Updated on May 8, 2017
Emile Haddad Seattle Coffee Lover: Avoid These Mistakes
Emile Haddad Seattle Coffee Lover: Top 5 Mistakes on Coffee Brewing
Hi, this is Emile Haddad! As a Seattle coffee lover, I always start my day with a great cup of coffee. In fact, even after all these years, coffee can still make me get up from bed to start my day! I want you to experience the same—to look forward to your mornings—so watch out for these common mistakes on coffee brewing.
1. Using boiling water – Simply put, boiling water will scald or burn your coffee. The trick is to use water that’s just about to come to a boil, or at a temperature between 195 F (91 C) and 205 F (96 C). Since this number is quite precise and hard to gauge through observation, you’re better off using a cheap thermometer for this. In my experience, getting the temperature right is easier done by getting the water to boil and let it cool down. Of course, you can also do it the other way and anticipate as it reaches the desired temperature. It’s up to you which you find more convenient.
2. Using distilled water – Without delving in too deep into the science behind this debated topic, using distilled water will basically yield you a bitter-tasting cup due to the composition of the water. As distilled water hardly has any ions, it will take on mineral content from its surroundings; in this case, your coffee equipment, thereby ruining the taste of your coffee. Conversely, water that has high mineral content will yield a sour-tasting cup.
3. Eyeballing proportions – Making coffee is as much a science as it is art. With that said, you will need to use a kitchen weighing scale for measuring coffee. Unfortunately, spoons and other measuring tools will not do. Eyeballing proportions is discouraged as well. You’d be surprised how a seemingly small difference in the amount of water, for instance, can alter the taste. It would greatly help if you jot down your ratios and proportions each time so you can tweak it as necessary until you find the formula for your kind of a perfect cup.
4. Grinding beans with a blade grinder – If you read my blog regularly, you should know by now that blade grinders aren’t any good compared to burr grinders. Blade grinders produce a dusty mess whereas burr grinders produce a nice uniform grind. Additionally, you don’t need a burr grinder with the bells and whistles that cost upwards of a thousand dollars. Burr grinders below $100 will work just fine especially for your personal consumption. They are a significant improvement already than your regular commercial coffee, believe me.
5. Don’t use old coffee beans – Many beginners are surprised to find out that coffee beans have a relatively small window for consumption. Generally, freshly roasted coffee beans only last a month or two. Any longer and you risk letting the oils in the coffee bean spoil and oxidize which ruins its flavor. When it comes to using ground coffee beans, the window is significantly smaller: a minute to 5 minutes only. This is why many serious coffee enthusiasts buy their own burr grinders and grind their own beans at home.
Stay tuned to read more from Emile Haddad, Seattle native and serious coffee enthusiast.