Brewing Fundamentals

Tips for Making the Best Cup of Coffee

First off, coffee is personal. So, the right way to brew a perfect cup is...however you like it! All the same, there are some fundamental rules that will help you in the pursuit of a great cup of coffee.

The grinder you use, coffee you choose, and yes, even the water from your sink, can alter the taste in the cup. Every machine is different, so you’ll want to think of these parameters more as guidelines than law. Play around with your brewer and parameters to get each coffee to taste just how you like it.

The Coffee

  • Start with GREAT Coffee
  • Fresh
  • Storage
  • Grind

The Grind

Grind Just Before Brewing

When coffee is ground, more surface area is exposed and it degases much more quickly than whole bean coffee. Flavors and aromas will therefore be lost at a much faster rate. Grinding what you need right before brewing ensures that the remaining unused coffee beans continue to degas at a slower rate.

Grind Size

Using a grinder that can consistently produce the perfect grind size is important when brewing coffee. Grind size determines how flavors are extracted from the beans. Smaller particles extract faster than bigger particles. So, Having all the grounds be about the same size ensures that all particles brew at the same rate. 

Grind for the Brew Method

Different brewing methods require different grind sizes to make the best cup of coffee. Espresso generally requires a fine grind, pour-overs and AeroPress require a medium grind, and French Presses require a course grind. 


If it brews to quickly, the grind was too course. If it brews too slowly, it was too fine. 


If a coffee that tastes too acidic and sour it usually means the grind was too coarse, and if it tastes too bitter, it means the grind was too fine.

    Fresh is Best

     At Colter Coffee , we are passionate about delivering the freshest roasted coffee possible. This is why we roast to order.

    Freshness has a big impact on taste. As time goes on coffee begins to become stale, unflavored, and potentially unpleasant tasting.

    The freshness of coffee is one of the most important factors in brewing and drinking tasty coffee. Just follow these steps, and you’ll never have to drink stale coffee again!


    • Buy only what you need
    • G




    Oxygen and bright light are the worst flavor busters for roasted beans,

    Coffee beans packaged by quality-conscious roasters and sold in sturdy, vacuum-sealed bags are often a better bet.

    Store unused coffee in an airtight container away from direct sunlight, at room temperature.



    The quality and taste of water plays a very big role in how brewed coffee tastes. If the water being used tastes bad, the coffee will taste bad as well. Using purified, bottled, or filtrated water helps to ensure the best cup. However, minerals present in water ensure that coffee brews properly. So, using overly filtered or distilled water is not a good idea either.  


    Temperature: 200°F ± 5° (93.0°C ± 3°)

    In order to extract the best flavors from coffee, water being used to brew needs to be at the optimal temperature. This is between 195 and 205 degrees F. When the water temperature is cooler, the coffee will brew more slowly. When the temperature is hotter, the coffee will brew faster. 

    Temperature also affects

    bring out the sweetness and complexities without extracting unpleaseant bitter flavors.

    Brewing Time
    The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important flavor factor.


    Coffee-to-Water Ratio

    Golden Cup Standards

    Ratio of Coffee-to-Water (55 g/L ± 10%)

    The amount of coffee used in relation to the amount of water used to brew coffee is what determines how strong or weak a cup of coffee will be. The more coffee use, the stronger the cup, and the less coffee used, the weaker the cup

    Golden Ratio

    Coffee-to-Water Ratio
    A general guideline is called the "Golden Ratio" - one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences.

    Brewing Time
    The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important flavor factor.

    Time of Coffee-to-water Contact

    1-4 minutes Fine, 4-6 minutes Drip, 6-8 minutes Coarse

    In a drip system, the contact time should be approximately 5 minutes. If you are making your coffee using a French Press, the contact time should be 2-4 minutes. Espresso has an especially brief brew time — the coffee is in contact with the water for only 20-30 seconds. Cold brew, on the other hand, should steep overnight (about 12 hours).

    If you’re not happy with the taste of the final product, you're likely either:

    Over-extracting - the brew time is too long
    Under-extracting - the brew time is too short
    Experiment with the contact time until you get the right balance for your taste.


    Equipment being used to make coffee should be kept clean and in good working condition. It is important to check that no grounds or excessive coffee oil build-up has collected on brewing surfaces. Keep brew machines in top shape!