Brewing Tips | Equal Exchange
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Brewing Tips

By choosing Equal Exchange, you've demonstrated that your coffee is very important to you. As you brew with care, you continue to honor the hard work of our small-scale farmer partners and join a community of Equal Exchange coffee lovers.

Pouring Coffee

How Do You Brew?

Maybe you brew manually, using an Aeropress, Chemex, Hario, Clever or French press. Or maybe you use a machine like a percolator or a commercial 12-cup brewer to make coffee for a crowd. Let the coffee experts at Equal Exchange show you how to get the most out of your cup with step-by-step instructions and tips.

Manual Brewing     Machine Brewing

Troubleshoot Your Cup

When you brew your coffee well, you honor the hard work of the farmers who grew the beans. Are you making any of these 8 common coffee brewing mistakes at home? Get help from a professional Quality Control Tech to solve problems with grind size, ratios, water temperature and more.

Read On

The Basic Elements


Coffee is 99% water! Use only the cleanest, freshest water available. It's best not to use distilled water in which the natural minerals have been removed because coffee interacts with these minerals to naturally enhance the taste. Bottled spring water or filtered tap water is ideal.

Water Temperature

The perfect temperature to brew coffee is between 195˚ and 205˚F. Since many automatic drip brewers average only 850 watts of power, it's important to make sure that your brewer's capacity is at least 1,000 watts as this is required to bring the water temperature up to the proper range. When brewing manually with a French press or filter cone, remove your kettle of boiling water from its heat source and let it sit 2 minutes before pouring over your ground coffee.


When you purchase whole bean coffee, it's best to grind your coffee right before brewing, although it's perfectly acceptable to grind your coffee when you buy it. Your goal is to achieve the right grind for the right brewing method:

Coffee grinds
  • coarse grind for French press brewing
  • medium-coarse grind (aka. "regular") for automatic drip brewers
  • medium grind for filter cone method
  • fine grind when making espresso

You may also purchase Equal Exchange drip grind coffee that has been ground and vacuum-sealed to preserve freshness for automatic drip brewers and filter cones.

Coffee-to-Water ratio

Whatever method of brewing you use, the general standard is 1-2 Tbsp of coffee for every 6 oz of water. For the French press, use 2 Tbsp per 6 oz of water. Automatic drip brewers, on the other hand, tend to produce a desirable brew when using as little as 1 Tbsp per 6 oz of water. You'll want to experiment and adjust depending on whether you prefer a stronger or milder brew.

Brewing Time

Once your coffee finishes brewing, the flavor and quality begins to deteriorate. In the case of the French press, after it's brewed 3-5 minutes and the coffee grounds have been pushed down to the bottom of the glass vessel, we recommend that you transport the coffee into a thermos, or serve it immediately; if left in the press, the coffee will continue to brew and become bitter. In general, we recommend that you transfer coffee from any method of brewing into a stainless steel thermos or an insulated carafe to keep it hot for the next cup.

Storing Your Coffee

Storing your coffee in an airtight glass or ceramic canister is optimal. Properly stored coffee can stay fresh up to two weeks and should not be refrigerated, nor is it necessary to keep it in the freezer. For maximum freshness, we recommend purchasing only as much coffee as you will consume in a 1 1/2 to 2 week period.

Start withCoffee You'll Love

Coffee and mug on a picnic blanket

The first step to drinking a better cup of coffee is buying better beans! We’re the fair trade coffee experts; Equal Exchange sources fine organic beans directly from small-scale farmers and we roast it with care every day. Check out our range of origins, roast levels and packaging options.

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