Find Your Best Brew Time with a Simple Coffee Tasting Test

There are coffee enthusiasts that have their coffee brewing times down to a science. They know exactly how long they should let the coffee steep, and then when it is ready for consumption. However, if you're new to coffee or just want some tips on how to find your best brew time, this blog post will help!

Coffee consistency

In order to produce a quality cup of coffee, it is necessary to have a consistent brew time for your coffee. Brewing coffee too long or not long enough will result in an inconsistent flavour and this can be frustrating after shopping from an online coffee store or one of the many Toronto coffee roasters. Specialty coffee shops are masters of maintaining roast consistency so you can always get a high-quality cup once you find your personal recipe.

Luckily, there is a way for anyone who drinks coffee on a daily to figure out their perfect brew time! A simple tasting test can help you determine what your optimal brewing time should be by comparing different cups of brewed coffee from different times until one stands out as being preferable over the others!

What is coffee brew time

Coffee brew time starts when hot water first contacts the coffee grounds and finishes when that contact is over.

The coffee brew time will affect a number of things about how the coffee tastes, including:

  • Strength
  • Acidity
  • Overall flavour profile

How long you let your coffee steep before pouring it out can have a huge impact on what kind of cup you end up with! With that being said, there isn't an ideal length for every single person's perfect brew time as some people may prefer more acidic or sweeter coffees while others might like their coffee to be bolder in strength. However, this tasting test should help anyone who wants to experiment with different times until they find something preferable based on personal taste preferences!

Different brewing methods have different brewing times

In a drip system, the contact time should be approximately 5 minutes. If you are making your coffee using a French Press, the contact time should be 2-4 minutes. Espresso has an especially brief brew time — the coffee is in contact with the water for only 20-30 seconds. Cold-brew, on the other hand, should steep overnight (about 12 hours).

It is important to remember these are just starting points or references. Coffee is an individual experience and when learning how to taste coffee like a barista you'll see that your personal taste and therefore personal recipe might differ.

For this tasting test, we'll focus on pour-over brewing which can cover Chemex and other paper filter systems such as the Hario V60. However, you can adapt this test to your preferred method. For example, plunge your French press a minute earlier or a minute later than you usually do. Or if you're using an automatic drip coffee machine, try turning it off 30 seconds before the cycle is complete.

Tasting test for coffee brew time

To get started, grab high-quality coffee from your favourite direct trade coffee store and brew coffee three times:

  • Using the brew time you normally use
  • Using a little longer brew time
  • Using a little shorter brew time

Make sure you keep all things consistent such as your cup size, coffee to water ratio, and your coffee grind size. If you need help finding your grind size, always refer to the coffee grind size guide.

  1. Brew a batch of coffee the way you normally do and be sure to record how long the batch takes: Start the timer as soon as water and coffee make contact, and stop it when the last drop of brewed coffee comes out
  2. Pour the finished brew into a container and set it aside to cool.
  3. While the first batch is cooling, brew the second batch, but now pour continuously and as slowly as you can until you reach your cup size. Make notes of how long it took.
  4. Set the second batch aside to cool down and start brewing your third and last batch, now aiming for a shorter brew time. To do this, simply pour a larger volume of brewing water onto the grounds to start, trying to keep the volume in the filter bed high until you reach your cup size. Take final notes.
  5. Taste!

As you're tasting all three batches, remember to pay attention to their bitterness, sourness, and sweetness. The sweetest batch is likely the one closest to your personal taste and ideal extraction. If you find a clear winner and want to check if it can taste even better, try again with smaller brew time intervals. Want to add more fun to the experiment? Check the coffee flavour wheel and analyze your brew while you're at it. Now let's get brewing!


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