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Coffee is a great way to wake up, however, several coffee brewing factors can affect your morning cup.

Here are the top three coffee brewing mistakes to avoid:

  • Not properly storing coffee

Whether you pre-grind your coffee or grind whole beans before brewing, the key to freshness is storing your coffee properly.

Coffee can quickly absorb odors and so you will want to keep your coffee at room temperature, in an airtight container, away from spices and direct sunlight.

Avoid storing your coffee in the refrigerator or freezer as cold temperatures can stress the packaging and create cracks exposing the coffee to air.

  • Mismatching your grind style

Each coffee brewing machine requires a different style of grind to optimize the taste of the coffee. Grind your coffee too fine for your coffeemaker, you run the risk of having bitter coffee. Grinding coffee too coarse and you will find your coffee is almost tea-like or watered-down.

On a standard commercial coffee grinder, the dial shows 8 grind styles, from coarse to Turkish. Be sure that your coffee grind matches with the style of coffee brewer you will be using.

Most home coffee makers are suited for auto-drip. However, if you are brewing using a pour over, you will want your coffee ground fine. If you are brewing using the French press or cold brew you will need a coarse grind.

If you like to use the Chemex, depending on how much coffee you are brewing at once you will have to adjust the grind size. This way you do not run the risk of over extracting your coffee during the brewing process.

  • Not using clean coffee brewing equipment

Using a clean coffee grinder and coffee maker can dramatically improve the taste of your home brewed coffee.

Over time, oils and coffee grinds build up and can leave off-tasting flavors in your equipment. By using coffee equipment cleaners and regularly cleaning your brewing equipment you help extend the life of your coffee brewer and grinder. We recommend cleaning your brewing equipment at least once a month.

Avoiding these three mistakes and you will be well on your way to enjoying your coffee at home.

“He who would travel happily must travel light.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French poet and aviator

So, you’re going on a trip? Regardless of if the trip is an early morning drive or late-night arrival, no adventure is complete without your favorite coffee. For this reason, we wanted to provide some tips for packing light while keeping the full flavor of life.

PACKING YOUR BREWING KIT

With so many brewing devices on the market. If your travels have you staying in a hotel or Airbnb, you will have different needs than if you are camping.

First, ask yourself some questions:

  • Will you have access to electrical outlets for a small water kettle heater? Will you be able to heat up water at a campsite?
  • Do you plan on taking a small grinder or pre-ground coffee on your trip?
  • Do you prefer an espresso-like shot of coffee or do you need to brew for multiple cups?
  • Do you prefer brewing with or without a paper filter?

You will want to assure your equipment arrives at your destination in one piece. If you are flying, you’ll need something a bit sturdier than if you are driving to your destination.

TRAVEL LIGHT

Now is not the time to get bogged down by heavy and fragile equipment.

Manual brewers, like the AeroPress are small and packable which make them a backpacker’s favorite.  If you use a French press, you do not have to worry about bringing paper filters and you can brew enough coffee to share.

Give some thought on if you want to take a coffee grinder with you or if you prefer the convenience of pre ground coffee.

DURABILITY

Err on the side of caution. Select coffee gear that will stand up to the rigors of life on the road. Stainless steel can get dinged, but you should still be able to brew your coffee just fine.

TRAVEL FRIENDLY GEAR INCLUDE:

The AeroPress

  • Small, compact, and easy to stash in a day pack or luggage
  • It’s easy to clean and you have the flexibility of brewing a single espresso-like shot or add hot water to craft an Americano-style coffee.

Stainless Steel French Press

  • The Planetary Design French press allows you to brew your coffee and drink out of the French press because of their bru-stop. This press features a plate that separates the coffee from the coffee grounds.
  • The double wall stainless steel is durable and will keep your coffee hot. There is even a model that you brew your coffee and can drink from the press, too!

Hario Skerton Plus

  • This grinder is perfect for small luggage and does not require electricity. This is a great option for those who want to continue grinding their coffee beans before brewing.
  • The grinder base doubles as a storage container for ground coffee.

Electric kettle

  • Available in a variety of sizes and materials. A great option for those who do not have access to a stove or campfire.

HAVE FUN!

Now that you have your coffee kit assembled, it is time to test it out on your first trip.

Remember, adventure is the flavor of life. As your trip needs evolve, we are here to help enhance the flavor of your adventure!

Have you ever cleaned your coffee maker?

If you are like most, the answer is likely never.

It is easy for overlook your coffee brewer and grinder as equipment that needs to be cleaned.

By regularly cleaning your brewing equipment you help extend the life of your coffee brewer and grinder. Plus, you can continue to enjoy great tasting coffee.

CLEANING THE COFFEE BREWER

Coffee brewers often require cleaning in two areas: removing scale in the water tank and removing coffee oils from the sprayhead/brew basket.

