Two things you must have if you want to up your coffee game:
- A kitchen scale accurate to at least 1 gram
- A burr grinder, manual or electric
Weight vs. Volume
Some of you who have done cooking or looked up a famous chef or baker’s recipe knows that many of them don’t use volumetric measurements. Pretty much any baker or cook outside of the U.S. can instantly recognize an American recipe because it uses volume measurements like teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, pints or quarts.
If you want to make your life easier with coffee, use the metric system. Grams of coffee to milliliters of water (this is where the kitchen scale comes in). A milliliter of water weighs exactly 1 gram so it makes this incredibly easy. Most roasters recommend a ratio from between 1:15 to 1:17 for drip and pour over coffee.
If your coffee recipe involves number of scoops per cups of water, consider switching to a weight based recipe. Coffee beans come in all different sizes and water content and using a volume measure like a scoop is not at all precise.
Check out our post about kitchen scales.
The single most important thing to adjust the taste of your coffee is the size of the grind. It is recommended that you don’t alter anything else about your coffee recipe other than the grind size to adjust the taste. So if your coffee is too bitter, the solution isn’t to add more water to dilute it, the answer is to adjust your grind coarser. If your coffee is weak or sour you need to adjust the grind finer. The only way you can get a consistent and even grind, is to use a burr grinder.
A blade grinder works like a food processor or blender and just chops your coffee beans into inconsistent chunks of coffee. Invest in a burr grinder, this will cost anywhere from $80-140 for a decent electric grinder.
For each type of coffee you get, ideally you should adjust your grind finer and finer until you taste that bitterness you don’t like, the adjust it coarser just a little to know you are getting the ideal extraction level.
Check out our grinder recommendations here and our review of two of the most popular entry level grinders here.