Making Perfect Coffee

How to make the perfect cup of coffee!

Our customers–both retail and wholesale–frequently ask us how to brew great coffee. We get the best possible flavor essences from our coffee by following a strict procedure that you can duplicate for the same superb results:

Outstanding green beans. We source only the finest high-grown, specialty-grade Arabica beans from growers who take pride in the quality of their coffee. These are the highest quality green beans available, vastly superior to the standard quality beans found in most commercial coffees. Every varietal we purchase is sampled and cupped before acceptance.

Freshly roasted beans. We hand roast our beans in the Middletown, RI roastery with two state-of-the-art Diedrich roasters, following specific roast profiles for each varietal. We have limited our bean selection so that we can roast each of them frequently in small batches. The freshness of the roast is critical, and coffee is at its peak flavor 2 to 14 days after roasting.

Grinding just before brewing. Grind only enough coffee for each brew. Once ground, coffee stales quickly because more surface area is exposed to oxygen, the main enemy of freshness. So avoid grinding beans ahead of time. You don't need a high-end coffee grinder, but getting one it is well worth the purchase.

Use good water. Brewed coffee is mostly water, so you want to make sure it tastes good. A good filtration system is recommended for most municipal water supplies. Or use good bottled water. Distilled water is not recommended as it has no flavor at all.

Sufficient grounds. Use more grounds in each brew because the result is a richer flavor, not stronger. Bitterness is actually caused by over-extraction (too much water in relation to grounds). It is always better to use too much coffee than not enough. At home with a drip brewer, try one-half an ounce (two tablespoons) of coffee per eight-ounce cup, then adjust to taste. In a coffee shop use 3.5 to 4.0 oz. for a 64 oz. airpot or carafe.

Brewing method. There are dozens of ways to brew coffee. There is no right or wrong way: just different ways. The important point to keep in mind with any of them is that the best flavors of coffee are the first to be extracted. The more water you push through the grinds the more bitter and undesirable the results. The espresso brewing method actually takes this concept to its logical extreme: a small amount of water is pushed through a relatively large amount of finely ground coffee in 30 seconds. The result is a concentrate with the best flavor essences of the coffee, which is often diluted into an Americano (adding hot water) or a latte or cappuccino (adding milk and foam). This concept can be applied to any other brewing method. For example, with a French press, it will be better to use more grounds and a shorter steep time than going in the opposite direction.

Keeping the coffee warm. Avoid brewing into a glass carafe that sits on a hotplate unless you plan to consume the coffee immediately or transfer it to an insulated airpot or thermal carafe. Otherwise, the brewed coffee will get “cooked” and will be ruined fairly quickly. An insulated container will not destroy the flavor, so the coffee can be used for iced coffee after it cools down. No waste!

Airtight storage. The main enemy of freshness is oxygen, so keep your beans in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place.

Note: Caffeine. Caffeine is water soluble, so brewing methods that keep the grounds and the water in contact longer will have more caffeine. The least caffeine is in espresso, where the water is pushed through in 30 seconds or less. Counterintuitive, but true. The most caffeine is in cold-brew coffee that is steeped for up to 24 hours. For the more common brewing methods, the full immersion methods like French Press or Clever will have more caffeine than drip because of the longer contact times. Also, darker roasts have a little less caffeine than lighter roasts because the roasting process cooks out the caffeine over a longer period of time.

Keep these points in mind the next time you brew your cup of Seabag Locker Coffee and you will create your own coffee to rival that of any coffee house!!