Brewing a good cup of coffee is a skill that takes time, dedication, and repeated practice. With this brewing 101 guide to brewing coffee, you’ll be able to become better at your craft.

Brewing 101: Grinders

Having a uniform and consistent grind is incredibly important to brewing consistently high-quality coffee. Different sizes of grounds have different extraction rates, and variation in your grounds can cause your coffee to taste strange. You should invest in a good burr grinder since it will grind your coffee beans into fine particles. Finer grinds require a shorter brew time and will be great for espresso machines. Different types of coffee and equipment will require different sizes of grounds. You can experiment with your brewing process to find the right fit. If your coffee is too bitter or harsh, switch to a coarser grind. If it ends up weak and thin, use a finer grind setting. No matter what size of ground beans you choose, make sure they are uniform throughout.

Brewing 101: Espresso

Being able to make a good shot of espresso is a key aspect of any barista’s repertoire. It should not be over or under-extracted. An ideal espresso shot will be flavourful and balanced. If you’re using a manual or semi-automatic espresso machine, you’ll have to gauge the brew ratio yourself by adding the right amount of water to your coffee grounds. Every barista will have their own preferred coffee brew ratio. Generally, you can use 1 liter of water for every 60g of coffee. You can tweak and adjust this ratio to find the golden ratio you like. It’ll take time, brewing trials, and repeated tasting before you find the right one for you.

Brewing 101: Water

Water quality is an understated aspect of coffee brewing. Using the right type of water will help maintain your equipment in good working condition and it will maximize the potential of your coffee. You should use softened water for espresso machines.

Brewing 101: Temperature

The required temperature fluctuates based on the type of coffee brewing method you prefer. For example, cold brew utilizes cold water. Experts generally say that the best temperature for brewing coffee is between 176 degrees to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a lot of debate on the topic, so you’ll have to experiment within this range to find the temperature that suits you best. No matter what temperature you use, you should preheat your brewer so that there’s a consistent temperature during the brewing process. This will provide stability and consistency.

Brewing 101: Gear

Multiple accessories can help you maintain a consistent quality in the coffee you brew. Other than a good burr grinder, a gram scale, thermometer, and slow-pouring kettle will be great for exact measurements and temperature stability.

Repeatedly engaging in trial and error while brewing will allow you to find the golden formula for a great cup of coffee. You can try brewing coffee while tweaking one variable slightly, such as temperature, grind setting, or brew ratio. Record your findings and you’ll be on your way to becoming a master barista!