Though we deal in beans and roasting, quality of the final cup is what we think about most. We’re here to help you optimize the coffee you love, and consider a few different approaches to brewing. Below, a few techniques and ideas to keep in mind if you’d like to experiment or, if you’re new to home-brewing, a few classics to try.
Use the simple videos we've made as a jumping off point. Our techniques are constantly evolving as we strive for the perfect cup, and so should yours. Always let taste be your guide.
- Chemex coffee-makers are hour-glass vessels, beautiful on the table and our preferred method for lighter, more acidic coffees. The Chemex produces a surprisingly clean, crisp, sweet coffee with a beautiful reddish hue. Recommended for African and Central American coffees.
- Also known as a French Press, this is one of the simplest ways to add body to coffee―nearly unmatched by any other brewing technique. Without the use of a filter, the press pot lets coffee grounds immerse fully in near boiling water. Once the coffee has been steeped and plunged, the heavy-bodied brew is ready, delicate oils and all. Generally speaking, a press pot enhances body, and it can accentuate some of the acidity in certain coffees.
- A much less common brewing method, the siphon, or vac pot, offers the best of all possible worlds. By utilizing full immersion and filtration, a siphon produces a coffee that is crisp, clean, and complimenting of a heavy body. While a siphon does require some special utensils and a bit of practice, for those willing to try, it’s one of the most rewarding methods for brewing.
- While this isn’t a widely popular method of brewing coffee, cold brewing is a time-tested method that produces a rich, aromatic, low-acid coffee concentrate. The incredibly sweet concentrate is a product of room-temperature brewing, over the course of 12 to 24 hours through a wool filter. The product can be reconstituted in a hot or cold drink, and is great for cooking, drink mixes… The sky’s the limit. We prefer a 3:1 water to concentrate ratio for most drinks.
Tips and Tricks
- Starting with fresh, carefully roasted coffee is key in producing a good cup of coffee. Only buy coffee in advance of a week or less: freshness is, after all, one of the biggest advantages of buying local.
- Whenever possible, grind your coffee immediately before brewing. This ensures freshness and result in a better cup. Burr Grinders do a fantastic job, but they’re not necessary.
- A cup of coffee is approximately 95% water, so it’s important to use clear, fresh, filtered water. While excess minerals found in tap water can impart strange, off tastes to your coffee, distilled water doesn’t have enough mineral content to develop flavors. When brewing, use water within the range of 195° and 205° Fahrenheit: anything less will produce an under-extracted brew. The best way to gauge temperature, if you don’t have a thermometer, is to use water about 45 seconds to one minute off the boil.
- Always store your highly-prized coffee in a dry, dark place in an airtight container. Velo takes care to package all of its coffee in protective barrier bags, and larger orders come in bags with one-way gas valves. That valve allows carbon dioxide emitted by fresh coffee to escape the bag while preventing any oxygen from entering. Contrary to popular belief, refrigerators can be bad for coffee’s character: coffee placed in the fridge can absorb off odors. Placing your coffee in the freezer doesn’t keep it any fresher than an airtight container in the pantry, either.
- The general ratio for most brewing methods is 55 to 60 grams of coffee per liter of water. A more convenient conversion is 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water. Once again, the coffee to water ratio is based on personal preference. Experiment.