8 Steps to Great Coffee

8 Easy Steps To Great Coffee Every Time


Guide To Making Every Cup a Great One

Keep this Guide handy - click here to download a PDF version. 

Luckily, making great coffee isn’t rocket science.

To extract every delicious flavour molecule out of a precious coffee bean, all you need to do is:

  • start with the right quantity of fresh, premium coffee

  • grind it to the right consistency for your coffeemaker

  • expose the grinds to the optimal temperature of water for the time recommended for your brewing equipment

& voila! All those heavenly flavour molecules dissolve right out of the bean and into your waiting cup.

So here is a guide for you to become the savvy “meh”-proof coffee brewer you were born to be, no matter whose kitchen you are in.

1. Beans

use FRESH ROASTED Sparkplug Coffee

OK, maybe you don’t have to buy Sparkplug Coffee every time. But, whatever coffee you’re buying, fresh tastes best!

Don’t buy too much coffee at a time.

You want to drink it up within  8-10 weeks of roasting, or within 2 months of receiving a Sparkplug Coffee order. We always tell you the date your order was blended and packaged so you can figure out when to reorder some more fresh coffee.

2. Grind

pick the grind that works best with your coffeemaker

Ideally, grind the coffee just before you make each cup or pot of coffee. You’re looking for a grind that is consistent - meaning the particles are all the same size - and are the correct grind for your coffeemaker. A grind that is too coarse can give you coffee that is underextracted (weak - the beans and water didn’t get enough time together). Too fine can result in coffee that is bitter.

I put together the Sparkplug Coffee grind chart so you can look up the best grind for your coffeemaker. If you don’t see your coffeemaker there, give us a shout and we’ll figure it out for you!


use the proper proportions of coffee to water

A common mistake made is not using enough coffee. For most coffeemakers, we recommend 1 Sparkplug Scoop (2 Tbsp / 30 ml) of ground coffee for 8 oz / 235 ml of water (a standard coffee cup). If you want to get very precise, weigh 12-13 grams for standard North American mug (8 oz / 235 ml) or 55-60 grams per liter / quart of water.

It is easy to underestimate the amount of coffee needed - if you’re making “one cup” of coffee, measure the mug so you know if it is one 6-ounce (about 170 ml) old school serving. Or the increasingly common 10- or 12-ounce (280 to 340 ml) servings. Once you’ve figured out the right measurements for your mug or coffeemaker, you can whip up a brew, certain that you’ve got the right mix.


use the same WATER you’d drink straight up

Most of us in Canada are fortunate to have pure, clean water on tap so you can probably ignore this one. Just be aware that water quality affects the taste of coffee. If your tap water tastes of chlorine or minerals, run it through a filter before adding it to your kettle or coffeemaker.


use HOT WATER, not quite boiling

The water temperature makes a big difference. If the water isn’t hot enough, the coffee can taste sour (ick!) and weak. If it is too hot, it can be bitter. Coffee nerds say 91-96ºC or 195-205ºF is the perfect temperature.

If you are boiling coffee for your brewer - whether for a French press, AeroPress, or pourover of any sort, wait 30-45 seconds after it comes to a full boil before adding it to your beans.


follow the TIMING recommended for your brewing equipment

Like grind size and temperature, the amount of time the water and beans are in contact has a big effect on the taste. Too much time gives you a bitter, overextracted brew. Not enough time makes your coffee weak and boring.



keep your coffee in an AIRTIGHT container in a cool, dark spot

We get asked this all the time - no, the fridge or freezer are not recommended. No. Don’t.

YES! to any airtight container.

Especially if there is a way to remove air when you close it up. The ziplock bag that your Sparkplug Coffee comes in works well: push out any air that got in then zip it back up and put it in your cupboard. A mason jar also works fine - if it is clear, make sure to put it somewhere dark and not out on the counter in the sunlight.


Drink up while it is hot and fresh

If you're not planning on drinking it all up right away, take it off the burner and keep it warm in a thermal carafe. 

That's it! 

xo from your friends at Sparkplug Coffee