Coffee oils are left behind after each brew cycle and can be tricky to remove. But please, do not clean your brewer with vinegar! Not only does it make it extremely difficult to remove the vinegar afterwards, but vinegar can void your coffee brewer’s warranty. Rather, equipment cleaners are designed to dissolve the buildup of oils and are fragrance free.

Descaling powder works in both espresso machines and coffee brewers. If you notice mineral scale build up in your water tank and on the heating element, it is time to clean the tank. Mineral scale builds up over time from the calcium and magnesium that is left behind in the water. If you are noticing that your water is not getting hot enough, or you see flakes of scale floating in the water tank, it is time to use a descaling powder.

Cleaning powders address the need to clean coffee oils from the sprayhead, brew basket and carafe. The cleaning powders do not leave a flavor residue behind in the coffee maker. Cleaning powders are great for removing tough coffee stains from your favorite mug. If you notice oils at the bottom of your Chemex or Hario drip pot, mix some cleaning powder in with hot water and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

CLEANING THE COFFEE GRINDER

Most coffee grinders are not designed to be taken apart for cleaning. With electrical motors and burrs water cannot be used to clean grinders. A word of caution: do not grind rice to try to clean your coffee grinder.

Grinder tablets are specially formulated to draw out the coffee oils from around the burrs and can help prevent clogging. All you have to do is run one packet of cleaning tablets through your grinder, and a little bit of coffee afterwards to remove any bits of tablets left behind by static.

We recommend cleaning your coffee grinder once a month. However, if you are often grinding dark roasts or flavored coffees, you may want to clean your grinder more often because these beans are oilier.

CLEANING AN ESPRESSO MACHINE

Espresso machines can be the trickiest to clean. Espresso Machine Cleaning Tablets are designed for easy rinsing and cleaning of the inner working of your espresso machine. Each model of espresso machine has a different frequency of cleaning schedule so you will want to look at your machine’s user manual and follow the directions outlined by the manufacture. Espresso machine brushes are specially designed to clean the group head and espresso machine screens.

By taking time to clean your brewing equipment you will be able to continue enjoying great tasting coffee at home.

Brewing a great tasting cup of coffee does not require a lot of fancy equipment. With a few tweaks you can get great tasting coffee from any coffee maker.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you brew the best cup of coffee.

Use freshly roasted coffee.

Look for coffee roasters, like Red Cedar Coffee Co., instead of grocery store coffee brands. For some grocery brands it may have taken 6-9 months for the coffee to work its way through their distribution system from being roasted to being placed on the store shelf. By comparison, you can enjoy coffee from a local roaster just days after it was roasted.

Pay attention to water.

Start off with good tasting water since coffee is approximately 98% water. Filtered or spring water can improve the taste of your coffee.   

Clean your grinder and coffee maker from time to time.

Use specially formulated equipment cleaners to make sure your coffee maker brews good tasting coffee. Please, do not use vinegar to clean your coffee maker! Click here for more information on cleaning your coffee maker and grinder.

Weigh out your coffee beans. 

We are often asked “Do you use a measured or heaping scoop of coffee?” Using a digital kitchen scale helps to brew coffee with consistency and accuracy. It is a small step that is extremely helpful to make sure that you are replicating the same brewing recipe each time. Oftentimes a brewing recipe will show a brewing ratio such as 1:16 (one-ounce coffee grounds to 16 ounces water). We find that the brewing ratios of 1:14, 1:15, 1:16, 1:17 works well for most.

Using a pour over? Consider weighing your water, too.

The Chemex and Hario drippers are great ways to brew coffee but can be very difficult to eyeball the right amount of hot water. Place the pour over, filter and coffee grounds onto a digital scale and then tare out the weight. Then, you will want to weight the amount of water you are using (pour the hot water over the coffee grounds). Again, with the help of a digital scale you can with brew consistently.

Grind your coffee before brewing.

Did you know coffee begins to start losing some of its flavor and aromatics as soon as it is ground? Grinding your coffee beans fresh is one of the best ways to brew a more flavorful cup of coffee. Burr grinders are best because they grind coffee consistently.   

Use the correct grind style for the coffee maker you are using.

There are several grind styles when it comes to grinding your coffee. To name a few there is fine, auto-drip and coarse. You want to make sure that you are using the correct grind style for your brewing method. This is important because if the grind is too large, you will end up with a weak cup of coffee. If the coffee grind is too fine for your coffee maker then you end up with a bitter, over-extracted cup of coffee. Most drip coffee makers and single serve units work well on the auto-drip setting. If you are using a French press or Toddy cold brew system, you will want to have your coffee ground coarse.

Preheat your coffee carafe, Chemex or French press prior to brewing.

