Here are some tips on how to get better control of your brewing techniques:
1. Use accurate measurements every time
Get yourself a digital scales and a good measuring tool for water to erase inaccurate measurements. Making tasty coffee consistently is impossible by using eye measurements. Consistency is a result of precision and discipline.
2. Use freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee of good quality
Make sure you know when the coffee was roasted. It should be written on the bag or in worst case you would have ask your supplier. Coffee is at its best within 4 weeks of roasting. Invest in a good coffee grinder (not the cheap blade grinders). A grinder is like having a wine opener. Coffee oxidises quickly after it is ground and you need to be able to adjust the grind size depending on brew method and ratios.
3. Use correct coffee to water ratios
This will vary from coffee to coffee and from brewing device to brewing device. Look in our specific brewing guides for details, but a rule of thumb is to always use 65g of coffee per litre of water. If that gives you a weak coffee then adjust your grinder finer and vice versa if the coffee is too strong.
4. Use correct grind particle size
This will vary from coffee to coffee, from brewing device to brewing device but it also depends on how much coffee you want to brew on methods like drip / filter brewing. Look in our specific brewing guides for details.
5. Use correct contact time
It is very easy to under-extract coffee. The contact time between coffee and water is therefore crucial for a balanced brew. The contact time will of course vary from one minute on an Aeropress to six minutes using the old style Norwegian “kokekaffe” (steeped coffee in a kettle) and is related to how fine or coarse you grind the coffee. Use a stopwatch to make sure contact time is sufficient.
6. Use good quality water
In Norway we are blessed with great tap water, but if you notice any off-taste in your tap water (like chlorine) or you have problems with calcium in your water use filtered water. A simple carbon filter will remove off tastes, but removing calcium requires sophisticated filtration systems like the affordable Peak water or similar.
7. Clean your brewing equipment after every brew
Coffee tastes stale, rancid and bitter when made on dirty equipment.
8. Stay humble and open-minded
Sometimes you can get great coffee by doing the wrong things too. Remember, taste is what matters.