How to Brew Specialty and Competition style Coffee at Home
Hey there coffee nerds and pros! Oskar here, CEO of Standout Coffee, and today I'm excited to open up my jar of beans and reveal the secret to brewing the perfect cup of competition and specialty coffee, right in the comfort of your home.
Brewing specialty coffee is an art form that requires a little know-how and some experimentation. But fear not, because I'm here to guide you through the process step by step. Get ready to embark on a flavorful journey as we dive into the secrets of brewing specialty coffee at home!
Start with Freshly Roasted Specialty Coffee Beans:
The foundation of a great cup of coffee is fresh, high-quality beans (preferably from Standout Coffee). When it comes to specialty coffee or competition style coffee, freshness is key to unlocking the complex flavors and aromas. Look for specialty coffee beans that have been recently roasted and ideally have a roast date within two to three weeks of your purchase. Trust me, the difference in flavor is worth it!
-When we roast coffee for barista competitions, we, and the baristas using our coffee, usually ends up with coffees that are roasted 14-17 days prior to the competition. For me I think the coffee tasted amazing for 3-4 months after roasting, if you store it in a correct way.
Invest in a Burr Grinder for Consistent Grind Size:
Next on our journey to the perfect cup of specialty coffee is the grinder, and no its not called shredder, that’s a character from The Ninja Turtles. Investing in a burr grinder is a game-changer when it comes to achieving a consistent grind size. A burr grinder ensures that your coffee grounds are uniform, which is crucial for an even extraction and balanced flavor in your cup.
-I remember when we sat at the World stage in Melbourne, the home boy Matt Perger used the EK43 on stage for the first time and after that we got our hands on this grinder -The difference in taste was remarkable. The flavors were more pronounced, and there was a newfound clarity in the cup. You don’t need to go all in on a €3000 grinder but the more money you put on the grinder there better it will taste, trust me. Being a good grinder is an investment that I highly recommend if you're serious about brewing specialty coffee at home. A super solid start is the world famous grinder from Hario.
Dial in the Right Coffee-to-Water Ratio:
Finding the perfect coffee-to-water ratio is essential for a well-balanced cup of specialty coffee. While the general guideline is a ratio of 6-7 grams to 100 grams of water, feel free to experiment and adjust to suit your taste preferences. A digital scale is a helpful tool to ensure accuracy in measuring your ingredients.
-It took me a few tries to find my preferred coffee-to-water ratio. I started with the general guideline but found that I preferred a slightly stronger brew. So, I made small adjustments until I hit that sweet spot where the flavors were just right for my palate. Now we have boiled this recipe down to the Double Bloom Recipe where we use 15 grams of coffee to 250 grams of water, watch the full brew guide here.
Optimize Water Temperature for Flavor Extraction:
Water temperature plays a significant role in extracting the flavors from your specialty coffee beans. Aim for a water temperature between 195°F (90°C) and 205°F (96°C) for most brewing methods. However, don't be afraid to experiment within this range to bring out different flavor nuances in your coffee.
-If you brew coffee with water that was too hot, usually the result is a cup that is bitter and overpowering. I've been experimenting a lot with water temperature and have found that slight adjustments can make a big difference in the final flavor profile of the coffee.
Master Your Brewing Method of Choice:
There are countless brewing methods to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Whether you prefer pour-over, French press, AeroPress, or espresso, take the time to master your chosen brewing method. Understanding the differences of each method will help you extract the best flavors from your specialty coffee beans.
-I’ve always been a fan of pour-over brewing or no, I’m actually an espresso lover. For me, espresso from my beloved Linnea Mini from La Marzocco and pour over, with my trusty V60 from HARIO give me the opportunity to explore the full range of coffees. It took some practice to perfect my pour-over and espresso technique, but with time and patience, I've been able to consistently brew some ”standout” cups of coffee.
Embrace the Art of Blooming:
When brewing specialty coffee using methods like pour-over or AeroPress, don't forget to embrace the art of blooming, single or double bloom, or why not a tripple! Blooming involves pouring a small amount of hot water over the coffee grounds and allowing them to "bloom" or release gas for about 30 seconds. This step enhances the flavors and aromas in your cup.
-I remember the first time I learned about blooming, back in 2011 we watched the finals of brewers cup live in Bogota in Colombia and it gave me so much inspiration and new angles of approach the pour over. Now, blooming is an essential part of my brewing ritual.
Experiment with Brew Time:
The brew time can significantly impact the strength and flavor profile of your coffee. Longer brew times generally result in a stronger cup, while shorter brew times yield a milder one. Experiment with the brew time to find your preferred balance and adjust it accordingly to match the flavors you're aiming for.
-If I have to go with a brew time to rule them all I’ll say, aim for total brew time of 2:45 minutes.
Enjoy the Freshest Cup Possible:
To truly appreciate the flavors of specialty coffee, it's best to enjoy it as soon as possible after brewing. Coffee is at its peak freshness and flavor within a few minutes of brewing. So, grab your favorite mug, take a moment to inhale the enticing aroma, and savor each sip while it's still at its finest.
-There's something special about that first sip of freshly brewed coffee. The flavors are vibrant, the aromas are enticing, and it's a moment of pure bliss. I make it a point to sit down, disconnect from distractions, and fully immerse myself in the experience of enjoying a fresh cup of standout coffee.
Congratulations, my fellow coffee enthusiasts! You now have the secrets to brewing the perfect cup of specialty coffee right at your fingertips. By starting with freshly roasted beans, investing in a burr grinder, optimizing your coffee-to-water ratio, and mastering your brewing method of choice, you'll be well on your way to brewing outstanding cups of specialty and competition style coffees at home.
Remember to embrace the art of double blooming, experiment with brew times, and enjoy your coffee at its freshest. The journey to the perfect cup of specialty coffee is filled with discovery, personal preferences, and a whole lot of deliciousness.
So, go ahead, unleash your inner competition barista, and let the aroma, acidity and flavors of specialty and competition style coffee brighten your mornings and enhance your coffee rituals.
Cheers to brewing standout coffee at home