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Getting the Most from Filter Coffee

Five Senses CoffeeJeremy Hulsdunk 12 July 2011

Following up on Ash’s ‘Super Automatic’ machine story, it’s clear that you can spend a lot of time and money buying a Super Auto, then playing with the settings to get a coffee that isn’t terrible, but it is much easier (and cheaper!) to get quality coffee using a filter.

A filter system works exceptionally well in many places, even at work. In fact, I’ll let you in on a secret. At home, most of the coffee I drink is brewed using filter methods. Filter methods are fast, easy and, if the correct steps are taken, will yield a quality of product far superior to that of an Automatic machine. An added benefit is that this superior quality comes at a fraction of the cost of buying and maintaining a fully automatic machine, with the Baratza filter package coming in a shade over $250.

To start brewing the perfect filter, you have to start at the logical beginning — with the Coffee! The biggest mistake made by novices is to choose the wrong coffee. I don’t mean buying a coffee from the wrong region of the world, I am talking about the roast profile. A filter roast is actually lighter than an espresso roast; always choose a light roast of coffee for brewing using a filter method. Generally, if the bag doesn’t give the roast profile, it means that the coffee has been roasted for espresso.

The second most important detail is the water. This is a general coffee rule. Using filtered water is always the best way to go. In this case, it isn’t to protect the life of your equipment as is the case with your espresso machine. But using filtered water with a brewed method is more about taste. If your water tastes like 60 year old pipes, then so will your coffee!

Another general coffee rule, and yet one that is often forgotten when brew methods are discussed, is the issue of fresh grinding! The grinder is always the most important piece of equipment, allowing you to grind fresh for your brew method of choice. Most filter methods require a substantially coarser grind than espresso, so for filter, the particle size should have the consistency of coarse sand.

From here you can choose your brew method. The Baratza package mentioned above comes with the Clever Coffee Dripper, definitely the cleanest and fastest way to make a high quality coffee at home or in the office. For a full run down on how to use the CCD, check out this video on the Five Senses’ website.

Whatever package you choose, you can brew great quality coffee at home for a fraction of the cost of the Super Auto. If you pay attention to purchasing superior coffee that is roasted for filter, grind that coffee fresh and use good quality water. The Baratza package allows you to do just that

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