Brewing Recipe for Coffee Reviews

It's good and natural for one's coffee brewing recipe to evolve. Half the delight of brewing your own coffee is chasing a better cup with technique and equipment. In the midst of always seeking a better brew, I've found it helpful to have a baseline recipe used for evaluating coffee. The recipe stays the same for a while so that I can cup the differences in the coffees rather than my brew recipe. Some prefer classic cupping to evaluate a coffee, but I find using a more efficient brewing method (pourover rather than immersion) with a filter makes everything more enjoyable. So below I will outline the recipe and equipment that I'm currently using for my reviews.


The brewing technique that I'm using is based on George Howell's Kalita #185 Brew Guide. A few years ago I was part of a friendly blind brewing competition and this technique beat the others. It's easily repeatable and prefers to use a greater number of smaller pours to maintain a consistent slurry temperature. The techique goes something like this:

  1. Rinse filter and decanter with hot water
  2. Grind coffee, place it in the rinsed filter
  3. Pour concentric circles from middle to outer edge
  4. Allow kettle to be no more than three inches above the slurry
  5. Pours should last 15 seconds with another 15 second buffer between each


  1. 0:00 - 0:15 Pour 60g water (60g total)
  2. 0:30 - 0:45 Pour 70g water (130g total)
  3. 1:00 - 1:15 Pour 70g water (200g total)
  4. 1:30 - 1:45 Pour 60g water (260g total)
  5. 2:00 - 2:15 Pour 70g water (330g total)
  6. 2:30 - 2:45 Pour 66g water (396g total)

Recipe Paramaters

I arrived at these parameters after quite a bit of tinkering. Eventually I was able to use a refractometer to validate my results. If you're trying to replicate a recipe like this on your own equipment the simplest way is to start with paramters as close to these as possible. From there if the coffee tastes weak or sour, use a finer grind. If the coffee tastes bitter or harsh, use a coarser grind.

Note: My grinder is fairly high end. With a lower-tier grinder, you may need to increase your coffee dose and/or shorten your total brew time.

  • Coffee: 22.6 grams
  • Water: 396 grams
  • Ratio: 17.5:1
  • Grind setting: 5P (looks like fine sand)
  • Water Temperature: 201°F
  • Brew time target: 3:30 - 5:00 minutes
  • Prefer brew TDS of 1.4 or greater


Most of this is self explanatory, but a word about water: It is relatively inexpensive to buy distilled water by the gallon. Unfortunately though, I've found that much of the distilled water available for purchase comes in 1 gallon plastic jugs that resemble those used for milk. More often than not, these containers give off a plastic flavor than can be smelled or tasted in the distilled water. The best alternative I've found for distiled water near me is linked below.

  • Distilled water treated with Third Wave Water Classic
  • Bonavita variable temperature kettle
  • Kalita #185 stainless steel filter cone
  • Kalita #185 filters
  • Baratza Vario BG burr grinder
  • Acaia coffee scale
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