The Yardstick Coffee team teaches us how to concoct the perfect cup of joe at home
There once was a time when 3-in-1 coffee reigned supreme, when fancy brews were but a luxury. For a lot of men and women, those days seem unfathomable. The widespread of third wave coffee and the rise of artisanal cafés have spoiled most of us by refining our palates, making us all crave for brews beyond purely utilitarian reasons.
Today, we want to take your obsession a little bit further by learning how to be your own barista. Here’s what we learned from a basic brewing class with Yardstick Coffee: a good homemade brew is only a few simple steps away. Watch how.
Choose The first step is choosing, particularly your equipment and beans. This step is important because the decisions you make will determine the overall quality and flavor of your coffee.
You can pick from three major brewing methods: pour-over, full immersion, or hybrid. The pour-over method is pretty self-explanatory and allows for the most control but is the most meticulous of manual methods. Full immersion, on the other hand, entails completely submerging your ground coffee and allowing it to steep over a certain period of time in your chosen apparatus: siphons, vacuum pots, French presses, etcetera. This technique produces deep-flavored brews. The best of both worlds, however, is truly achieved through the hybrid method. A prime example of accessible equipment for this kind of method is the aeropress. This is a fancy little gadget that gets the robust flavors associated with steeping but that also maintains the clean taste and smooth texture of pour-over coffee.
After deciding how to make your coffee, it’s time to choose the actual beans. There are four factors to consider when choosing coffee beans: roast date, origin, roast style, and processing. While flavors and aromas are usually noted on the packaging, here are some important things to remember when choosing beans: Always check the roast date as coffee should ideally be consumed within 30-45 days of roasting; make sure the roast style jives with what equipment you have at home (it never hurts to ask but generally light to medium roasts are for filters and pour-overs while medium to dark roasts are for espresso machines); and it’s always better to grind your coffee yourself to retain caffeine and flavor.
Measure and Grind Speaking of grinding, it’s important to know what kind of grind matches your brewing method of choice. For pour-overs and hybrids, medium to medium-coarse ground beans are best. For full-immersion methods, it’s best to use coarse ground beans to keep the final brew as clean as possible.
Take note that the ideal ratio for dose:grind is 1:15-1:19. For example, when making coffee for a single person, the best measurements to follow are 15g of ground beans: 225g of water. Try to be as precise as possible when weighing your beans and measuring your water in order to avoid waste and to get a perfectly balanced blend.
Avoid grinding your beans in advance. Doing so will make your coffee go stale.
Brew When it comes to actually brewing your coffee, it’s best to use filtered water. Mineral water has a tendency to push down flavours aggressively, bad flavors, included. Distilled water has the opposite effect and may ultimately lead to blandness. The ideal temperature for brewing is 92-96 degrees Celsius. Since most of us don’t have professional pots that accurately measure our water’s warmth, here’s a pro-tip from the folks over at Yardstick: let your water reach boiling point (100 degrees Celsius) and then wait exactly a minute before using it to brew your coffee. The temperature will have gone down to 93-94 degrees.
Always remember to distribute the water as evenly as possible, wetting all the ground coffee you possibly can. Seeing as the water is pre-measured, it’ll be easy to know when to stop for pour-overs and hybrid equipment. For full-immersion techniques, stir vigorously and then allow the coffee to steep for 3-5 minutes. Once your drip is done or your steeping time is up, it’s time to enjoy a quality cup of joe in the comfort of your own home.
FOR A MORE DETAILED LESSON ON THE ART OF BREWING AS WE AS CLASSES ON ESPRESSO-MAKING AND LATTE ART, SIGN UP FOR A TWO-DAY CRASH COURSE AT YARDSTICK. IT IS AT UNIVERSAL LMS BUILDING, 106 ESTEBAN STREET, LEGASPI VILLAGE, MAKATI, 845-0073, AND ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM.
Mags Ocampo is a twenty-two-year-old writer, graphic designer, and life guru (or so her friends claim). She currently works as Rogue Media Inc.'s Digital Art Director and takes freelance jobs on the side. She likes diving into whitecaps, reading sad books, and trying to tear down the patriarchy during her spare time. She's taken on adulthood by changing her screen names to her actual name, and thus, can be found as @magsocampo on Twitter and Instagram.