6 Tips for better coffee.

white cup and saucer with espresso on a black background

So - you've upped your coffee game and started buying quality specialty coffee, but maybe it still isn't tasting as good as you think it should.  Here are 6 tips that you can try to improve your brew.

1. Start with whole bean and grind just before your brew.  

Whole bean coffee stays fresher for longer than ground coffee.  When you grind coffee beans, it creates more surface area that is exposed to oxygen.  The acids and oils inside the bean are also exposed to air and begin to oxidize.  At this point, the coffee begins to stale - the flavors and aromas start degrading rather quickly.  Always grind your coffee just before you brew it.

2. Use the best grind size for your brewing method.   

The grind size determines how fast the water will flow through the grounds and extract the soluble compounds in the coffee.  Rocks and sand make a good visual demonstration.  Water will flow through rocks (which represents coarse ground coffee) faster than it does sand (fine ground coffee) This also matters because the rate of flow affects the time that the coffee is in contact with the water.  Both are essential for correct extraction.

If the grounds are too coarse, you risk under extraction.  If the grounds are too fine, then you risk over extraction.  Under-extracted coffee tends to taste more sour and acidic, while over-extracted coffee will taste bitter. 

Use the COFFEE GRIND SIZE chart below to find the perfect grind size for your brew method.

Cold Brew

Very Coarse

French Press



Medium Coarse



Pour over (flat bottom)


Pour over (cone)

Medium Fine



Moka Pot





Extra Fine


3.  Use filtered water. 

Regular tap water contains chemicals such as chlorine that can alter the flavors of your coffee.  This can happen a couple of ways.  The chemicals in water such as chorine and fluoride react with the compounds that are in coffee.  Secondly, due to those chemicals, the water itself is already “off flavored”, and that carries through to your brewed coffee.  Furthermore, your tap water can be hard or soft with the presence or absence of minerals which can also alter your final cuppa. Using a water filter will greatly help.  We recommend the Berkey Water Filter system.

4.  Clean your coffee equipment. 

This seems obvious but starting with clean equipment is a must.  There are rumors floating around that coffee oils left on equipment impart more flavor to your brewed coffee.  That statement is TRUE, but it’s not flavor that you want.  Always clean and dry your coffee equipment according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

5.  Get out of your coffee rut, by trying a different single origin or a different brew method. 

We know you have your favorites, but sometimes trying a different single origin can lead you to a new favorite.  Experimenting with brew recipes (how much coffee, how much water, and brew time can result in different flavor development.  Brew ratios are a personal preference, so the perfect brew ratio (water to coffee) is the one YOU like best.  Switching your brew method can also liven up your coffee ritual.  Be brave try one you've never used before. 

6.  Use your whole coffee beans within a month of purchasing. 

Fresh roasted coffee is the best tasting coffee.  Roasted coffee releases carbon dioxide known as off-gassing. Depending on how you store your coffee, this process can take 1-5 days.   For espresso, it’s best to wait about 3-5 days off roast before brewing your coffee to let the degassing process complete. Methods where you want to see the “bloom” (which is the release of carbon dioxide) do well a day or two off roast. 

If you must grind ahead of time (say you work graveyard and you don’t want to wake the whole family when you go to make your coffee) then grind ONLY what you’ll need for that brew. 

Another option for storing coffee to prolong its shelf-life is to use a vacuum sealer.  Vacuum seal the whole bag of coffee, then place the coffee in the freezer for longer life. (Remember that moisture and light affect the freshness of your coffee - so keep the beans in their Talking Crow bag that is opaque to avoid the freezer light. The vacuum seal should keep out the moisture. 

Here's to a great cup of coffee.


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