Any avid coffee drinker will surely know about the main different methods used to brew coffee and that most of the different brew methods tend to produce different results. What many of us don’t know is why the different methods of brewing tend to produce different results.
We’ve explained the science of a great coffee brew. What changes between different brew methods and how to maximize for the kind of coffee you want to brew.
Full Immersion Vs Flow Through
For a normal cup of coffee, there are two over arching methods of brewing.
Full Immersion – Full immersion brewing is when the coffee is fully suspended in the water, allowing for a deeper and, at times, more regulated brewing. Full immersion has the advantage of better temperature control, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the grind and temperature at which you hope to brew the coffee
Flow through – Flow through brewing is when the liquid simply flows through the ground coffee, at no point is the coffee in consistent contact with all the water. This brewing method lacks finer temperature control but has some advantages when it comes to flow through rate depending on the coffee’s consistency.
No brewing method is clearly superior to others, each brewing method has ideal temperatures, time and coffee grind consistency. This will depend largely on your coffee and how you prefer to drink it. Be sure to experiment with different temperatures and times to find what works best for your coffee.
The perfect brew method with the perfect coffee can still yield unexpected results. One of the main factors that can influence the taste and even texture of your coffee is the quality of the water you use to make the coffee.
While it may seem irrelevant, water will not only change the taste but stands to change the particle size and distribution of the solids in your coffee. The main aspect which will influence the flavour is the acidity of the water being used. The chief substance which can change the acidity of your water is the bicarbonate quantity.
Low bicarbonate – low bicarbonate water or soft water will result in a very high acidity coffee; your coffee may come across as sour when the bicarbonate count is too low.
High bicarbonate – high bicarbonate water or hard water will stand to neutralize the acidic flavours in your coffee, resulting in an overly bitter and sometimes chalky taste.
The main idea is to find water with a comfortable middle ground, to allow your coffee to remain an acidic beverage, but not overly acidic. Most people are unsure of how acidic their water is, and it can be a challenge to find out.
One of the best ways to find out if your water is too high or low in bicarbonates is to try brewing your coffee with a few different bottled waters, the different flavours from different waters will help determine which is best for your favourite brew.