Coffee Lab

Chuck Nigash
Grinding Principles

Grinding Principles

In short, size matters. Controlling this variable allows you to improve the taste of your coffee, ensure repeatability, experiment with recipes and adjust to your preference. Coffee flavor can be compromised by grind size. Choose the wrong one and the result is weak or bitter brews. Here is a baseline for grind size and the brewers that work with them. Experiment, starting with these examples, then adjust finer or coarser, longer or shorter brew times. Be creative — as you increase grind size, you can lengthen brew times. This is where immersion and extraction offer so many profiles, there is no getting...

Read more →


Chuck Nigash
Acidity 101

Acidity 101

Acidity — often mistaken for acrid, bitter or pungent — is at the heart of the flavor chain. In truth, acidity is the dry, bright, and sparkling sensation that sets a high-quality coffee from a mundane flat cup. Some call it snobbery, but it can be compared to nice wine or craft beer experiences. Highly prized coffees are characterized by bright, nuanced qualities; quite often, they are unforgettable. A standard cup of coffee will have no movement or effervescence -- your takeaway, nothing special. Well-curated, freshly-roasted brew will show up with bubbles or brownish crema during brewing or after poured....

Read more →


Chuck Nigash
Cold Brew

Cold Brew

Let's throw some cold water on cold coffee. Ice coffee has taken over this subject since Starbucks popularized Frappuccino. In reality, it's been old news since the mid-80's when Coffee Toddy's were curious items alongside Krups drip machines driven by LED alarms. Cold coffee shouldn't have been relegated to trend; the Toddy has been around since 1964. History of cold brewing dates to ancient Peru, but the Dutch began documenting cold brew in 1840. But let's take a step back. Ice coffee is popular and has a place in your day. But if you taste carefully, the result is as...

Read more →


Chuck Nigash

Pour Over

Pour-over coffee starts with fresh-ground coffee, a filter, and a filter holder, often called a 'pour-over dripper.' At the most basic level, pour-over brewing involves pouring water over and through the grounds to extract the coffee flavors into your cup or serving vessel. Seems simple, right? Let's go a few levels deeper. This method involves three phases: wetting, dissolution, and diffusion. Each phase is linked to the others, and they affect what comes next. There are several choices of devices for pour-over brewing, and each will deliver a strength. Chemex brewers use a double-bonded filter to catch fats and fibers....

Read more →

Recent Articles