1. How do I keep my coffee fresh?

There is a big debate about keeping fresh ground coffee in the fridge or freezer. The problem is that coffee behaves like a sponge. It will absorb any flavours floating around in your fridge; garlic flavoured coffee is probably not something you wish to try! However if you seal your coffee up in an airtight container or keep it in the packaging it came in properly sealed then you shouldn’t have too many problems. Keeping coffee cool will increase longevity of flavour, however after around 10 days any opened packet of ground coffee will be stale.

2. Which is the correct grind for my coffee maker?

As a general rule of thumb the longer the coffee is in contact with the water the coarser it should be ground. The exception is Turkish coffee which, for the purposes of this commentary, we’ll put to one side.

Espresso method requires a very fine grind of coffee. The coffee needs to “hold-up” the water as it is forced through the coffee under pressure. The equipment that falls into this category are: traditional espresso machines (including bean to cup), stove top machines (eg. Bialetti) and Aeropress.

Filter coffee can be a little coarser as this method uses the force of gravity to draw the water through the coffee. However if it is too coarse the water can pass through the coffee too quickly, thereby making the coffee taste weak.

French Press or Cafetiere – This requires a medium grind. The water is in contact with the coffee for some time thereby allowing the flavour to be gently extracted. If the coffee is too finely ground you will also have difficulty in pressing the plunger down when you are trying to remove the grounds from the coffee.

3. Which is the best coffee for a particular coffee maker?

This is all down to taste. The darker the coffee is roasted the greater the perceived taste of coffee, however a lot of the more subtle notes will be lost. Medium roasted coffees will have a wider range of complex flavours which makes them more interesting. Lighter roasted coffee can taste more citrusy so more gentle forms of extraction such as filter are appropriate. The key is always to ensure you use truly fresh coffee.

4. How much coffee should I use to make a cup of coffee?

As a rule of thumb 7g of ground coffee to 140ml (5oz) of liquid will give you a well balanced drink. After that it is a matter of taste. On the whole we see too little coffee being used, particularly in French presses. This will result in a thin watery taste which is a real waste of good coffee. If you’ve made your coffee too strong you can always add some hot water. If it starts out too weak you’ll need to start again.

They can be if you are careful. As you “plunge” the coffee the fine grounds of espresso can block up the mesh filter and make it difficult to press down the plunger. This in turn can result in the pressure being so great that the hot water in the cafetiere escapes suddenly and goes everywhere.

If this doesn’t happen the coffee will be drinkable but you will find a lot of sediment in the bottom of your cup.

5. If the beans are ground for stove top can the coffee also be used in a cafetiere?

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