We’ve all consumed what tastes like water-flavored coffee or the opposite, coffee so thick it you could stand a spoon up in it. And both are generally awful and leave you wanting. There are two parts that go into a balanced cup (called Optimum Balance): Soluble concentration (Strength) and Soluble Yield (Extraction).

When you prepare coffee, the soluble components dissolve into the water, in fact, up to 27-35% can be extracted but that doesn’t mean you want to extract that much because it would not taste good. The best flavors occur with a soluble yield of 18-22% of the mass of coffee. For strength, most people prefer a strength of 1.15-1.35% Total Dissolved Solids to water.

When you combine these two things, you end up with the really handy SCAA brew chart below:

SCAA brew chart

SCAA brew chart

At the top of the diagonal red lines, you see the coffee to water ratio. How do you move up and down the red lines? We’ll be talking about that in our next posts, but other components that go into it are the grind you use, the brew method, technique, and filter.

An easy takeaway for making coffee in Fort Collins: Try your next coffee with a coffee to water ratio of 1:15 which is a good starting point for optimum balance. 

This is the second of our series on making great coffee at home. Read all about water here.