Black Oak Brew Tips #1
There is no single way to brew coffee that works for you, but we thought we’d get the conversation going on some ways we think you can up your coffee game. We hope this will be an ongoing series and encourage your input.
The following are some thoughts to keep in mind as you perfect your brewing technique, especially if single-origins and lighter roasts are a new adventure for you.
The method of brewing can depend on the type of roast
For light roasted, single origin coffees, french press typically isn't our first choice for brewing. We prefer manual and auto pour over methods, chemex, or for the more ambitious - syphon pots. We find that these brewing methods, when using correct recipes, water temps, and proper techniques, produce superior cup clarity, aromatics, and body compared to french press.
For our darker roasted coffees we do tend to prefer french press.
Picture perfect doesn’t necessarily mean best flavor
A lot of our most delicious roasts could be described as looking "raggedly." While beans should have a uniform color and appearance, the small, imperfect beans are totally normal. This is typical for lighter roasted coffees especially with some of the heirloom light roasted coffees from Ethiopia.
Also, the hotter the beans get, the larger they get in size. Lighter roasted coffee simply doesn't expand in size like dark roasted beans do.
Leaving a bad taste in your mouth? It may not be the beans.
Light brown or otherwise tea-like appearance and thin flavors can mean brew water temperatures are too low. Lighter roasted coffees are less water soluble and this means proper brew temp is especially critical to avoid insipid flavors, and if you happen to combine that with the grounds sitting a little too long in contact with your liquid coffee in the press (more than 5 or 10 minutes) you can definitely experience some bitter flavors and lighter, less dense colors as the water starts to extract less desirable components as the coffee sits.
Your brew water should be at least 205 degrees f. which should lead to the slurry (ground coffee and brew water mixture) being somewhere between 199f and 202f after you pour from your kettle. If you don’t have one of these fancy temperature gauges, you can basically bring your water to a rolling boil, turn off heat, let sit for 30 seconds, then pour.
Different Roasters for Different Folksers
Buying a specific coffee like Yirgacheffe from one roaster doesn’t in any way mean that same bean from another roaster will taste the same. Our philosophy behind these special selections is a very light, hands-off approach in the roaster. This means we are focused only on showcasing the flavor of the coffee rather than the roast. We understand that this flavor profile isn't for everyone, and for someone used to a darker roast, sometimes our coffees may be perceived as sour, acidic, or otherwise distinct.
You aren’t alone
The quest for a perfect brew is an ongoing one, but it’s a worthy pursuit. We love talking coffee, almost to a fault, just ask our significant others! We’d love to talk with you about getting your brew routine dialed in.