Vintage self-help guy, Napoleon Hill once said, “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” And that’s how we feel about coffee. We’re always looking for ways to improve the drinking experience. Josie Robson talks to Will Corby (our Head of Coffee) about his five scientifically-sound tips to help improve your cuppa.
Follow Will’s top tips for improving your cup of coffee.
Tip 1: Moisture is your enemy.
The instructions on some supermarket coffee bags advocate storing it in the fridge, but it’s not something we go along with. In fact, there’s a well-documented debate on our blog about the whole in-fridge/out-of-fridge issue.
The reason we can’t get behind it, is that the frequent change in temperature results in the buildup of condensation. You can’t usually see condensation forming on coffee, but if it’s there it’ll be acting like a miniature, over-keen cafetiere, sucking all the flavour out of the coffee before you’re ready to drink it. Storing your coffee in the resealable pouches we provide should do the trick but an airtight canister also works wonders.
Will says: “Storing your coffee right is a quick win, which will result in coffee that tastes more zingy, brews with more effervescence and has more of a vibrant, golden colour.”
Tip 2: Keep it pure.
It may sound a little ‘lah-de-dah’ to use only filtered water when brewing your coffee. But tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals, which stick around even after the kettle has boiled. These can be more or less prevalent depending on where you live.
As well as removing these chemicals, the best water filters also replace them with preferable goodies like magnesium and calcium. These new chemicals are more attractive or – as Will puts it – ‘sexier’ to coffee…
Will says: “Filtered water makes it easier for coffee to mingle with the water and unleash its deliciousness more easily.”
Tip 3: Freshness is your friend.
There’s a reason we roast and ship our coffee to you at the last possible moment; it’s because coffee can start to go stale from about a month after it’s roasted and ground. To put that into perspective, supermarket coffee is usually roasted between six and 12 months before you buy it.
So we know that freshness equals delicious, but why is that exactly?
Will says: “Good coffee is like a good loaf of bread. It tastes best when it’s fresh from the oven, or roaster because it’s in there that the flavours come to life, and they only last for so long. When coffee goes stale it starts to taste a bit woody, so that’s what you need to watch out for.”
Tip 4: Remember the Golden Ratio (then forget it).
The Golden Ratio for coffee is 60g per litre of water – that’s about one heaped tablespoon per cup. It’s worth remembering though, that this is only the Golden Ratio in our neck of the woods. In Scandinavia, for example, they go for 80g-100g per litre.
Will’s own personal Golden Ratio is 72g per litre. He uses this as his starting point and depending on the strength of the coffee he increases or decreases it from there. If you’re wondering how he works out how much 72g is, he measures it. Yes, he’s that guy.
Will says: “You wouldn’t wear a pair of shoes that are the wrong size, it would hurt your feet. It’s the same for coffee, you’ll know after your first cup whether it feels like it should be stronger or weaker and you should go with that.”
Tip 5: Don’t apologise for what you like.
Sometimes people come to coffee-tasting events here looking sheepish. “I like sugar in my coffee,” they confess, looking ashamed. “I usually drink my coffee milky,” they explain, like it’s a dirty little secret. As far as we’re concerned, neither of those is a bad thing. Coffee snobs may shun sugar and malign milk. But not us.
Will says: “Coffee is there to be enjoyed. So find that enjoyment however you like. If it tastes good, you’ve nailed it, so forget the snobs.”
It’s all about personal taste. There are a lot of coffees out there that won’t be your cup of tea. That’s why we have at least five coffees on our menu at any time. If you fancy experimenting you can set any of our coffees to be the next one we send you on your Pact Account Page.
Got your own tip for the perfect cup of coffee? Tweet it to us @pactcoffee, and we’ll share it with your fellow customers.
As seen in the September issue of our free coffee magazine The Perc, which comes free with bags of Pact.