This is helpful especially during the colder months when heat loss is more noticeable. Heat up some hot water ahead to time and pour it into your coffee maker’s carafe, or your Chemex or French press before you brew. The hot water will take the chill out of the coffee maker and your coffee will stay hotter for a while longer. After sitting for about 10 minutes, pour out the hot water and then brew your pot of coffee. This trick also works great for travel mugs.

Carefully store your coffee. 

Coffee beans can be sensitive to temperature, moisture, and air. Keep your coffee in an airtight container at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. Avoid storing your coffee in the freezer or refrigerator.

Happy brewing!

At Red Cedar Coffee Co. we consider the digital scale as the secret weapon in coffee brewing. Put away the tablespoons and little scoops, and instead use a scale.

Not only does a digital scale take the guesswork out when using a pour over brewer, it helps prevent issues of using too much coffee when using a drip coffee maker.

Weighing ingredients = consistency

Brewing using a digital scale helps to brew coffee for consistency and accuracy. Coffee roasts have different mass which makes measuring by scoop or tablespoon tricky. The digital scale avoids this problem.

Oftentimes a pour over brewing recipe will show a brewing ratio such as 1:16 (one-ounce ground coffee to 16 ounces water). The range for coffee brewing is 1:14 to 1:18. The less water used will brew a stronger cup of coffee, the more water used will brew a lighter cup.

When you find your preferred brewing ratio by using a digital scale you will be able to brew with consistency.

How to use a digital scale for pour overs and emersion methods

For pour over and emersion (French press, cold brew) brewing methods you will want to follow these steps:

  • Place the pour over brewer or French press onto the digital scale
  • Tare (or zero out) the pour over or French press
  • Add the desired coffee grounds into the pour over or French press
  • Tare (or zero out) the coffee grounds
  • Add the desired hot water into pour over or French press

Using the digital scale means you have more control in the amount of water you use. This can be helpful when using a 40 oz. Chemex to brew only 16 oz.

How to use a digital scale for drip coffee brewers

For a drip coffee maker, you can still use your digital scale:

  • Place your flat bottom coffee filter onto the digital scale
  • Tare (or zero out) the coffee filter
  • Add the desired coffee grounds onto the coffee filter

Grams vs. ounces

There are countless digital scales models on the market. Some digital scales, like the Hario brand, measure in grams. Other digital scales allow you to switch from grams to ounces.

Scales that measure in grams will give you a more precise weight when it comes to measuring the weight of water. This is particularly helpful for the Chemex.

Select a digital scale model with the unit of measurement that is easiest for you.

Happy brewing!

The Hario v60 is one of the easiest ways to brew coffee 1-3 cups of coffee at a time.

Small and portable the Hario v60 has become a favorite brewing method for the office and for those that brew their coffee on the road.

The small ridges of the v60 help the filter from sticking to the walls of the dripper.

The Hario v60 is great for bright coffees where you can pick up floral and fruity notes.

 

Why we like the Hario coffee brewer:

The Hario v60 is one of the easiest and most approachable brew methods. It takes up minimal space and the cleanup is easy since you are brewing directly into the cup.

The Hario v60 brews coffee is a shorter time, approximately 3 minutes per cup.

 

What you will need:

  • Freshly roasted coffee from Red Cedar Coffee Co.
  • Grinder
  • Hario v60 dripper
  • #2 Hario filters
  • Water Kettle

 

Pro tip:

Use a digital scale to repeat your favorite coffee recipe.

A good starting point for your coffee to water ratio is 1:16. Use 1 ounce of coffee to 16 ounces of water. Tweak the ratio to your liking.

 

In the retail store:

We offer the Hario v60 in ceramic and plastic along with Hario v60 #2 filters.

The French press brews a full-bodied cup of coffee. If you’re looking to pick up more of the characteristics that make your coffee unique, this is your brew method!

The French press is an immersion brewing method, meaning that the coffee grounds are steeped in hot water before being pressed to the bottom by a metal filter.

You will want to use a coarse grind for brewing your French press coffee. Pour the amount of coffee you’d like into the press then add hot water. Place the lid on top of the French press with the metal filter up. Wait 4-6 minutes and press the metal filter down. Pour and enjoy!

Why we like the French Press

It’s a great brewing method to relax and enjoy your coffee.

What you will need

  • Freshly roasted coffee from Red Cedar Coffee Co.
  • Grinder
  • French Press
  • Water Kettle
  • Digital Scale (to help replicate your favorite recipe)

Pro-tip

We find that steeping your coffee for 4-6 minutes is the sweet spot.

Pictured above

Our retail store carries double-walled stainless-steel French presses. The French presses have new technologies that create a barrier between the coffee and coffee grounds meaning you won’t have to worry about bitter coffee. Also pictured is a handmade stoneware mug.