While we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we are exploring a new coffee brewing concept. We invite you join us in our No Bypass Brewing journey!
Fortunately, there are many great coffees available to us, but are we getting the best out of them we can? Too often, improper brewing ruins what could have otherwise been excellent coffee. We’d like to offer some suggestions that hopefully help us in this quest for awesome coffee!
A great grinder will transform your coffee experience from the inside out. More importance should be placed on your grinder than on the brewing equipment. Quality grinding equipment with sharp aligned burrs, will reward you with coffee that is both flavorful and delicious.
The grind size of the coffee is crucial. The finer the grind, the more surface area is exposed to the brew water. The size of the grind largely determines how quickly / easily the extraction happens. If the grind is too fine you’ll over-extract the brew (Bitter, strong, unpleasant) or too large you’ll under-extract (Sour, salty, thin) or a poor quality grind with too wide a particle distribution and there will be both of these mixed and very little clarity of flavor.
Water can make or break your best attempts at great coffee. Because the minerals in water are essential to the extraction process, an easy solution is to use a product like:https://thirdwavewater.com mixed with either distilled or RO water. SCA says that a TDS of 100-120 ppm is ideal. Water TDS meters are a cheap and easy method to track total TDS, but not the actual mineral composition. If you don’t know what the mineral content / TDS of your water is, buying bottled spring water is usually the easiest path to great coffee.
Waters to avoid: Softened (It usually has too much alkalinity/carbonated hardness), Distilled water (No mineral content) Municipal water that contains Chlorine, RO while not ideal (Too low mineral/TDS) can still be an okay brewing water if you grind courser or increase the dose.
The temperature of the brewing water is very important. There’s a strong correlation between the roasted density of the beans and the brewing temp, a light roasted coffee will generally be denser and need hotter water to extract properly. Hotter = sweeter / Cooler = more acidic, all else being equal.
Coffee to Water Ratio
The proportion of coffee used in relation to the amount of water, constitutes the brewing ratio. The industry standard brewing ratio is 1:16 (one part coffee to 16 parts water) but the efficient No Bypass Brewer is redefining this standard. The most widely accepted way to measure these ratios are by weight in grams. A good gram scale that’s accurate to 0.1g /3kg is easy to find and buy.
Brewing Process & Time
There are two basic brewing methods, diffusion and immersion. Diffusion (Also called percolation) means water is flowing around and through the aggregate of ground coffee. Immersion means the ground coffee is soaked (or steeped) in the brew water.
Time is often mistakenly thought of as an important variable in the brewing process but contact time is the result of grind size, water temp/quality & brew ratio, all of which influence the resulting cup. We believe too much emphasis is placed on contact time and more consideration should be given to the grind size / brew ratio relationship. (For example, when using an automatic coffee maker that doesn’t allow control of water delivery, grind size / brew ratio becomes a great way to control extraction.)
It’s important to remember that in a normal brew 80 – 85 percent of the solubles are likely extracted during the first minute of the brewing process. This can help guide our brewing parameters and choices as we chase maximum extraction without over-extraction.
Sometimes it just comes down to experimentation, and finding your perfect brewing formula with your personal equipment.