Brewing with coffee syphon.
Coffee brewing is indeed no rocket science. But for sure, there are certain elements of science throughout the entire brewing process.
Thankfully it's way easier than high school's chemistry subject, especially for us who want nothing but a cup of good coffee to be enjoyed at home.
Knowing basics will do the magic and tremendously improve your everyday cup of coffee!
It's going to be a long write up in order to complete the entire topic of coffee recipe. We want to keep it brief yet very easy to understand, let's break this topic into a few posts.
Before that, this topic is written only for filter coffee brewing, not espresso.
For more details on espresso, Matt Perger's Barista Hustle has seriously gone really deep into espresso.
This post is about Brew Ratio. But to measure brew ratio, we need a weighing scale!
A weighing scale for coffee?
I still remember those days when we were manning our pop up store in Publika when our customers would always be amazed by the fact that we use a scale to weigh everything.
Obviously, the most frequently asked question was, “Do you really need a scale to make coffee?'.
Our answer was, “No, you don't really need a scale to make coffee. But to make delicious good coffee consistently, YES!”
For consistently delicious coffee
We started home brewing with an AeroPress, it's the brewing equipment designed to brew coffee without using a scale! It comes with an 18g scoop and numbers on the AeroPress itself.
We could still make coffee without a scale. But there were no such thing as consistency - an awful game of hit and miss.
A scoop of coffee beans?
In the absence of a scale, each coffee we brewed were so different that we had no idea what went wrong.
If you want to enjoy the same and consistent delicious cup of coffee every day, get yourself a good kitchen or baking scale that measures to a 1g difference.
Don't worry about the 0.6g of coffee, you can't taste the difference anyways.
No doubt, Acaia is definitely the best coffee scale ever invented. Hario has good decent coffee scale and comes together with a timer. We got ours for less than RM50 through an online store, works like magic.
The V60 dripper to brew up to 4 cups.
Make your own coffee recipe
First, how much of coffee?
To start, ask yourself the very first question. How much coffee do you want to drink?
In most cafes, a serving of filter coffee is somewhere between 200ml to 250ml, generous ones will go up to 300ml to 350ml. We used to serve a cup of 250ml (8 ounces) at our pop up store.
At home, we love a mug of 350ml cup of coffee and slowly enjoy the whole cup while doing something else.
If we have guests over, we will use a V60 dripper to brew a 500g or 700g of coffee in a big server. Absolutely great for sharing!
Once you have decided how much coffee you need (let's say 300g!), you’re in for some simple maths!
Prefer KAO coffee?
Secondly, Coffee strength - strong coffee vs light delicate coffee
Everyone enjoys his cup of coffee in his own way. For us Malaysians, we all grew up with lots of delicious food, thanks to our diverse culture.
Our palate is accustomed to foods and drinks with strong flavours. Remember the last nasi lemak and kopi “kao” you had?
Before we get into some details about brew ratio, we want to mention a little about “strength”. We are often confused: we think strong coffee means bitter coffee.
But no. For coffee, it's the BODY (or texture or tactile or mouthfeel or kick) of the coffee! Therefore, bitter coffee ≠ strong coffee.
There is an easy theory for coffee strength. It’s like making Milo: more coffee, more KAO. Easy!
Get your brew ratio right.
Time for some math, Brew Ratio
To be honest, we’ve never liked using the ratio for calculation. It's just too difficult to calculate the ratio without using a calculator (18g x 17 = ???). To make it easier, simply calculate the other way round!
For every 100g of coffee you want to make, you multiply with desired dosage (6g - 9g) to every 100g of water, and you will get the weight of coffee beans needed.
At least, it's way easier to multiply 6g x 3 than the one above. The following are brew ratio adjusted according to your desired coffee strength:
|Preferred Coffee Strength||Coffee Beans for every 100ml of water|
|Light & delicate||6g|
|Medium & slight kick||7g|
|Bold & strong cup||8g / 9g|
Let's say we want to drink a 300g cup of coffee. We prefer to have some kick in our first morning coffee, so the ratio to go for is 7g of coffee to 100ml water ratio, the total beans needed is 7g x 3 = 21g! No calculator needed.
Lastly, Different ratio for different beans
Different coffee beans, single origin or blends, at different roast levels, will taste good with different brew ratios.
Most single origins (especially the World's Best Coffee!) are lightly roasted in a way to bring out its delicate, nuance flavour. Hence, a smaller ratio (6g ground coffee to 100ml of water) for a lighter cup of coffee will make it easier to perceive its flavour.
Darker roast coffees do taste better with stronger ratio rather than a lighter cup. Our favourite ratio for Liberica Dark Roast is 18g coffee to 200ml of water, every sip is a real punch, the perfect morning cup!
By default, we use the ratio 7g of coffee beans to every 100ml of water ratio as a starting point.
Then we will taste to check whether we prefer a stronger or lighter cup for the next one, once we found the coffee strength that we wanted, we'll stick to the same brew ratio for every other brews.
That's all about brew ratio! We will come back to the next important aspect of brewing recipe on the next post. It's about Coffee Brewing and Extraction!
As for now, get yourself a weighing scale, find your own brew ratio for your desired coffee strength, and start brewing your consistently delicious cup of coffee every day!
A coffee story about Jason Liew, a coffee producer & roaster of My Liberica.
A coffee documentary about Nicholas, roaster of The Hub.