Tips for Making Great Filter Coffee

The lion’s share of coffee beverages sold and served in this country are filter brewed, and great coffee can be made from on-premises-ground whole beans, or from portion control pre-ground packets. Gillies makes its portion control packages from the same delicious coffee that it offers in whole beans.

Here are the essentials for making a great cup for your customers:

INGREDIENTS:

  • Great coffee, freshly roasted & properly ground, and measured
  • Fresh cold water without taste taint or odor, properly measured and brought to 195-205˚ F (at sea level)
  • A clean coffeemaker and filter

WATER QUALITY:

Always use fresh cold sweet smelling water to brew coffee. The use of water with added chemicals such as chlorinated water, distilled water, and artificially softened water, may brew a beverage with poor taste. If you are in a location where the taste quality of your water source is suspect then you should consider brewing with either bottled spring water, or having a non-chemical type water filtration system on your water line upstream from your automatic brewer. If you are using a water filtration device make sure to have the filters checked monthly, and replaced as needed.

COFFEE/WATER RATIO:

Gillies recommends a ratio of 16 liquid ounces of fresh cold water to every ounce of fresh ground coffee weight for a Rich Full-bodied brew. For a Standard Medium -bodied brew use 17 liquid ounces of fresh cold water to every ounce of fresh ground coffee weight. For a Mild Light-bodied brew use 18 ounces of fresh cold water to every ounce of fresh ground coffee weight.

The ideal is to extract about 18-22% of the soluble solids found naturally in the ground coffee and suspend these in the hot water. Extracting substantially more or less from the coffee will result in a cup that has undesirable qualities.

OUNCES of COFFEE HEARTY BREW
16 OUNCES of WATER PER 1 OZ COFFEE
MEDIUM BREW
17 OUNCES of WATER PER 1 OZ COFFEE
MILD BREW
18 OUNCES of WATER PER 1 OZ COFFEE
3 48 51 54
4 64 68 72
5 80 85 90
6 96 102 108
7 112 119 126
8 128 136 144
9 144 153 162
10 160 170 180
11 176 187 198
12 192 204 216
13 208 221 234
14 224 238 252
15 240 255 270
16 256 272 288

BREW TIME:

The critical brew time for a drip brewer is 4-6 minutes to obtain the desired extraction of coffee. Mistakes in grinding or a poorly designed brewing system may cause brew times to be too short or too long resulting in a week (short: grind too coarse or too shallow a coffee bed) or overly strong (long: grind too fine or too deep a coffee bed) beverage.

BREW TEMPERATURE:

For best results coffee is brewed (at sea level) at 200˚F ± 5˚.

HAND POURED COFFEE:

Hand-pouring an individual pot or serving of coffee is of ancient heritage. Choosing a kettle with a narrow spout produces a thin precise steam of hot water to be directed over the grounds at the cost of lost degrees of temperature. Choosing a wider mouth kettle increases water flow, cutting time and conserving temperature, but at the expense of being able to micro-manage the water stream. Individually controlling the rate of flow, and the wetting of the grounds produces a hand crafted individual cup of coffee. It takes several minutes to produce a serving. The results are often very delicious, but replicable cup after cup only within wide parameters.

SPECIAL NOTE:

By-Passing Water During The Brew Cycle:
You can control the brewing time by by-passing some of the water. By-passing is a system of brewing with less water than recommended and introducing the by-passed water into the beverage during or after brewing. Some automatic brewers have an automatic By-pass feature that can be set during installation. You can by-pass 20% of the water volume without negatively affecting the resulting beverage.

Always Dispose of Spent Grounds Promptly:
To avoid extracting unwanted bitter elements from the spent grounds into your beverage coffee always remove the brew basket and spent grounds from the brewer immediately after the brew cycle has been completed.

Filter Coffee Brews in Layers:
Filter coffee brews in layers with the first portion of the beverage being very strong and the last being very weak. It is therefore recommended that coffee brewed by the drip method be mixed or stirred in the brewer holding chamber prior to serving to make a beverage of consistent strength and taste throughout the batch.

YIELD:

Rich Brew will yield 240 OZ beverage per pound of coffee (about 40 6-OZ servings / ¾” below brim of 8 OZ paper hot-cup). Standard Brew will yield 256 OZ beverage per pound of coffee (about 43 6-OZ servings / ¾” below brim of 8 OZ paper hot-cup). Mild Brew will yield 272 OZ beverage per pound of coffee (about 45 6-OZ servings / ¾” below brim of an 8 OZ paper hot-cup).

HOLDING BREWED COFFEE:

For best results brewed coffee is held (at sea level) at 185˚F ± 5˚. Fresh brewed coffee will taste fresh for about 30-minutes. Old coffee should be discarded and fresh coffee brewed at least every 45-minutes. After 45-minutes the aroma has faded, the taste is bitter, and the color of the brew is cloudy. Decanting the brew in a thermal carafe or tank will keep coffee hot longer, but no coffee should be served after 45-minutes after brewing. Coffee should never be reheated.