Come clean about your coffee blunders

January 03, 2012

I believe it’s cathartic to discuss the silly things you’ve done with your coffee. We all make mistakes! The key is to laugh them off, learn from them, and humbly but fearlessly move on. In that spirit, here are a few of my recent blunders.

1. When making a Clever brew, it’s key to not put the Clever dripper onto your mug until you’re ready for the plunge. Sounds obvious, right? If you’re sleep-deprived enough, not necessarily.

2. On the contrary, when brewing coffee using any single-serve machine, I’ve found it’s crucial to put your mug where it belongs right from the start. Thankfully, some of these things (my Grindmaster OPOD in particular) come with high-capacity drip trays.

3. It’s also been brought to my attention that you should try to avoid spilling your coffee all over the floor (see here). Although clean-up afterward is much easier if you spill prior to grinding. Oh, and if you’ve recently swept and mopped.

4. Speaking of grinding, I highly recommend choosing your desired setting before you add your carefully pre-measured quantity of beans to the hopper when single-dosing.

5. I’m confident the Aeropress fans among us would agree that a paper filter is necessary (as opposed to optional), no? Without one, the “sediment” you get at the bottom of your Aeropress cup bears a striking resemblance to gravel.

6. Finally, if you’re planning on calculating the weight of your water on the fly in grams when brewing pourover-style using, say, a Beehouse dripper, make sure you’re good at math. For 15 g. of ground coffee, you’ll want to add something like 240 g. of water, give or take a few (depending on taste). Multiplying the weight of the ground coffee by 30 instead of the desired volume of water (8 oz. in my case; 1 oz. of water = roughly 30 g.) will lead to serious overflow—that is, unless you drink from a beer stein.*

Feel like confessing your coffee screw-ups? Give that comment section a workout.

* As you might have guessed re: (6), I sometimes do my “on the fly” math in the following roundabout way: start with X g. of ground coffee, divide X in half and round up to get the desired water volume in oz., then multiply that figure by 30 to convert the target to gram weight. Example: 15 g. ground coffee / 2 = 7.5 oz., rounded up = 8 oz. X 30 = 240 g. water. A much easier, less error-prone method would be to just assume a 1:16 coffee-to-water ratio (in grams); example: 15 g. ground coffee X 16 = 240 g. water. But I enjoy a challenge, and I find multiplying by 30 (i.e. by 3, then adding a zero) is easier to do in my head than multiplying by 16.



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