How to make the BEST cup of coffee every time.
At Spinelli Coffee, our mission is to provide our customers not only the finest beans on the planet, but also with expert advise, so that they can enjoy the best possible cup of coffee at home. Let's start from the beginning - you've chosen your favourite freshly roasted Spinelli coffee beans, and now it's time to grind them.
Grinding and Storage
It is crucial to grind coffee beans correctly to get the right extraction. Too find a grind causes over-extraction, resulting in bitter coffee. Too coarse a grind leads to under-extraction and weak coffee.
The chart on the right shows the correct grind for different brewing methods. Ideally you should buy enough coffee to last for 2 weeks. We suggest storing coffee in its whole bean form in an air tight container at a cool, non-sunlight and dry place. However, if you are living in a hot humid climate, we would recommend storage in a wine fridge or refrigerator instead. When you remove coffee from the wine fridge or refrigerator, do allow the coffee to cool and reach room temperature before opening the airtight container to avoid condensation on the coffee beans. Grind only enough coffee for your immediate use.
Water and Ground Coffee
The intensity of the coffee flavour is dictated by the ratio of ground coffee to water. The recommended starting points is two slightly rounded tablespoons (or one standard 7 gram / 0.25 oz coffee measure) for every 8 ounces of water.
Always use fresh, cold, clean water. Water is 99% of the beverage so the water used should be as clean as possible. Hard water is also undesirable because of its high mineral content.
For best results, brew coffee at around 190 °F or 92 °C. Coffee brewed below this temperature will be under-extracted and taste thin, watery and butter. If the water is above 195°F or 95°C, the coffee may taste burnt or scalded. If you boil water to make coffee, let it stand for 10 seconds before pouring it onto the ground coffee.
Filter Papers and Life of A Cup
We recommended brewing coffee in a plunger pot (French Press) or with a gold filter because these methods do not add a foreign taste to the coffee. The next best alternative is white paper filters – they rarely leave the taste of paper in the coffee unlike the natural brown version. You can minimize the taste of paper filters by rinsing them with warm water before use.
Life of a Cup
Coffee can be kept warm on a burner or hot plate for only 20 minutes before the flavour starts to turn bitter and taste burnt. Reheating is even worse. A good rule of thumb is to brew only as much as you plan to drink. Instead of reheating, brew fresh – small effort, big reward. Enjoy your coffee!
While tasting the coffee, you should try to discern whether the flavour, body, acidity and aroma of the coffee is pleasant, or unpleasant. Here are the criteria that most tasters use to judge coffee:
Acidity is a desirable characteristic in coffee. It is the sensation of dryness that the coffee produces under the edges of your tongue and at the back for your palate. The role acidity plays in coffee is not unlike its role as related to the flavour of wine. It provides a sharp, bright, vibrant quality. Without sufficient acidity, the coffee will tend to taste flat. Acidity should not be confused with sourness, which is an unpleasant, negative flavour characteristic.
Aroma is a sensation which is difficult to separate from flavour. Without our sense of smell, our only taste sensation would be: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. The aroma contributes to the flavours we discern on our palates. Subtle nuances, such as "Floral" or "winey" characteristics, are derived from the aroma of the brewed coffee.
Body is the viscosity, heaviness, thickness, or richness that is perceived on the tongue. A good example of body would be that of the feeling of whole milk in your mouth, as compared to water. Your perceptation of the body of a coffee is related to the oils and solids extracted during brewing. Typically, Indonesian coffee will possess greater body than South and Central American coffee. If you are unsure of the level of body when comparing coffee, try adding an equal amount of milk to each. Coffee with a heavier body will maintain more of their flavour when diluted.
Crema is a layer of foam that covers the surface of a well-extracted espresso shot. It is part of the aromatic, flavour and aftertaste of an expresso. The crema should appear golden brown, sometimes with dark brown streaks (like tiger stripes) or speckling, and ought to dissipate very slowly in the cup, displaying very good retention. The Italian test for crema is to put a spoon of sugar on the crema, which should support it for several seconds.
A straight, 1-ounce measure of espresso referred to as a "shot".
One or more shots of espresso poured over steamed milk.
The same, but topped with a scant dollop of steamed milk foam.
One or more shots of espresso mixed with San Francisco's own quality Guittard chocolate powder and topped with steamed milk.
The first half to three quaters of a standard espresso shot. In other words, a short shot.
One or more shots of espresso topped with hot water to make a standard sized cup of coffee.
One or more shots of espresso topped with a mixture of steamed milk and milk foam. At Spinelli we serve what is called a "dry cappuccino", meaning more milk foam and hence quite light.
The Australian equivalent of the same. A cup of coffee served off the espresso machine by pulling a long shot of espresso.