Barefoot Coffee's Home Coffee Brewing Guide

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Feb 10, 2009
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Santa Clara University
Barefoot Coffee Roasters is one of the top five coffee shops in the US. They are independent and have only one location, which is in Santa Clara, CA -- conveniently located about 15 minutes away from campus! :) They recently started leaving these fliers out for customers to take, so I thought I'd reproduce it here (all spelling/grammar errors/emphasis are not mine):

Barefoot Coffee Home Coffee Brewing Guide said:
Fresh Coffee Kept Well:
You will NEVER get GREAT coffee with old beans. Remember to think of coffee as a produce item (things that go bad) and not a pantry item (things that never age).

Store your one-week supply of fresh beans in a dry, dark and cool place (50-70 degrees F).

Coffee is essentially dead 14 days after roast. Don't buy any coffee without a clear roast date on the front of the bag. It's better to burn your money. Insist on a clear roast date.

<picture of a burr grinder> Grind Fresh:
This is the single most overlooked and most important part of GREAT coffee. Ground coffee goes bad MUCH faster than whole beans so it is imperative that coffee beans are freshly ground.

Grind, DO NOT Chop:
This is a great spice mill: <picture of a great spice mill>

It is also the easiest way to turn good coffee bad.

Acceptable coffee grinders will be labeled as "BURR" grinders and inside will look like these:

Burr grinders grind beans to a uniform size in one pass this is REQUIRED for great coffee

<picture of a flat burr grinder> <picture of a conical burr grinder>

It is better to have us grind it in the cafe rather than use a spice chopper. Or better yet buy a great grinder and find out how great Barefoot coffee can be at home. Barefoot sells a range of excellent home coffee grinders. If you have ever wondered why Barefoot coffee doe not taste as good at home as it does in the cafe, it is usually the grinder to blame.

Grind particle size guides:
  • French Press grind should be like course gravelly sand
  • Flat bottom filter drop is like medium grain sand
  • Pour over/ Melitta should be like fine black sand
<new page>

<picture of a water molecule> Use Great Water to Make Great Coffee:
Coffee is comprised of 98.5 - 99% water.

It is best to use Reverse-Osmosis water with 50-100 Total Dissolved Solids added

(The bulk Reverse-Osmosis water sold at Whole Foods works great but make sure it has minerals added)

This type of water will also extend the life of coffee brewers.

Proper water temperature (between 199-205 degrees F depending on the roast) is critical. With darker roasts use cooler water, with lighter roasts use hotter water.

The majority of Barefoot Coffees are pretty light roasted so most will like water temps between 202-206 F.

Use a tea kettle or one of the Japanese hot water heaters to make your water the right temperature. For a tea kettle if you bring water barely to a boil and then pull the kettle off and let it sit for 45 seconds it will be pretty close to 205 F. Let it sit another 30 seconds and it should be about 201 F. It is also a great idea to preheat your serving and brewing vessels to improve flavor.

<picture of a balancing scale> Coffee should be weighed, just like any other drug:

The weight of coffee changes at different degrees of roast. This means that while different beans may take up the same room in a measuring scoop, there will actually be varying amount of in that scoop. This is the second most important part of home brewing so weigh your beans.

For a French Press we recommend 25 grams of beans for every 10oz of water

For Melitta style brewers we recommend 20-25 grams beans for every 10oz of water

For Vacuum Pots we recommend 7-8 grams beans for every 5oz of water

Most electric drop machines should use the Melitta ratio's

If your not sure, 7-8 grams beans for every 5oz of water is a good way to go.

<picture of an hourglass> Like Sands Through the Hourglass:

Every method of brewing takes differing amounts of time

French Press: Stir after 1 minute and Press after 4 minutes

Melitta: The total drop time should be 2.5 to 3 minutes

Electric Drop: Thats the machines choice (it should be 4-6 minutes)

Vacuum Pot: 1-2 minutes

<new page>

Home Brewing Essentials:
Brewing great coffee at home should be simple but precise. To get the best results at home Barefoot recommends brewing French press or pour over drop as simple and effective brew methods. Here is the equipment and supplies you will need to make great coffee at home:
  1. Great Barefoot Coffee - fresh roasted within 7 days
  2. A high quality burr coffee grinder
  3. A tea kettle or hot water tower
  4. A french press or pour over cone and filter
  5. A small gram scale
  6. a timer or a digital clock
  7. a Barefoot Coffee Mug or Travel press to drink from
The Tao of French Press coffee
  1. Great Fresh Coffee. Start with fresh roasted and super delicious GREAT COFFEE. Ideal is between 2-10 days from roast date. Any fresher and it will overflow the press. Much older and it will be flat and lifeless. If it does not have a roast date give it to an enemy and get fresh roasted coffee. You will thank us.
  2. Grind it Fresh, Grind it right. Always grind it fresh on a course setting that it courser than normal drip coffee. It should feel and look like course sand with small chunks. It MUST be a consistent particle size. The grinder is the MOST critical part of making French Press coffee. Grinders have twin opposing burrs and slice the coffee beans perfectly evenly in one pass. They are NOT less than $160. More is better.
  3. Weigh the Coffee. It is always best to weigh out coffee rather than use volume. All coffees have wildly varying densities, volumes, sizes etc so weight is the only way to be accurate and get the best tasting cup. For a 20 ounce french press we use 2 ounces or 50 grams of coffee. That works out to about 1 ounce per 10 ounces of water. Or if you insist on cave man talk then about eight (8) tablespoons of whole bean coffee for 20 ounces of water.
  4. Hot, Hot water. To brew any coffee any method you must have water that is between 199-205 F. No more, No less. If it is too cool (almost EVERY home coffee brewer) then it will taste flat and lifeless and weak and sour. If it is too hot (hardly ever unless it is boiling) then it will taste bitter and astringent. So again use the right amount of water for the french press. The Barefoot ones are 20 ounces. The ideal temperature for most coffees is between 201-205F. Test it.
  5. Time it! Let it sit for 4 minutes and then press that sexy plunger down RIGHT NOW! Do not wait, do not pause, do not forget. Press it! Time is crucial. If it over extracts it will be bitter and nasty and bitey. Use a timer or your watch. Be precise.
The recipe again for old times sake:
  • 2 ounces or 58 grams of fresh roasted coffee, ground fresh and course
  • 20 ounces of 200 F water
  • let brew for 4 minutes
  • enjoy and smile.

Hope this was helpful for all you serious coffee brewers out there. I know I learned a thing or two. :mug: