Them: “Meh. This bag of coffee just didn’t really do anything for me”.

Us: “How are you grinding the beans? You’re using a French Press? Try using a coarser grind. It should look similar to sea salt when you steep it.”

Them: “You were right, I LOVED the beans. The tasting notes were *chef’s kiss*. I think this coffee is my new favourite!”

If we had a dollar for every time someone told us they didn’t like a certain coffee that perfectly fit their preferred tasting profile, only to find out that they hadn’t been grinding the beans properly for their brewing method, we’d have…well. We’d have some dollars.

Taking the time to grind your coffee beans correctly will transform your coffee experience. Your coffee will be more flavorful and delicious. Assuming you’re starting with high-quality beans, you’ll be able to determine your coffee’s flavor and strength and taste those chocolate and berry notes we’re always going on about. You’ll be able to brew coffee that rivals your favorite coffee shop (even us, at Square One!).

Why does grind matter?

The easiest, fastest way to up your coffee-making game is to pay attention to how you’re grinding your coffee. Finding the right balance between your preferred brewing method and ground will help you get the best out of your premium Doorstep Barista beans and elevate those tasting notes. 

The size of your grind can make all the difference in your morning brew and dramatically change the taste of your coffee. Grind your beans too fine for your brewing method and you could wind up with an over-extracted, bitter mess. Too coarse, and you’re stuck with a weak, tasteless cup of bean water. Get it just right, and….bliss.

Grinding Machines for Your Home

There are three main types of grinders that work well for the home barista.

  1. Blade grinders. This is the most common home coffee grinder, and they’re easy to find at any store that carries basic kitchen equipment.  With a simple blade and a few speed settings, blade grinders are best for coarse to medium grinds.  Cons: their limited speed settings and single blade doesn’t always deliver consistent results.
  1. Electric Burr grinders. Preferred by many at-home coffee aficionados, these electric grinders use 2 sets of burrs to cut the coffee to the size you tell it too. This will make the grind size more consistent and allow for even extraction. 
  1. Hand grinders. Great for gourmet coffee on-the-go and power outages. Hand grinders are an awesome introduction to burr grinders. They will give you a more consistent grind than the blade grinders. They are also cheaper and more accessible than an electric burr grinder, and are a great option. 

If you’re REALLY serious about your coffee grinds, you may want to consider a flat burr grinder–these are the professional-grade grinders you see at your local cafe, and they come with a price tag to match. The conical shape they’re named for, coupled with multiple speed settings give you the most accurate grind sizes and textures.

Pair Your Grind With Your Favourite Brewing Methods

NOW we pair the right size coffee grounds with your preferred brewing method.

As a general rule of thumb, the longer the water is in contact with the coffee while brewing, the coarser you want your grind to be.

Turkish coffee is made by combining extra finely ground coffee with sugar, water, and spices and boiling in a small pot. Served unfiltered, an extra-fine grind size, similar to powdered sugar, is needed to prevent your drink from being gritty.

Espresso is brewed by forcing water through tightly-compacted coffee grounds. Since contact time with the beans is very short, espresso requires an extra fine to fine grind size.

French presses are an immersion-type brewer; water is poured over the coffee grounds and steeped for several minutes before straining. For this method of brewing, a coarse grind setting works best.

AeroPress is similar to a French press in design and use. The recommended grind size is between medium and fine, depending on how long you choose to steep your beans. The longer you steep the coffee, the coarser a grind you want.

Pour-over brewers can vary depending on the flow of water, though most pour-over methods work best with a medium to medium-fine grind.

A single-cup coffee maker, such as a Keurig or Verismo machine, is a drip brewer method, similar to the commercial drip brewers found in cafes. The contact time is fairly low, meaning it calls for a medium to medium-fine grind size, comparable to that of table salt.

Drip coffee is what you typically get from a cafe or coffee shop and drip coffee makers are found in many North American homes. The water flows through a small hole in the bottom of the brewing basket, making medium-coarse to medium ground beans the perfect size. Be sure to experiment to find the perfect ground size for your specific coffee machine and unique taste.

Cold Brew typically takes between 12-24 hours. With the lower temperature, extraction takes longer, so a coarse or extra coarse grind works great. Plus, it’s easier to filter. You can use a finer grind size, just be sure to decrease the steep time to keep the flavour from getting too bitter.

How To Grind Coffee Beans at Home Without a Grinder

If you’d like to try experimenting with coffee grinds but don’t want to invest in a grinder just yet, you have a few options to test and taste different grinds with tools you already have at home. 

Get us to grind the beans for you! If you’re a Doorstep Barista subscriber and you’re local in the Edmonton area, stop in to either of our cafe’s and we’ll be happy to grind your beans fresh for you–to your specifications–in store. And if you’re out of town, try your local cafe. A lot of times they will be more than happy to grind your coffee for you (just make sure to buy a couple things during your visit).

