If you know a few basic flavor concepts, it’s easy to make better coffee. It doesn’t matter what your brew method is. Whether you're making drip, espresso, press, pour over, or you’ve got an automatic bean-to-cup machine, these basic concepts will help you fine-tune flavor and make better coffee.
When it comes to brewing coffee and espresso, there are already a ton of factors like temperature, consistency of grind, fines, roast profile, freshness, and of course the origin of the coffee that will impact the flavor in your cup. Adding to the complexity is the fact that your water may contain any number of contaminants (or minerals) that will impact the taste and affect the extraction of your coffee.
Boilers for the modern espresso machine speak to their purpose through the materials used to construct them. These materials are varied, and sometimes a combination of materials are used when boilers are manufactured. The composition of a boiler should be strongly considered, but it is hard to say exactly when one one material is better than the other.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just say, "oh, that’s easy use a 3 for espresso, 20 for drip and 30 for press?" Unfortunately, even though most burr grinders have some reference numbers for grind size, the problem is they don’t transfer between grinders. So you can’t just say, if you have grinder “X” you should set it to such and such number for making drip coffee. This guide will help you zero in on the proper grind size depending on your brewing method and learn how grind affects flavor.
The French press is both a device and method for brewing coffee. The device itself is simply a container with a plunger attached to a metal filter, which separates the grounds from the brewed coffee. A major advantage of this brew method is the precision afforded the brewer, given the control over the grind size, water temperature and steeping time. As with any brew method, adjusting any of these elements allows you to personalize what ends up in your cup.
The AeroPress gets a lot of odd remarks. Although it looks better suited for use on the set of Breaking Bad or Grey’s Anatomy and was developed by a sport toy company, don’t let that confuse you out of trying it. This brewer is adored by the coffee community, and for good reason: at just under thirty bucks it’s extremely affordable, plus it’s quick and easy to use.
Ideally, steamed milk should be velvety and sweet. For a properly frothed milk, your milk relies on three things: lactose, proteins, and fats. Lactose is responsible for the sweet flavors in milk. Proteins create the stability for the formation of foam. Fats create richness in the milk, imbuing the froth with body and velvety texture for a superb mouthfeel. When milk is heated the sugars from lactose begin to caramelize. A good target range for milk froth is somewhere between 140-150 °F. Exceeding this causes the milk to lose its sweetness and flavor.