Golden Cup Standard
As members of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the SCA Roaster's Guild (2016 Roaster's Challenge Winning Team!!!) we recommend the SCA Golden Cup Standard for brewing the best cup. These guidelines are for brewing temperature, grind levels, coffee-to-water ratios, and saturation time for common brewing devices. Keep in mind these are simply guidelines. Coffee tastes are subjective and personal. Experimenting with the time, temperature, grind, and methods are part of the fun discovering your uwn perfect cup. What is most important, is that your cup of coffee makes you happy.
It's The Grind
It is important the grind level matches the brewing device's recommendation and the duration of the coffee-to-water contact. SCA recommends the time of coffee-to-water contact as follows: 1 - 4 minutes using a fine grind (Pour Over), 4-6 minutes for medium grind (Drip) and 6-8 minutes for coarse grind (French Press) brewers. If it is too fine for the brewing time, it will be over-extracted and bitter tasting. If it is too coarse it will under-extract resulting in muted flavors. Use a burr grinder as blade grinders produce uneven grounds, resulting in uneven extraction.
The SCA recommends a coffee-to-water ratio of 55 grams/liter plus or minus 10%. A simple volume ratio we use is 2 tablespoons coffee to 6 oz of water for optimum extraction. If is seems too strong, it is best to add hot water after brewing to retain the proper extraction of solubles. The water temperature, at the point of contact with coffee, should fall between 200 F degrees ± 5. The recommended time of coffee-to-water contact to match the grind level listed above is 1 - 4 minutes for Pour Over brewers, 4 - 6 minutes for Drip brewers and 6 - 8 minutes for French Press brewers. Visit https://sca.coffee/certified-home-brewer
Serve your fresh brewed coffee immediately in a pre-warmed cup then enjoy the nuances of the different flavors that emerge as your cup cools. To extend freshness of fresh brewed coffee, use a pre-heated stainless steel or insulated thermos rather than let is sit on a warmer. Never drink out of a Styrofoam cup. Coffee is 98.5% water so use clean, filtered water. An activated charcoal water filter is sufficient. Use soft water for espresso. Clean your equipment regularly. This includes coffee grinders, brew baskets, spray heads, decanters, etc. Over time, coffee oils form a residue on the surfaces of these components that will affect every batch of coffee it touches. Store coffee in a sealed jar away from sunlight, heat and moisture. Do not store coffee beans in refrigerator as it causes condensation and will degrade your coffee.
Cold brew coffee is a fast growing trend. Cold brewing is different than iced coffee, which is basically double-strength hot brewed coffee and poured over ice. Cold brew is made from coarse ground coffee and steeped in cold water. The coffee flavors, sugars and caffeine are extracted by time, not heat. Cold brew coffee results in a smoother, milder and lower acidity cup compared to regular brewing methods. We recommend using a 4:1 ratio of cold water to coarse ground coffee using a French Press, jar, etc. Stir for 20 seconds then cover and refrigerate 12+ hours then press/filter into a cup or storage container. A benefit of cold brew is less wasted coffee, as it lasts up to 2 weeks when refrigerated. Heating cold brewed coffee is an option using a microwave or stove top, then add hot water to dilute to a typical hot brew strength in your cup.
Specialty Grade Arabica Coffee
It should be no surprise we recommend using the highest quality specialty coffee. Specialty grade coffee beans are the highest grade level, even higher than premium grade, a common and somewhat deceptive term used in the industry. Large, well-known commercial brands, regularly use cheap low-grade coffee beans to increase profits. While we do produce conventional coffees, we do recommend organic coffee. USDA Certified Organic coffee is grown on farms, according to strict standards set up by the United States Department of Agriculture, with no chemical contamination. Organic growing methods also benefit the environment. All USDA Certified Organic farming and subsequent roasting operations are inspected annually for compliance.