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Coffee Preparation & Equipment FAQs



» What is the recipe for a great cup of coffee?

» What is the best way to store coffee? How long will it stay fresh?

» What is a FlavorLock™ bag?

» How much coffee should I order?

» What kind of grind should I use?

» What is universal grind?

» What is the Pour Over brewing method?

» Where can I find warranty information for my machine?

» Why should I decalcify/descale my espresso machine?



What is the recipe for a great cup of coffee?
The recipe for a great cup of coffee is broken into four fundamentals: Proportion, Grind, Water and Freshness. Understand and follow the guidelines for each, and you're on your way to brewing a great cup of coffee every time.

  1. Proportion
    Use the right proportion of coffee to water. This is the most important step in making great coffee. For the most flavorful cup of coffee, Starbucks recommends using two tablespoons of ground coffee (10 grams) for each six fluid ounces (180 milliliters) of water. If coffee brewed this way is too strong for your taste, you can add a little hot water to your cup of brewed coffee.
  2. Grind
    The shorter the brewing process, the finer the grind. Different brewing methods have different grind requirements, so grind your coffee for the brewing method you use. The amount of time the coffee and water spend together affects the flavor elements that end up in your cup of coffee, and the design of your coffee maker dictates how long the coffee and water sit in direct contact during the brewing process. For instance, coffee ground for an espresso machine should be very fine, in part because the brew cycle is only 19 to 22 seconds long. But for a coffee press, the coffee should be coarse ground, because the water and coffee are in direct contact for about four minutes.
  3. Water
    Use fresh, cold water heated to just off the boil. A cup of coffee is 98 percent water. Therefore, the water you use to make coffee should taste clean, fresh, and free of impurities. Water heated to just off a boil (195° to 205° F or 90° to 96° C) is perfect for extracting the coffee's full range of flavors. Any cooler and the water can't adequately do the job. Automatic coffee makers heat the water for you. Make sure the machine you use gets the water hot enough.
  4. Freshness
    Use freshly ground coffee. The enemies of coffee are oxygen, light, heat, and moisture. To keep coffee fresh, store it in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature. Storing coffee in the refrigerator or freezer for daily use can damage the coffee as warm, moist air condenses to the beans whenever the container is opened. Whole bean coffee stays fresh longer because there is less surface area exposed to oxygen. For the best results, coffee should be ground just before brewing and used or stored immediately.

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What is the best way to store coffee? How long will it stay fresh?
Once roasted, coffee begins to lose its flavor the longer it is exposed to air and moisture. We recommend buying your coffee weekly, storing it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place and grinding it just before brewing. Coffee in an unopened FlavorLock™ bag (see below) can stay fresh for several months.

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What is a FlavorLock™ bag?
Our unique FlavorLock™ technology utilizes a special one-way valve that allows the carbon dioxide that is released by freshly roasted coffee beans to escape a sealed coffee bag without allowing flavor-robbing oxygen to get in. All Starbucks® coffee sold online in half-pound and one-pound bags are sealed in their airtight FlavorLock™ bags within two hours of roasting so they stay fresh until you're ready to use them.

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How much coffee should I order?
A 1-lb bag of coffee yields approximately 64 5-oz cups* (320 oz). The chart below will assist you in estimating how long a 1-lb bag of coffee will last depending on the size of coffee maker and amount of coffee brewed per day.



    Number of pots brewed per day
Coffee Maker Carafe Size   1

2 3 4 5
4 cup*
(20 oz)

16 days 8 days 5 days 4 days 3 days
10 cup*
(50 oz)

6 days 3 days 2 days 2 days 1 day
12 cup*
(60 oz)

5 days 3 days 2 days 1 day 1 day
    Estimated days supply for a 1 lb bag of coffee

* Carafes for most major brand home coffee makers are based on a 5-oz cup size.

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What kind of grind should I use?
For the freshest tasting coffee, we continue to recommend starting with whole beans and grinding them fresh for each pot. Or, if you prefer, you can take your whole bean coffee to your local retail store and ask them for a custom grind.

Espresso machines are grind-sensitive and require a very fine grind that is best achieved with a burr grinder. Coffee presses require a coarse grind, as the coffee is in contact with water for a longer brewing time (3-4 minutes). Drip coffee makers perform best with either universal grind that is available in pre-ground coffees or with a grind specifically for a flat bottom or cone type filter. All Starbucks stores can grind coffee to this specification.

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What is universal grind?
Starbucks® coffee in grocery stores is available in whole bean or ground with a universal grind. Starbucks developed universal grind to deliver optimal flavor while maximizing convenience. It's perfect for all electric drip coffee makers and also works well in coffee presses. Universal grind is the same grind used to brew the drip coffee in our retail stores.

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What is the Pour Over brewing method?
The Pour Over method allows baristas to quickly serve a fresh cup of coffee if it's not already brewing. Preparing a cup of coffee with the Pour Over method takes about two minutes and alleviates the frustration of having to wait up to six minutes for a larger fresh batch of coffee to be brewed upon request in the afternoon. See it demonstrated and learn more about the Pour Over method from Starbucks coffee master, Colin Frolich. Watch video.

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Where can I find warranty information for my machine?
For non-Starbucks branded equipment, please contact the manufacturer directly. Here are customer support phone numbers for these manufacturers:

  • •   Baratza: 1-877-701-2021 or 1-425-641-1245
  • •   Bodum: 1-800-232-6386
  • •   Bonavita: 1-855-664-1252
  • •   Bunn: 1-800-352-2866
  • •   Cuisinart: 1-800-726-0190
  • •   DeLonghi: 1-800-322-3848
  • •   Krups: 1-800-526-5377
  • •   Nuova Simonelli: 360-366-2226
  • •   Saeco: 1-800-933-7876
  • •   Technivorm: 1-855-662-2200

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Why should I decalcify/descale my espresso machine?
Decalcifying helps to remove mineral buildup from the internal workings of your espresso machine. Mineral buildup can slow down or stop the machine from working. Decalcifying can help ensure better and more consistent espresso. Please note that certain geographies or water systems can increase calcification and may require decalcification more frequently.

To decalcify and clean your espresso machine, you should refer to the specific instructions that originally came with your machine. In general, you can use a commercial espresso machine cleaner to remove the mineral buildup from your machine, and then run 3-4 tanks of fresh water through it to rinse. Disassemble any removable parts for cleaning. Be sure to clean the showerhead screen and portafilter basket, and clear any buildup from the steamwand. Then rinse the machine again with water.

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