Brew an Excellent Cup
Each coffee purchased for roasting at Alpen Sierra is "cupped" by our dedicated team of coffee professionals. We encourage everyone to learn more about cupping so that all can fine tune their desires and insure quality in the cup.
Each person is different in their interpretations of what they like. Trust your senses. If you like it, drink it. If not, get something you do like.
Here's what to look, smell and taste for:
- Are the following components of good coffee favorable in your cup?
- Fragrance. The smell of fresh ground coffee.
- Aroma. The smell of fresh brewed coffee.
- Flavor. The predominant taste in the cup.
- Acidity. The "brightness" of the cup on the palate.
- Body or Mouthfeel. The tactile impression of the brew in and around the mouth.
- Aftertaste. Is it clean or muddy, short or lingering?
Note: Let the cup cool a bit. Heat masks nuances and defects alike.
Other factors that have a profound effect on the quality of your cup:
- Freshness - Buy smaller quantities more often and store your coffee properly.
- Roast degree.
- New or past crop coffee.
- Quality and degree of grind. This can mean the difference between a deliciously sweet and utterly bitter brew. Insure that your mill or grinder has relatively new and sharp blades or have us grind it for you.
- Quality of water.
- Type of brewer and temperature of water.
Whole beans are best stored fresh in an airtight container in a cool and dark location in your kitchen. Avoid direct sunlight. Buy enough coffee for a seven to ten day supply, provided it is freshly roasted (our coffees are roasted to your order and shipped same day express). For storage of ten days to four weeks, store beans airtight in the refrigerator. Canning jars or plastic food storage containers work well. For long term, more than four weeks, store beans in sealed container in freezer. Ground coffee should be stored in sealed container in freezer.
- Use ENOUGH coffee
By volume: One Standard Coffee Measure of ground coffee per SIX ounces water (most brewers are delineated by six ounce cup measurements).
By weight: One-half ounce of coffee per EIGHT ounces of water.
- Use good quality water.
98.5% of your cup is water. Make sure it is fresh, cold and filtered. Hot, but NOT boiling water. 200dF (93dC) is optimum. Above 5,000 Ft (1,524 M) let the water boil in order to get the temperature as close to optimum as possible.
- The Right Grind
Use the proper degree of grind for your brewing method. Experiment with grinding several degrees of coarseness, maintaining consistent coffee:water volume ratios, to obtain your optimum flavor, OR ask us or any qualified coffee retailer to grind you a sample for your brewer type. Keep this sample next to your grinder as a target when home grinding.
- French press -
Portion coffee into beaker; fill hot water to upper chrome metal band on press pot; carefully insert plunger filter disc onto top of water/coffee; allow three + minutes steeping / extraction time at table; plunge discs slowly and serve into cups.
SINGLE CUP POUR-OVER: Hario V60, Kalita, Melitta, Beehouse, et al, pour-over cones - These make wonderfully fresh and rich cups. General portioning per 16 oz (one pint) of water: 36 - 40 grams or three scoops (Standard Coffee Measure = 2 tablespoons).
Pre-heat / rinse filters in brew cones prior to adding coffee grounds; pre-wet coffee grounds for "bloom" (de-gassing and expansion of coffee bed); wait 20 seconds; pour water using a spiraling method from middle of bed outward in pulses, every ten seconds until complete.
- Drip brewers are convenient.
"V" or flat bottom filters work well.
Portion coffee @ 1 standard coffee measure (2 tablespoons):six ounces water.
Watch the water temperature on older and cheaper brewers. The thermostats tend to burn out.
When possible, use a semi-permanent gold filter for best flavor extraction.
Always rinse brown paper filters in water before use for better extraction results.
- Toddy Chilled Coffee Concentrate Preparation
One pound of coarse drip ground coffee. Grind coffee into Toddy filter, insuring that cloth filter and rubber plug are in place in bottom. Add nine - 8 oz cups of freshly drawn cold water to coffee. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to infuse 12 hours (overnight is best). Pull plug from bottom and allow concentrate to drain into container.
To prepare chilled coffee:
One part Toddy coffee concentrate : Three parts cold water
Espresso brewers require more attention to portioning and degree of grind to obtain a balanced flavor with good crema. Pump driven machines are best.
AVOID percolating. Boiling coffee through coffee results in extreme volatile chemical conversions and tend to be a more bitter cup.
Store brew in an airtight, non-heated dispenser when extraction is complete. External heat and oxygen work rapidly to affect volatile chemical changes in the brew, destroying balance and flavor.
Full-fermented, black tea, requires boiling water.
Oolong tea water temp @ 180-190 F.
Green, white, silver teas water temp @ 170F.
Portion 2 teaspoons per cup.