Use a blender or food processor. Break out your blender, the simple blades and lowest settings should give you decent coarse and medium grinds. 

Try a mortar and pestle. A little more hard-core than the other options, this one takes some time and a bit of elbow grease, but you have complete control over the grind and you can get excellent results (if you have the patience!)

Other kitchen tools. You can grind coffee beans with anything from rolling pins and meat tenderizers to kitchen knives. Pretty much anything can be used to crush, cut and grind beans–you can experiment and work out your frustrations at the same time!

We hope this helps! If you have any questions about how to grind your beans, message us on Instagram or send us an email at hello@doorstepbarista.com.

It’s the middle of July, and here in Edmonton we’re starting to hit the REALLY hot, humid days of summer. A hot coffee just doesn’t seem as appealing when you’re sweating in the heat. Try cold brew instead! It’s the perfect summer drink for coffee lovers; not only is it super refreshing on a sweltering day, but the slow extraction of the cold brewing process results in a rich, smooth flavor. 

What Is Cold Brew?

Cold brew is similar to iced coffee, yet brewed differently. While conventional iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee and then pouring it over ice, cold brew is made by slowly steeping the coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for several hours.

Cold brewing reduces the acidity of coffee, in turn enhancing the natural flavour notes of the beans. The lower acidity is great for those with sensitive stomachs or who prefer a smoother brew. Many who typically add cream and sugar to hot coffee are happy to drink their cold brew straight. Plus, regular coffee usually tastes stale after a day, while cold brew coffee stays fresh for up to a week when refrigerated.

Caffeine levels are generally a bit higher in cold brew than regular coffee, due to the longer steeping time, however cold brew can be just as tasty with decaffeinated beans.

How To Make Cold Brew

You don’t need any fancy gear or instruments to make your own cold brew; chances are you already have everything you need at home. Though, the better quality your coffee beans are to start, the tastier your drink will be. A simple container, a coarse ground coffee and a way to filter out the beans are all you need, though if you have it, a French Press can make the whole process even simpler.

Ingredients

Cold brew is just coffee beans and water, right? Simple. At least in theory.

In reality, every new search for a cold brew recipe will give you a different ratio of ground coffee beans to water, everything from 1:3 parts ground coffee to water (i.e. 1 cup coffee and 3 cups water), all the way to 1:16 parts coffee to water.

At our cafes, we typically use a 1:5 ratio to make a Cold Brew concentrate (1 cup whole beans to 5 cups of water). Then when we’re ready to serve it, we mix 1 part cold brew concentrate to 2 parts water.  

Starting with a concentrate gives us the flexibility to easily switch up drink recipes; if you’re going to make iced lattes with your cold brew, it’s good to start with a stronger concentration so the milk won’t dilute the coffee too much.

Try different ratios and see which works best for you.

Cold Brew ‘Gear’

Instructions

1. Grind your beans on the coarsest setting. If you’re a Doorstep Barista subscriber and happen to be in the Edmonton area, we’re happy to grind your cold brew beans for you at either of our Square One cafes.  

2. Combine your water and ground coffee in a large, covered jar or French Press. You can use a long handled spoon to press the beans down into the water to ensure they’re completely saturated.  

3. Cover the container and let it steep in the refrigerator for 12-18 hours (or up to 24 hours if you prefer a stronger brew). If you’re using a French Press, mix the coffee and water in the chamber and then, without pressing the plunger down, place the French Press in the refrigerator to steep.

Blooming the coffee: Some people like to steep the grounds in a cup of hot water for up to 10 minutes before topping the beans off with cold water, a process called ‘blooming’. It’s thought by some that this gives the coffee a more developed flavour. Try both ways and decide which you prefer!

4. Strain the beans. With its built-in filter, a French Press makes cold brewing super simple. When you’re done steeping, slowly press the plunger down. You can drink as is, or pour the brew through a second, finer coffee filter to remove any leftover sediment.

If you’re doing the jar method, simply strain the coffee through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. You can also pour the mixture through a coffee filter, cheesecloth or even a clean dish towel if you find yourself stuck without a sieve. Discard the used coffee grounds.

5. Store your freshly made cold brew in a sealed, air-tight container in the fridge for up to 7-10 days.

How To Drink Cold Brew

Cold brew is delicious, no matter how you drink it. Serve the coffee plain or over ice. It’s delicious black, or add a dash of milk or cream. If you prefer your coffee a bit sweeter, honey, maple syrup or a simple syrup will mix into your cold coffee easier than granulated sugar. 

And if you make a concentrate, it’s really nice to mix with club soda. You can also add gin or other bitters to cold brew to make a great, fun cocktail!

We hope we’ve inspired you to give cold brew a try! You don’t need to be a professional barista to enjoy cafe-quality cold brew at home and it makes the summer heat a lot more bearable.  Make a fresh batch before you go to bed and wake up to delicious cold brew for your morning coffee fix.