Last winter we shared a coffee recipe with our friends. Our recipe focussed in measuring the right quantity and step by step process. Yet, our friends could not brew it right. It made us think.
We realised our mistake. It’s the same mistake most recipes commit. Most coffee recipes are about the author. It’s not about how a user may brew. We decided to decode the recipe for a regular user.
Key to good coffee
Making coffee is as easy as making chai. Fresh coffee along with the right grind size will ensure a very good cup of coffee.
Three things that influences the coffee concentrate.
- Amount of coffee powder: More coffee means stronger coffee. Most of the times random measurements are used to make coffee. We used the SCAA´s (Speciality Coffee Association of America) guidelines to weigh the coffee.
The coffee powder that we have used ranged from 25–29g. In table spoon terms it means, four heaping table spoons. Using this particular measurement we were able to brew good cup consistently.
- Grind size of the coffee: Finer grind will mean stronger coffee.
- Freshness: Fresher the coffee, more tasty and strong it will be. There is a reason instant coffee tastes the way it tastes.
Good kaapi is half science and half art
We prepared kaapi using a blend of arabica and robusta coffee beans. We used the Tumbler which makes concentrate for two cups. We only used whole cream milk.
We started with coarse grind size.
Never use coarse grind size:
This type of coffee ground is the size of Himalayan salt (chunky pieces). The total brewing time was less than five minutes.
The coffee concentrate had weak body. Weak body means more water content in the concentrate. Coarse ground allows water to seep through fast. It creates a weaker concentrate. As a result there is less flavour in it.
We mixed the coffee concentrate with milk , but it tasted awful. Ideal ratio is 1 part coffee and 4 parts milk ( 30 ml concentrate with 120 ml milk). More coffee concentrate or less milk will make milk coffee stronger. Opposite is also true.
We also tried equal parts each. But, nothing worked here because the concentration was very weak. We were not happy. Time for smaller grind size.
We thought that medium grind size ( smaller) will be apt.
Medium is okay, neither here, nor there:
Medium-fine size is the size of small sand grains. The total brewing time was around six minutes. The coffee concentrate still did not have heavy body or thickness. The ideal thickness would be something like boiled full cream milk. The concentrate that we made with it was a light one. Medium-fine ground formed a compact base in the tumbler. This grind size was not holding water longer enough to make a good extraction. Longer the coffee ground holds the water better the extraction is.
This time we tried equal parts coffee and milk. For the first cup we use 50ml of concentrate and 50ml of milk. The coffee was not strong and it tasted just about fine. For the second and third cups we kept the concentrate amount same (50ml). We added 70ml and 120ml milk respectively, both these cups tasted very weak (more like milk than coffee).
We were still not happy. We knew that we had to get the grind size more fine.
Fine grind size is just perfect:
The size of the coffee ground is similar to table salt (very fine). This time the total brewing time was about fifteen minutes.
The final concentrate was a clean one with less residue, a good body (thick coffee) and good texture (dark colour). We made the best cup of Kaapi using this grind size. The finely ground coffee was able to form a very compact base in the tumbler. Water was seeping at a slower rate, which helped in a very good extraction. We got a very strong coffee concentrate.
We tried equal parts coffee and milk. Our first cup, we made using 50ml coffee concentrate and 50ml milk. This cup was very strong. For the second cup we used 50ml concentrate and 70ml milk, which resulted in a strong cup of coffee too. The final cup was made using 50ml concentrate and 120ml milk. This particular ratio gave us the best result and a very balanced cup of coffee, which was not very strong or weak.
Few tips for success:
Remember the key is the concentrate and how you want your coffee to be. If you want it strong adjust the coffee (more) to milk (less) ratio and vice versa.
We recommend using 30 g or 4 table spoons of coffee powder.
We recommend fresh beans and coffee powder. As the coffee becomes older it loses its aroma and oil concentration. The process of oxidation makes it stale and less suitable for making a good cup of coffee.
We recommend pouring water after it has rested for 60 seconds off the boil. A few seconds would also do, but avoid pouring boiling water.
The more you brew coffee, the more you will control the end result. So, don’t stop and keep on brewing.