Coffee FAQ’s

How much ground coffee should I use?
A standard “cup” of coffee uses six ounces (177 ml) of water. The SCAA’s standard measure of ground coffee for this quantity of water is 10 grams (+/- 1 gram) or slightly over a third of an ounce (or, simply, two tablespoons). Since the ground coffee will absorb water, you will be left with approximately five and one-third ounces of coffee.  Most coffee scoops and water chambers will be calibrated to this standard. You will want to adjust to taste and cup size from there.

How do I keep my coffee hot?
Optimally, brew a fresh batch whenever you want coffee. To keep coffee hot for shorter periods of time, or for travel, use a thermally insulated container; an enclosed container will reduce the loss of the aromatics that constitute an essential part of the overall flavor. Insulated containers with glass internals, though somewhat delicate, have the least effect upon the coffee taste, followed by good quality stainless steel. Coffee with significant residual sediment, such as coffee brewed in a French press, fares less well when kept hot for extended periods; the sediment continues to extract, making the coffee bitter.

Direct heat—e.g., via a warming plate—should not be applied to brewed coffee, at least not for more than a few minutes; continued heating will make the coffee bitter. This issue is primarily a concern for auto drip coffee makers; choose a model that dispenses into an insulated carafe over one that uses a warming plate.

Reheating coffee in the microwave is controversial; the key issue may be the uneven heating microwaves are known for. There are those who theorize that parts of the coffee that overheat may taste unpleasant, thereby spoiling the cup as a whole.

Why is coffee bitter?
Good quality coffee will commonly have some bitter elements, but they should exist in balance with other aspects; bitterness should not be an overwhelming component. Unfortunately, most people are rarely served anything but poorly prepared coffee that may also have been sitting on a warming element for extended periods, so the standard experience is that coffee is bitter.

What are “espresso beans?”
Although frequently used to refer to a dark, oily roast, there really is no such thing as “espresso beans” or “espresso roast.” These names refer to different blends of coffee varieties and roasts, created with the intent of achieving an optimal espresso; no two blends are likely to be the same. Often, the goals are different: optimally, espresso intended for milk-based drinks will have different taste criteria than espresso intended to be drunk straight; the former needing aspects that can cut through the taste of the milk. Roasters will often have their own proprietary blends with closely guarded compositions.

How is your coffee flavored?
Flavored coffee is made by adding proprietary flavoring oils – natural and synthetic – to coffee beans. Coffee beans are coated with these compounds to enhance the taste. Not to worry! The Flavored coffee you enjoy so much does not have added sugar, carbs or calories, provided you drink it black of course. 

How do you pronounce…?
Yirgacheffe (Ethiopian): YEAR-gah-CHEFF-ay, with a slightly rolled “r”
Huehuetenango (Guatemalan): Way-way-ten-ongo