Coffee Brewing Guide

Firstly, if you want to get the best from freshly roasted specialty coffee you need to grind the coffee beans to requirements. If you do not have a grinder we can supply ground coffee to our customers for no additional charge. 

If you are paying for some of the finest specialty coffees available you should enjoy them at their best. That means you should treat yourself to a coffee grinder.

Hand coffee grinders are great for small quantities, but an electric coffee grinder is better for espresso grinds and larger quantities. One word of caution would be to avoid high-speed bladed coffee grinders. As they generate heat that can have an adverse effect on the end result.

Secondly, what we are about to suggest here is meant as a guide only. The most important outcome is that the roasted coffee is enjoyed. Individual tastes vary but it is widely accepted that for a non-pressurised brewing method a ratio of 60g of coffee to 1 litre of water is a good starting point.

A 200ml cup for one person will therefore require 12g of coffee. An accurate set of scales will be a huge advantage.

The primary methods for brewing require either the coffee to be steeped in the brewing water or for the water to pass through the coffee grounds. The coffee brewing processes have a marked effect on the final outcome and taste of your coffee brew.

The extraction of the flavours and aromas in the coffee bean relies on the interaction of the bean particles and their environment. Therefore many variables exist that can influence the final result of your brewed coffee beans.

The main variables are time, temperature, pressure, grind particle size, water quality, and agitation. The good news is you can control these variables to some extent and make your coffee brew very tasty.

  • Coffee Brewing Time:

    The longer coffee is in contact with the brewing water the more solids will be dissolved and therefore imparted to the coffee brew. Note,however, that longer is not necessarily better. For example with French Press (Cafetiere) we steep for about four to six minutes whilst with a pourover such as the Tiamo V series dripper we aim for three to four minutes for the water to pass through the coffee. Leave the coffee to steep for too long and bitterness can develop.
  • Temperature:

    Chemical reactions occur more swiftly at higher temperatures; also some reactions will not take place until a certain temperature is reached. With coffee brewing there are some reactions that are undesirable that can occur at high water temperatures. It is therefore suggested that the brewing water be no more than 96°C and ideally around 93°C.
  • Pressure:

    The greater the pressure of the faster the reactions, but for most coffee brewing methods this is not a concern. For devices such as espresso machines they are set by manufactures. For hand operated devices such as Aeropress variations can be controlled by the user and experimentation is suggested.
  • Coffee Grind particle size:

    A smaller coffee grind increases the overall surface area of the coffee thereby increasing the opportunities for reaction with the environment. Therefore for longer brew times such as with French Press a coarser grind is preferred whilst with short brew times, as with espresso, a finer coffee grind is selected.
  • Water quality:

    Overly hard water can have an adverse effect on taste, however, some minerals in the water are required to react with the coffee grounds. Distilled water will not produce a good coffee brew. A carbon and de-chlorination filter is a good start such as a Brita water filter.
  • Agitation:

    Quite simply if you stir the coffee grounds whilst in the brewing water more reactions will take place sooner. Leave them alone, such as we would advise with French press, and the coffee brewing time can be extended.

Here at Silver Oak Coffee we recommend the 60g/L ratio for use with drippers, such as the V60. This is a good starting point from which to experiment. The process we undertake is to fold the filter edge over and, once in the dripper, rinse with hot water. 

Discard that water and place the dripper on the cup or server, add the ground coffee, wet the grinds with water at 93°C, wait 30 seconds. Slowly pour the first third of the coffee brew water onto the coffee ensuring all the grounds are covered, repeat two more times aiming for an overall coffee brew time of 3-4 minutes. We also leave the brewed coffee to cool slightly. The coffee brew will release more intricate flavours at cooler temperatures. 

When preparing French press we use the same ratio as with the drippers and steep for 4 to 8 minutes depending on the roast degree of the coffee. Darker roasts such as The Black Bag range extract more efficiently and require less time. Conversely, lighter roasts need longer to reach the same intensity. We do not stir but at the end of the brewing time, we remove the bloom that floats at the top. We then plunge slowly and serve the coffee immediately.

We recommend the same ratios and time for Sowden pots but of course there is no need to remove the bloom or plunge. I use a slightly finer grind setting than for French press and a brew time of 6 minutes for all but the Black Bag style coffees.

An excellent resource for brewing guides and opinions for the various devices currently available can be found at

If you want to discuss coffee with others is a great place to start.