Mountain bikers are accustomed to continually dialing in their bikes. We're constantly tinkering the PSI whether in our tires or suspension depending on where we're riding, trail conditions, and of course personal preference. Sure, if you're like me you don't fuss much with that kind of tomfoolery. A quick grab of the tires to check the PSI or pushing down on my front forks and I'm set and ready for the trail. It's not like I'm getting ready to drop into the DH course at Fort William or Les Gets. But we get this whole notion of tweaking ... adjusting things like brakes, shifting, suspension, and keeping everything in top shape.
The same mindset can and actually should be applied to coffee.
Sure, it's easy to get our recipe set for our preferred brew method. We've set the grind size, water temp, and even weigh our beans and water, use a timer, etc. But there's actually more that you can do to improve your coffee which means enjoying your cup that much more.
Think of coffee like your suspension set-up whether we're talking air, coils, or a combo of both. We also know how different forks feel and we're constantly tinkering until it feels "just right." Now also think of all of the variances in suspension from FOX to Rock Shox to Öhlins to X Fusion to Marzocchi, etc. Each fork needs to be dialed in and we know that they feel different from each other which is why we all have our favorites. Coffee is not "just coffee." Every coffee comes from a different region and country, grown at different elevations and in different soil conditions, and then there are many other variables like bean density, moisture content, and then how the bean was depulped. That's probably more complex then swapping suspension companies for your bike.
You want and need to dial in your brew method for each coffee that you pick up. That means this ... constantly fiddling with it and dialing it in until it is "just right." How? For starters, experiment with grind size. Also experiment with how long you brew your coffee. More than that play around with brew methods or even alter your current one. For some coffees I love using a paper filter for a v60 pourover. On others I increase the grind size, use a metal filter, and take longer to brew. Sometimes on my aeropress I use paper filters and other times I use reusable metal ones. I read up on different aeropress brew methods and experiment.
That's what makes coffee fun! The same coffee will taste noticeably different depending on brew method and some of these variables mentioned. But take your time, dial it in, and through it you'll continue to learn more about coffee and all of the subtle nuances. You're already doing this on your bike, so why not expand your geekdom into coffee?
Words by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager. Photos by Grant Benesh.