KSAT Explains: Make the “perfect” cup of coffee

Local barista, Michael Bringardner, shows us how to brew a great cup of joe

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: This content was created exclusively for KSAT Explains, a new, weekly streaming show that dives deep into the biggest issues facing San Antonio and South Texas. Watch past episodes here and download the KSAT-TV app to stay up on the latest.

KSAT Meteorologist Sarah Spivey welcomes you into her kitchen as her husband, Michael - a local barista - explains how to make the perfect cup of coffee, including some tips and tricks of the coffee trade.

Grind fresh, whole bean coffee

It’s important to grind coffee just before you brew your morning cup. As soon as the coffee is ground, oxygen begins to impact the grounds. Initially, this is a good thing. Oxygen opens up the flavors of the beans. However, too much exposure to air is bad, as the oxygen in the air will eventually sap out the flavor, making the coffee stale.

Use a burr grinder

Did you know that the everyday electric blade grinder can do some serious damage to your brew? Blade grinders technically don’t grind -- they chop -- and the quick, chopping motion of metal blades generates heat, messing with the flavor of coffee beans. Additionally, blade grinders make for an uneven grind. This can leave you with large chunks of beans mixed with ultra-fine particles of coffee. The best solution to these issues is a burr grinder.

Burr grinders work by using a set of disks to literally grind down the beans. When the grounds reach a certain size, they fall through the disks into a receptacle, ensuring an even grind. Much less heat is transferred when using a burr grinder, helping the coffee stay true to its flavor. You can find a variety of hand burr grinders here.

The pour-over method

Michael suggests that if you want a good, clean tasting cup of coffee, follow the pour-over method. Using pour-over allows you to be in control of every element of your coffee routine -- from the water temperature, coffee-to-water ratio, and time of brew. Here’s what you’ll need to brew a pour-over from home:

  • Fresh, whole coffee
  • Burr coffee grinder
  • Pure, filtered water
  • Kettle (a gooseneck kettle is preferred)
  • Scale, able to measure to a tenth of a gram
  • V60 dripper (dripper, paper, receptacle combo available on Amazon for $22.50)
  • V60 filter paper
  • Mug or receptacle
Setting up the brew
  • Grind 20 grams of coffee, using a medium-coarse grind setting on the burr grinder. The size of the grinds should be close to the look of kosher salt.
  • While grinding the coffee, heat filtered water in a gooseneck kettle to 200°F, or just before it boils.
  • Place the V60 dripper over the receptacle, setting both on the scale. Make sure to zero out the scale.
  • Fold the filter paper along the textured line so that it will fit inside the dripper.
  • Wet the filter paper to warm the dripper and help remove any papery taste.
  • Discard the water that drips into the receptacle. Zero out the scale.
  • Place the 20 grams of freshly ground coffee into the filter. Zero out the scale again.
Brewing the coffee
  • Taking the kettle, pour 40 grams of water onto the coffee and wait 45 seconds. You’ll notice bubbles forming. This is the coffee releasing carbon dioxide, a process called “blooming.”
  • Starting in the center and gradually moving out in a clockwise motion, slowly pour an additional 260 grams of water onto the coffee.
  • Once the coffee falls completely through the filter into the receptacle, remove the dripper and dispose of the filter paper and used coffee grounds.
  • Pour the coffee from the receptacle into a mug, and enjoy the “perfect” cup of joe!

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