffee movement which refers to the modern demand by consciousness consumers for exceptional quality coffee that is sustainably farmed, roasted and brewed to a significantly higher than average standard.

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