Jori Korhonen //
// 26.3.2021

Want to Brew Better Coffee at Home - Try This!

Everyone wants to drink great coffee always everywhere, right? In cafés you can rely in the barista's expertise and proper equipment but how about better coffee at home also? Have you struggled to brew that delicious coffee at home? Want to know a secret tip which will definitely make your coffee at home taste better? Check out the tip from below!

I have always been struggling to brew delicious coffee at home as I'm used to using Mahlkönig EK43 at work and I used to its extremely even grind size. I do have pretty good equipment at home when it comes to filter coffee - Wilfa Uniform grinder, Hario gooseneck kettle, a few Hario v60s, Aeropress, Chemex, the list goes on... But still I have been struggling. The struggle comes from the fact that no non-commercial grinder is able to produce as even grind particle size distribution as Mahlkönig Ek43 or other high end grinders are. So in other words you will have more fines (extremely fine particles) and boulders (extremely big particles) in your coffee dose. I have struggled especially with the fines; my brews have always been kind of muted, lacking brightness and complexity. They have tasted kind of over-extracted even though the extraction levels have been extremely low; my usual brew has been around 1,1% TDS, Extraction Yield 17-19%. Those numbers are the highest I have been able to brew.

trendy coffee picture
It would be awesome to drink perfectly extracted coffee at home.

But let's dig deeper just for a moment before I reveal the solution for this problem. So when you have uneven particle size distribution in your ground coffee dose, a few problem will arise;

  • the extraction will also be uneven
  • the fines might clog the coffee bed
  • the coffee bed will channel

The extraction will be uneven because the different sized particles will contribute differently. Let's say your ground coffee dose consist of 50% of fines and 50% of boulders (it's never like this but let's use this as an example). Your overall extraction might be good - let's say 20% but what does it consist of? The fines will be extracted 30% and boulder 10% --> your overall extraction is excellent but in real world it's mixture of under-extraction (boulders) and over-extraction (fines). 

Clogging of the coffee bed happens sometimes and usually the reason is that you have ground too fine or/and you are using an Ethiopian coffee. But if you have a lot of fines in your dose, the coffee bed might clog even though you would have correct or suitable grind size. Clogging of the coffee bed will almost always results in...

Channelling - the worst nightmare of every barista. Channelling happens every time you brew coffee but it's always better the more you are able to avoid it. When you have uneven particle distribution, some areas of the coffee bed will be more dense than other. That will result in channelling.

But now I have found a solution to my problem that can be found in every kitchen;

Paper towel is your solution

"Wait what?!" might be your thought in your head but yes, the solution is a piece of paper towel. But what does the paper towel have to do with coffee brewing and how can you use it?

The answer is easy and simple; paper towels have holes/pits/pores which easily catch things that you are wiping. When you spread ground coffee on a paper towel, the pores catch smaller particles from the ground coffee = it's easy, fast and simple way to remove the fines from the ground coffee.

paper towel coffee fines
The pores in the paper towel will capture the fines.

I usually brew with a recipe of 17,5g/300g so I need to grind approx. 18,5g of coffee and the 1g will be the fines that I remove from the dose. 

paper towel coffee dose
The dose after sifting the coffee with paper towel.