Storing & Brewing Your Coffee
Storing Your Coffee
Store your beans in an airtight container and grind them just prior to brewing. If you must store your beans for longer than a week, we suggest storing them in an airtight container in a dark cupboard.
Stale coffee is bitter and the flavor is flat at best and rancid at worst. Staleness comes from exposure to air over a period of time, so the solution is to buy coffee from a source (like Audubon Coffee) that packages it in a vacuum-sealed bag while still warm from roasting.
Grinding is critical. Ground too coarse and you get weak coffee. Ground too fine and you get bitter coffee. The blade grinders that are sold in most stores do an adequate job. We suggest grinding for 10 to 12 seconds, and adjust that time to your taste. Proper grind is the key step in making coffee, so do it carefully.
To get the best tasting drink, you should start with a ratio of two tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water and adjust to your taste. Use the best possible water available. Tap water should be free of any strange flavors, odors or textures. If it is not, then use filtered or bottled water. Avoid distilled or softened water since some minerals are essential to coffee flavor. Tap water should be cold and allowed to run for a few seconds to aerate it before it goes into a maker or water kettle.
Water should be heated to just below boiling (200 degrees F.). For drip brewers, the brew cycle should be completed in 4-6 minutes. Other good methods are the "French Press" and "Vacuum pot" which brew in about 4 minutes. Avoid percolators and electric pots with brew cycles that take longer than 6 minutes. These will over-extract the coffee and cause bitterness.
Serve brewed coffee within 30 minutes or store it in a "thermal" or insulated carafe. Coffee will remain fresh and tasty in this kind of container for 45 – 60 minutes. Coffee that has been left exposed to air or left on a hot burner deteriorates rapidly. To keep coffee warm, "prime" a thermal carafe by pre-filling it with hot water ahead of time, then emptying it of the warming water and filling it with the freshly made coffee. This method also works to warm up cold ceramic mugs.
There is no purpose in re-pouring or re-perking brewed coffee through spent grounds. Any desirable flavor elements have already been extracted. Only bitter oils remain. Re-heating brewed coffee -- even in a microwave -- breaks down coffee's many delicate components, leaving only a warm beverage with a poor flavor.