Coffee FAQ

1. What is the best temperature to brew coffee?

The optimal water temperature for drip coffee is 95-98C. 195-205F

2. Quality of coffee

The quality of a brew depends on the following factors (in no particular order):
1. Time since grinding the beans.
2. Time since roasting.
3. Cleanliness with brewing equipment.
4. Bean quality
5. Water quality.

-Start with fresh water and clean equipment to get great coffee. Once you have freshly ground and roasted within a couple of weeks. Stay away from supermarket coffee unless you must. Go with a local roaster or coffee shop and double check the roast date. Always go with Arabica for the best flavor.

3. What is the difference between arabica and robusta?

Arabica beans and robusta beans are two different species of coffee. They are the primary species of coffee that find their way into the American cup. The general differences are those of taste, and the conditions under which the two species differ in production.

Taste: Arabicas have a wider taste range, between varieties. They range in taste from sweet- soft to sharp-tangy. Their unroasted smell is sometimes likened to blueberries. Their roasted smell is perfumey with fruity notes and sugary tones.
Robustas taste range is neutral to harsh and they are often described as tasting grain-like, oatmeally. Their unroasted smell is often described as raw-peanutty. Their roasted smell is often likened to burnt rubber.

Production Conditions: Arabicas are delicate, they require cool tropical climates, lots of moisture, rich soil, shade and sun. They are subject to attack from various pests, and are extremely vulnerable to cold and bad handling.
Robustas are hardier plants, capable of growing well at low altitudes, less subject to problems related to pests and rough handling. They yield more pounds of finished goods per acre at a lower cost of production.

Economics: Customs and trade, supply and demand over the course of the last 150 years has determined the relative values of arabica vs. robusta beans. Generally speaking, the best coffees are all arabicas and the highest quality blends are pure arabica blends. They are also the priciest.
In the U.S. you will generally find arabicas in the coffee store and specialty food shop, and robustas in the supermarket cans and jars of instant.
In Italy, home of espresso, the very highest quality brands are pure arabica, and like here, the popular-priced goods are blended with robusta beans. Because “Imported from Italy” can make an ordinary supermarket quality Italian espresso a “gourmet” coffee in the U.S., you will find robustas in some Italian brands offered for sale in the United States.
What you like is personal taste. I for example like to mix some robusta when making espresso but for drip or pour over I always go with Arabica roasted within a week from a local roaster.

4. How much coffee to use?

It is up to you :). As far as recommendation by SCAA, Specialty Coffee Association of America, they recommend 2 tablespoons per 6oz cup. That is pretty strong coffee and tastes great with milk but if you drink your coffee black, your best bet is one tablespoon per mug.

5. What are Preparation Methods?

  • Drip: This is the most common method in the United States, it pours hot water over medium grind. There are two filter types, paper and metal mesh. Paper produces a clean cup and none of the grit while the metal gives you a slightly stronger taste. I use both somedays I want clean and clear coffee and somedays I want the stronger flavor and the oils all in the cup!
  • French Press: it is a glass carafe with a plunger that has metal filter and some have paper filter. Using a coarse grind, water is poured over grounds and is steeped for 4 minutes and then the plunger is pushed down separating the grounds from the coffee. It produces a distinctive cup with all the oils and some grit. It is great for when you are camping etc.
  • Espresso: this is produced by manual machines or semi-automatic or automatic. For more information check out our Espresso Perfection Guide.
  • Ibrik: this is used to produce Turkish or arabic coffee using coffee ground ultra fine, finer than espresso. They say to never boil coffee this is the exception. Cardamom is added to produce a very unique coffee.

6. Dry Processed or Washed?

This refers to the way coffee beans were handled after harvest. Dry processing is the oldest method in use basically dried by the sun or using drying
machines. Wet method on the other hand uses water with enzymes to get the same result. Which is better? Coffee experts pick dry processed which enhances body and complexity.

7. Mocha-Java, what is it?

It was first ever blend of two coffees in world. Mocha referring to the Yemen port and Java to the Indonesian island. These two coffees together created an exceptional flavor over 100 years ago. Today Java produces a different coffee variety and therefore all the blends you see today are created by using other varieties.

7. Mocha, what is it?

Mocha refers to the combination of coffee and chocolate drink but where did the name come from? They say that it started with sellers trying to get the true Yemen Mocha beans started adding small amounts of chocolate to replicate the true Mocha beans flavor. Anyway the combination of coffee and chocolate is heavenly.

7. Monsooned coffee, what is it?

Beans are held in open sided warehouses and exposed to monsoon winds which is very moist. This imparts a unique flavor close to aged. The best known variety is Indian monsooned malabar.

7. Peaberry coffee, what is it?

When normal coffee beans are being developed on the tree two beans are created. When one seed fails to develop you end up with one found bean instead of two. Some say this mutation produces a richer flavor. The most famous Peaberry is the Tanzanian.

7. Espresso Beans?

There is no such thing as espresso beans although it is often used to refer to dark and oily beans. There are espresso blends with some best for milk drinks and others to be consumed straight.

7. What Swiss Water Decaf process?

This is the best known decaf process instead of using solvents, activated charcoal removes the caffeine from the water. The only issue with it is cross batch
contamination since the same water is used over and over. If you have a burning desire for decaf always go with the water processed.

7. How to Storage Coffee?

Coffee storage is critical to get the best flavor. First keep in mind to use coffee within 2 weeks from roast date. Coffee is best stored in airtight containers away from light. To freeze or not to freeze. If you have more coffee than you will use in a week, it is best to freeze to retain some freshness. Divide your coffee before placing in freezer and most importantly allow at least one hour for the beens to come back to room temp. Some new storage vessels that got great reviews are Airscape. Get them here:

7. What is Burr Coffee Grinder?

This is a type of coffee grinders and there are 2 types, Flat Burr and Conical Burr. Burr grinders are a must to get a great cup of coffee that’s because the coffee is ground evenly with less heat created. Some insist that conical burrs are better and there are some debate about that. The important thing is the size of the burrs and quiteness of the motor. I have been using a Eureka Mignon for 2 years and I can say it is great both for drip and espresso and most importantly I can make coffee without waking up the wife.