Top tips for great filter coffee

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

18 October 2019

The rise of the Espresso Martini has led bars to seriously step up their coffee game – but for many venues, the cost, training and space required for an espresso machine just isn’t practical.

That’s where filter coffee comes in. The equipment for filter brewing is far less expensive than espresso machines and – when made correctly – it can result in an excellent cup of coffee.

In his session at Bar Convent Berlin, Hannes Fendrich, head of coffee at Coffee Circle roastery, shared his best advice for cracking filter coffee in bars. ‘You can showcase a bigger variety of coffee flavours with filter,’ he said.

Here are his top tips for brewing in your bar…

Choose your equipment wisely

There are a few different options for brewing filter coffee, and Fendrich talked us through three of them: the French press, Aeropress and the Chemex.

He recommended skipping the French press for cocktails, as the lack of paper filter means that sediment can get into the drink.

The Aeropress can allow you to brew quickly, producing a coffee that is more similar in style to espresso than other filter methods, while the Chemex can produce more servings of coffee, depending on the size of your kit.

Perfect the grind

It’s absolutely necessary to grind your coffee beans fresh, Fendrick explained: ‘From the moment you grind the coffee it starts losing aromatics.’ Invest in a grinder and you’ll notice a big difference in flavour.

It’s also important to find the right grind size. ‘[Grind size not only affects] flavour intensity, but also you can manipulate the extraction of the coffee,’ he said. ‘The finer I grind the more intense it gets, but if it’s too fine the coffee can be too bitter. It’s key to play around with it.’

Always prep your filter

Be sure to rinse your paper filter before brewing the coffee by pouring hot water over it – otherwise your coffee may have some paper flavours.

‘Plus if I preheat the filter with hot water it’s easier for the coffee to seep through and it will taste more intense.’

Get the ratios and temperatures right

Fendrich’s ideal ratio is 60g ground coffee per litre of water, scaled up or down according to your needs. He heats his water to just under 100°C: ‘If it’s too hot you get too much bitterness out of the coffee.’

And if you fancy using iced coffee in your drinks, just replace half of the water volume with ice cubes. Put the ice in the glass chamber, then brew the coffee with hot water, pouring it in intervals.

‘[Iced coffee] typically gets bitter because it cools down over a long period of time, but if you cool it immediately [by brewing it over ice cubes] it reduces the bitterness,’ he said.

Ultimately, Fendrich views the filter setup as an excellent brewing method for making nuanced coffees that shine in delicate drinks: ‘You can really showcase the origins of the coffee with filter,’ he said. ‘Plus the Chemex looks good!’

Related articles

Mixers & More

The key to great coffee is terroir, says Difference Coffee founder Amir Gehl

In celebration of UK Coffee Week 2019, we sat down with Difference Coffee founder Amir Gehl to chat terroir, coffee’s third-wave movement and how even Starbucks is scared.

Beer & Cider

Beer and barrels – top tips from Imbibe Live

While barrel fermentation and barrel ageing are par for the course in the drinks trade, these practices aren’t widespread when it comes to beer.

Wine

Isabelle Legerone MW's top tips for Raw Wine

Raw Wine – formerly known as Raw – is coming to London on 11-12 March.

Spirits & Cocktails

The magic beans: Coffee cocktails

After years of being overlooked as a proper cocktail component, the bar world is finally, er, waking up to coffee.