I admit, I am not one for changing my baseline brewing ratios for each brewing method not because I am lazy, but for the reason that if the coffee tastes good why go and change it? I am starting to see that something can taste good, but it can also be better too. There’s always room for improvement, especially when referring to coffee.
I used to think that if a coffee didn’t taste right then it was the brewing method to blame, or so I thought. Sure, not all coffees taste good in every brewing method, but that doesn’t mean that the brewing method should take first blame. Its quite possible that the bean to water ratio used was not suitable or even adjusted to fit the coffee. Maybe the grind size wasn’t right, or maybe you brewed too long… Now, I’m not saying that blame should be placed anywhere here either because the right bean to water ratio, grind size, or time won’t happen on the first try or even the second. This is why you need to experiment with every single coffee you come across. To be honest, if you were able to get that perfect coffee on the first try then it would take a lot of the fun out of the process of brewing coffee.
The idea to start re-evaluating my brewing ratios and to start experimenting more with different ratios for each coffee didn’t come to me overnight. It has been something I’ve been pondering over for awhile now. I haven’t pushed myself to start this journey for reasons I can’t give, but after reading How Do You Brew? Magnus Hoem Iversen, 2011 Norwegian Brewers Cup Champion. in which a paragraph stuck out at me, almost as if slapping me right across the face, I realized this was a good sign to start making changes.
All baristas have their methods when it comes to brewing, but I think it is very important to put these methods away in the first stage, which I consider a more experimental phase. The reason I feel this is important is because I think we sometimes get too hung up in certain brew recipes, methods or theories, and apply them to all the new coffees that come to our table. If you are using good coffee and good methods, this will generally result in good cups of coffee, but it will almost never result in truly outstanding cups of coffee. ~ Magnus Hoem Iversen, 2011 Norwegian Brewers Cup Champion
The greatest part about the coffee industry is that you are always learning, growing, and evolving. This is why coffee can’t be just a hobby, or a fascination. You’re either in it fully, or not at all. There is no middle ground.
I’m hoping that this post doesn’t serve as just a realization to myself, but to help anyone else out there that might be doing the same thing that I’ve been doing. Don’t stop experimenting just because something tastes good to you. Experiment every day as you never what you might be missing out on.