Coffee Extraction III - Extraction Time

Posted by Cristina Dias on

The last element we would like to discuss in terms of coffee extraction is brewing time. The amount of time that the coffee grounds are in contact with water will greatly impact the taste and quality of the final brew.


The ideal brewing time highly depends on the brewing method used - and it relates directly with the grind size used for that particular method. The longer the brewing time, the coarser the coffee beans should be. Otherwise, they will over extract and the coffee will be bitter. On the same token, the shorter the brew time, the finer the grind. This will give the water enough surface to extract all it needs to, quickly - such as a shot of espresso. 


Here are some rules of thumb for different brew types:

Espresso Shot: Between 24 - 30 seconds - the exact time will depend on your espresso machine and coffee beans. Use this time gauge to pull various shots within this time-frame until you hit the sweet spot.

Pour-over method (for 20 grams of coffee):  typically takes just under 3 minutes - if it goes past the 3-minute mark it will most likely have some bitterness and to fix this you can do 2 things: coarsen your grind - or pour the water a bit faster.
When trying to perfect your brew, only change one variable at a time. For instance, if you are grinding your coffee coarser, make sure you pour the water the same way as before. If you change both things at once (coarser grind and slower pour) you won’t know which variable is responsible for which change. 


Aeropress: there are many different recipes here so it will depend a bit whether you are doing a ready to drink or a dilution method (see our learn page) but as a rule of thumb the time is around 2mins and 30 sec (30 sec pre-infusion; and 2-minute steep time)

French press: 4-5 minutes. We recommend 1 minute pre-infusion then 4-minute steep time.


As mentioned in a previous blog post, it's worth noting that water temperature also plays a part in all this. A fine grind and high water temperature will extract the coffee faster, while a coarse grind and low water temperature will extract the coffee slower. Therefore, it is essential to consider all these factors together to achieve the desired taste.


When one first begins exploring the world of specialty coffee and all the science behind it, one can never imagine how intricate it is. It is essential to consider not only the brewing time when brewing coffee, but also grind size and water temperature. It can be a bit of work and a lot of trial and error, but once you have the recipe right, you will be able to enjoy an amazing cup of coffee with body and complexity. 


Happy brewing!


← Older Post