By Loreal Crumbley, for the EPA’s Environmental Education Division
Many of you may be looking for effective green tips. One tip I can offer you is to recycle used coffee grounds.
Coffee mixed with soil can be used as a natural fertilizer. Used coffee grounds provide gardens with an abundant source of nutrition. Recycling coffee grounds is not only beneficial for gardeners but it helps in reducing the amount of waste going into landfills.
Fortunately, AndOrange Motion Design created this 75-second animation that breaks down six different methods: Moka pot, vac pot/syphon, AeroPress, French press, Chemex, and pour over. (Visit this guide to learn about cold brew.)
While the video offers brewing times, keep in mind that these are only estimates. As the folks over at Perfect Daily Grind note,”Brew time varies depending on the grind size, water temperature and volume, and more – so don’t be afraid to experiment, especially if you find you prefer a shorter/longer period of extraction. After all, it’s you who’s drinking that coffee.”
There are a lot of reasons to love cold brew. Unlike iced coffee, you can control the concentration so that you don’t end up with a diluted drink.
And since the grounds aren’t subjected to heat, cold brew has a different chemical profile than coffee made with hot water. This results in lower levels of acidity, which means a smoother cup that’s more mellow on the stomach.
Cold brew is popping up everywhere from local cafes to national chains, but it’s also easy (and cheap) to make at home. Just follow these simple steps, adapted from the food blog Food 52:
“Extraction is arguably the most important and least understood aspect of coffee brewing,” says Barista Hustle’s Matt Perger in this guide on the topic.
Put simply, extraction is the method of pulling the flavor from your coffee beans. It’s the magic that turns water and beans into a beautiful beverage. As water passes through the grounds, it dissolves all sorts of compounds that end up in your cup.
But this is where things get tricky: As Food and Wine notes, “Some of those compounds taste great, but others are kind of nasty. To get the good ones, and the right amount of them, you need to properly extract your coffee, meaning that the water dissolves the right stuff, and the right amount of it.”
As a general rule, brewing methods with longer contact time require a coarser grind (and vice versa – your espresso should be very fine). If this seems like a lot to consider before your first cup of coffee, don’t worry. Continue reading →