Brew Time: (n.) how long coffee grounds are in contact with water.

There are so many variables in brewing coffee and it’s tough to get them all straight. Each one affects the other: if you change your grind size, your water temperature will have to change, you might have to change your brewing technique, and on it goes. One of the most important variables, and most apt to change, is brew time. This is the amount of time that the coffee grounds are extracting into the water. Brew time can range from 30 seconds (espresso) to 12 hours (cold brew), depending on your brewing method. Drip brewing takes around 5 minutes, Chemex brewing should be within a 3-4 minute range, Aeropress takes 1-2 minutes, French Press should steep for 2-4 minutes, etc., etc. And each time you brew, each coffee you try, may need an adjusted brew time. If your coffee is ground coarsely, it needs a longer brew time to fully extract. The finer coffee is, the shorter the brew time needs to be (an espresso grind is super-fine).

Ah, the beautiful, complex, interconnected world of coffee brewing variables. Our favorite rabbit hole to fall down.


  1. This is nice – but virtually useless. All is says is that I have to experiment until I am satisfied with the results. DUH!

    1. Yep, brew time is tricky! Without knowing your beans, brewing method, basically all other details, it’s hard to make a precise recommendation. If you have any specific questions on recipes, you can always shoot them to!

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