Creativity is a must for today’s small businesses and it is no different at BPR. We cup our coffees weekly (officially weekly….but everyday we brew something different) and was finding that the taste from one of our blends was deviating from the desired profile. So we went into root cause analysis mode checking bean roast profiles, water quality, and grind level. The reality is that the taste of a cup is driven by many factors. You may laugh when we say try it at home…..but that is really because the variables you control change the taste. In our case, the tested batch of suspect coffee was still degassing since it was less than 6 hours old which gives it an airy and light profile that was not a bold as our historical cupping sheets portrayed. We also checked our water filter cartridge and validated the roast profile on the next run to assure all controllable parameters were within specification.
Couple tidbits for making a consistent cup:
Grind Level – first of all, fresh ground from whole beans on a controllable burr grinder is a must. Grinding 15 minutes before brewing is optimal but night before is also okay. Change the grind level to assure a 4 minute brew time in your drip machine. For espresso, make sure the espresso stream is consistent (no drip drip) and smaller than a 1/8 inch diameter.
Water temperature – Needs to maintain 200 deg F (+/- 5F) during the entire brew cycle (not just at the beginning of the cycle). I use a kitchen thermometer in the basket of my drip machine to validate.
Coffee – only buy bags with vents from the grocery store which means you might have a chance at freshness. OR buy coffee with a roasted on date and use it less than 90 days if well packaged and 60 days if substandard package. A good package will have no windows that let in UV light, be sealed with one way valve, and not made of paper.
Enjoy experimenting with different roasters, origins, and mining your own perfect cup of coffee.