A Guide to Home Brewing

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As many coffee shops, restaurants and other service-related businesses continue to shut their doors to the public in the wake of COVID-19, many customers are turning to the online marketplace to buy beans that they can brew in the safety of their homes. Purchasing beans from your local shop not only helps to keep them in business but supports the coffee industry on a much larger scale as well. 

If you usually rely on your favorite barista for your daily fix but are now forced to make coffee at home for the first time, it can be a little daunting to start from scratch on your own. 

We’re here to help with a few tips and simple steps for making your own coffee using the tools you have at home. And if you’re already a pro at home brewing, we hope you’ll find something helpful here too!

Here are a few basic brewing principles to keep in mind.

Get your grind on: If you own a burr grinder (manual or electric), we recommend buying whole bean coffee and consuming it within 30 days of the roast date listed on the bag. Grind only what you need right before you brew to keep your beans fresh longer. If you don’t have a grinder, most coffee shops will grind the beans for you. Just let them know what brew method you want to use and they’ll grind it for the correct size!

A note on grinders: When it comes to coffee, a grinder is the single most important piece of equipment you can own. Burr grinders are preferred because they slowly crush the beans to a consistent grind size, allowing for even extraction in the cup. A blade grinder, on the other hand, will slice or tear the beans, resulting in a mixture of fine and coarse grounds. If coffee grounds are too small, the coffee will be bitter and over-extracted, while grounds that are too large will create a sour, under-extracted flavor. This means that brewing with uneven grounds from a blade grinder will have a higher likelihood of leaving both bitter and sour flavors in your final cup of coffee. 

The worth of water: Use filtered water if possible to avoid tainting your cup with the unappetizing flavors found in tap water. If you’re using an electric temperature-controlled kettle, or one with a thermometer, heat your water to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using a stovetop or electric kettle without a temperature-control feature, allow the water to come to a boil, then let it cool for about a minute before brewing. 

One size does not fit all: Brewing coffee at home is all about experimenting with what you like. The coarser the grind (think sea salt or coarse sand), the longer it takes for the water to extract that delicious flavor from the beans. We recommend grinding your beans coarsely for full-immersion methods like the French Press. The finer the grind size (table salt or regular sand), the less time it takes for extraction to take place. When brewing with an Aeropress, Chemex or V60 dripper, it’s best to use a medium-fine grind size. 

Divide and conquer: Whether you’re brewing for one or for several people, the recipes below can be adapted to your needs. A widely accepted brewing ratio for coffee to water is 1:15. However, recipes will vary and we strongly encourage you to experiment to find what works best for your tastes! Feel free to use the 1:15 formula as a starting point and adjust as you see fit. First, choose the amount of water you’ll need, then divide that by 15. The resulting number will tell you how many grams of coffee to use. For example, if you’re using 350g of water: 350/15 = 23g coffee. 

Tools you’ll need for each method:

Burr grinder (hand or electric)

Gooseneck Kettle (stovetop or electric)

Gram scale

Phone timer 

 

Hario V60 (or any other single-cup dripper)

  • Hario V60 dripper 
  • Hario V60 filters (or coffee sock for V60)
  • Mug (12oz or larger)
  • 22g medium/finely ground coffee (table salt)
  • 352g water 

How to Brew: 

  1. Fill your kettle with water and heat to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, then grind 22g of CWJ coffee (we recommend Monticello Sunrise)
  2. Place a filter in your dripper and rinse with a little water if using a paper filter, dumping excess water
  3. Add ground coffee  to the filter and shake gently to evenly distribute the grounds
  4. Place mug on the scale, place the dripper on your mug, then hit the tare button so that the scale reads zero
  5. Start the timer and using a circular motion, pour just enough water to wet all of the grounds (~45g)
  6. After 30 seconds, slowly pour the rest of the water over the grounds in a circular motion, stopping when the scale reads 352g

 

Chemex

  • 6 Cup Chemex
  • Chemex paper filter (or coffee sock for Chemex)
  • 45g medium/medium-coarse ground coffee (regular sand or slightly more coarse)
  • 720g water 

How to Brew: 

  1. Fill kettle and heat to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, then  grind 45g of CWJ coffee (try Gunston Willows)
  2. Place filter in your Chemex and rinse if using a paper filter, dumping any excess water from the Chemex
  3. Add coffee to the filter and shake or tap the Chemex to create a flat bed of grounds
  4. Put the Chemex on the scale and tare to zero
  5. Start your timer and using a circular motion, pour just enough water to saturate the grounds (~55g)
  6. After 30 seconds, slowly pour the rest of the water over the grounds in a circular motion, taking breaks as needed to prevent overflow, until the scale reads 720g

  

Aeropress

  • AeroPress
  • AeroPress paper filter (or coffee sock for AeroPress)
  • 12oz mug
  • Spoon
  • 15g medium/finely ground coffee (table salt or slightly coarser/finer)
  • 200g water

How to Brew: 

  1. Fill kettle and heat  to 205 degrees, then grind 15g of CWJ coffee (Try either Shenandoah Spring or Potomac Falls)
  2. Place filter in AeroPress cap and rinse with water
  3. Invert plunger and pull back to just under the number “4”
  4. Add coffee to inverted AeroPress, shaking gently to create a level bed of grounds 
  5. Place on scale and tare to zero
  6. Starting the timer, pour 200g of water into the AeroPress
  7. Stir lightly and let sit for 1 minute
  8. Secure cap to the top and flip the AeroPress quickly onto the top of your mug
  9. Press the plunger down completely until you hear the hiss of air escaping (~15 seconds)

 

French Press

  • 34oz French press
  • 50g coarsely ground coffee (sea salt or coarse sand)
  • 800g water

How to Brew: 

  1. Fill kettle with water and heat to 205 degrees, then grind 50g of coffee (try Yorktown French Roast)
  2. Add coffee to french press, place press on scale and tare to zero
  3. Starting timer, pour 800g of water over the grounds, saturating them evenly
  4. Gently stir the grounds, then let sit for 5 minutes
  5. Break the crust with a spoon and skim off the top layer of grounds
  6. Insert the plunger and slowly press down 
  7. Serve immediately or pour into another serving vessel, to prevent continued extraction

  

Automatic Coffee Machine

  • Automatic Drip coffee machine
  • Paper filter
  • 65g coffee (medium grind - regular sand)

How to Brew:

  1. Add filter into the brewing basket of your automatic brewer
  2. Grind 65 grams of CWJ coffee and add to filter (we recommend Blue Ridge Bluff)
  3. Add 1,000 grams of water to the reservoir or fill to the 1,000 ML line 
  4. Press the start button 

We hope these tips help to simplify the brewing process as you undertake the work of being your own barista. Leave a comment if you have any questions or if you want to chat more about brewing your coffee at home!


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