Remember the Seventies? If you don’t, you were either using too many illicit substances or you need to talk with your parents.
The Seventies were all about filter coffee - and ever since then, filter coffee has had a bad rap: bitter, scalding coffee that sat on a warmer for hours. Not a pleasant memory.
Yet filter coffee need not be that way. A small financial investment can bring about some exceptional results for the home coffee maker and it won’t break the bank in the way that a decent home espresso machine will.
Making great coffee at home is simple with a little bit of practice and some basic equipment.
With the number of coffee roasters in the UK growing quickly, there’s no excuse for poor grade, pre-ground supermarket vacuum packs. Check out these roasters:
The cafetierre or plunger is perhaps the best known and the siphon has arguably the biggest wow factor but for me, the Japanese Hario V60 produces the most exciting cup of coffee. It’s basically a funnel with a filt
er paper in it. The funnel is designed to help extract the best of the beans – but that’s a different article.
True story: whole beans ground for immediate use will give a better cup of coffee than pre-ground. Coffee quickly deteriorates as soon as it’s been ground. The roasting process begins a massive chemical change to get the beans to their peak. Exposure to air rapidly takes them past that optimum. Grind as you need.
If possible, invest in a burr grinder. Grinders with cutting blades do not produce a uniform sized grind. This is really important to help recreate the best cup of coffee you have ever made. Water needs to flow through the grinds at a constant rate. It also pays to note how coarse/fine you ground your coffee beans.
Pull out a pair of scales to measure your coffee and people will accuse you of being a coffee geek but again, it means that tomorrow, you can recreate today’s amazing cup of coffee. Here’s a starting guide:
About 65g of beans for every litre of water.
A set of digital scales with 1g gradations will mean accurate and recreatable measurements. So that means 16g for a 250ml cup. The scales are also great for measuring water – 1000ml =1000g. (Price note: good coffee beans are around £8 for 250g. That works out at 53p per cup – if I’ve got the maths right.)
Making your coffee
So in the case of the Hario V60 it means the scales can measure 16g of beans and then be reset to zero after your cup, funnel and coffee have been placed on them. Wet the filter to help rid it of any paper taint and make sure this water is poured away. Pour on some near-boiling water - about 50g worth – wait forty-five seconds and then start pouring in swirling motions. Once the scales reach 250g you have a decent cup of coffee in the making. Play around with the coarseness of the grind to suit to your taste and the beans used.
For further explanation on the V60 method turn to YouTube. There is a plethora of videos to help you on your way – each one with slight variations in method.
Filter coffee: sexy, not naff.