I got a news letter today from Sweet Maria's. They provided a basic "how to" recipe for brewing coffee. I like the concise instructions and the results from using this method so I though I would share it here with my fellow coffee enthusiasts. Here are the instructions:
"When you brew coffee, hot water acts as a solvent, washing the soluble solids out of the coffee grinds and into the brew. Brew methods that use paper filters have only the soluble solids in the cup. Some brew methods - espresso, french press, moka pot - also allow insoluble or suspended solids to enter the brew. Suspended solids add a sense of body to the cup, but can also add bittering tastes.
Most people find that when 20% of soluble solids are extracted from the coffee grounds, the brew has the best flavors. Too much extraction (too fine grind, too long brew time, too hot water, too much coffee in the recipe) and the brew is bitter. On the other hand, under-extraction results in a thin, weak cup. Simply using more coffee grinds cannot fix other brew problems: If you use 20 grams coffee and 350 ML of water and 4 minutes steep time to achieve 20% extraction (it should), using 40 grams coffee with a contact time of 1 minute to compensate will not result in a better cup.
Knowing these simple theories might help you troubleshoot that next bitter, weak, or a flat tasting cup.
This seems simple enough and is a great place to start - especially with a new coffee. I use this method with my Clever Coffee Dripper (found here on ROASTe) and it never fails to get me in the ballpark and often produces a cup exactly like I want. That is good enough for me!
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