Part 2 of 3
by: Christine clutton
Welcome to part two of our blog, "Why Your Home Coffee Tastes Like Shit." Our first blog was all about water quality. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, here is a short summary of what we said: our advice is to filter your water, add back some minerals, and try out different local roasts until you find the one you like best.
The water issue is fairly inexpensive to fix, but will change your overall cup of coffee in great ways. This second article might set you back a couple hundies. Not our fault, blame coffee. It’s a tricky little thing this coffee.
That being said, we do want to remind everyone that if you LOVE the coffee you make at home already, then don’t feel like you have to go changing your grinder, your water source, and your job to enable you to afford all this home brewing stuff. Just enjoy that morning cup of coffee and savor each sip. You’re a winner! Onto our second topic.
YOUR COFFEE MIGHT TASTE LIKE SHIT BECAUSE OF: YOUR GRINDER
Photo Cred: homegrounds.co
If you haven’t invested in one yet, today may be the day to buy yourself a burr grinder. A burr grinder is different than a typical “blade” grinder you’d be able to buy at Wal Mart, Target, etc. Prima Coffee explains the difference best,
“All burr grinders use the same general principle: they use sharp cutting surfaces and precise adjustment to chop up the coffee in a more controlled manner, like a skilled chef using a sharp knife, resulting in more consistent grinds. Burrs can be flat, conical, or a hybrid of both, and typically come in either steel or ceramic. The two burrs of the set oppose each other so the beans will get stuck in between and cut from both sides.”
This precision helps all the tiny little coffee particles be “extracted” at the same rate. In essence that simply means the deliciousness of the coffee is all coming out at the same rate and therefore you’re getting a more cohesive cup. Blade grinders chop up the coffee beans in inconsistent sizes, making your coffee extract at different rates. Think about it like baking french fries in the oven. When you cook various sized potatoes in the oven on the same baking sheet, you’re going to end up with the little potatoes burnt, and the big potatoes soft and squishy, or maybe even still hard. If you put one small and one big french fry in your mouth at the same time, you’re gonna be like “that is not right”. It is just like that with your coffee. Only at the micron level.
Having a burr grinder is single handedly the most important home barista tool, however, it can sometimes be the most expensive. If you haven’t invested in one yet, but find yourself staring longingly into your cup of freshly brewed coffee, disappointed...then the time is nigh. Take the plunge. Get the grinder. Here are a few of our favorites.
Baratza Encore (or really any Baratza for that matter): $139
High level shiz happening in this grinder. Super solid grind size, adjustable burrs, easily cleanable, the list goes on. By turning the hopper you can adjust your grind size in 40 different settings, which is coarse enough for french press and fine enough for espresso. The range is 250 to 1200 microns. Pretty dope. Now if you want to go ALL OUT, you can go with a different version of the Baratza for more cash. I’ve worked with the Baratza Forte before and it pretty much enables you to grind the exact amount of coffee you want just by pushing a button. The scale built in knows when you’ve reached your desired weight and turns off the grinder for you. This is great in cafe settings where weighing out beans constantly into little jars gets annoying.
As a special treat for my readers, please enjoy the photo of me below as a baby barista, circa 2014 at Cuvee Coffee posing with two Baratza Fortes. I took this photo for a Barista Magazine article, "Best Bar Tools 2014". Obviously I'm partial to them.
Bodum Burr grinder: $99
We have seen some inconsistencies in the particle size….BUT, it is better than a blade and a little cheaper than the Baratza. However, it will not last you nearly as long as a Baratza. If you can spare the extra $40, go with the Baratza. (Jon and I bought this a year and a half ago and still use it...BUT half of our coffee headaches are from this machine, not from lack of caffeine).
A hand grinder like Vario Skerton Plus: $47.50
Why not? Especially if you’re the camping type, it will come in handy (pun intended). Now if you brew like ten cups of coffee every day, then you should probably NOT use this. Unless you are wanting to improve your hand strength. Or your muscular physique. In which case this would be perfect for you. For normal humans, not wanting to look like Johnny Bravo, this is perfect for those one cup pour overs. It’s doable and makes delicious coffee. Not to mention, the price is easy to swallow too.
So there you have it folks. Don’t let your coffee resemble inconsistently cooked potatoes! Get the burr grinder if you find yourself disappointed in your morning cup of joe.
P.S. We will be serving coffee at our first pop-up shop this Sunday 12-6pm at 603 E 31st St. in KCMO. Stop by for delicious shots of spro and seasonal lattes. Follow our insta for more deets!
Over & Out,