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An interview with Mathias Steigerwald, the founder of König Koffein

The perfect coffee: a how-to-brew guide

Are you a coffee person?

We here at The Staycation Collection love a good cup of coffee (in fact, we’re definitely a bit addicted…), and - in our opinion - the perfect morning starts with a cup of coffee in bed as we read a book or gaze out the window. So there’s nothing worse than being on holiday and finding coffee-making equipment that you don’t normally use, meaning you make a cup of coffee that makes you screw your face up in disgust.

As it turns out, making an average coffee is easy, but making exceptional coffee is an art form - an accessible art form, but an art form nonetheless! We sat down with Mathias Steigerwald, the mind behind König Koffein, because who better to ask about making the perfect cup of coffee than the king of caffeine?!

He shared the simple steps that will allow you to brew the perfect cup of coffee, regardless of what equipment your holiday home or Ferienwohnung is equipped with.

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“I’ve been working with coffee for nearly a decade,” Mathias tells us. “The reason I love it so much, other than the fact coffee brings a lot of people joy, is that making a cup of coffee is really a science. Water quality, water temperature, coffee beans, coffee coarseness (grind size) and freshness, and method of brewing affects the taste.”

It sounds complicated, but Mathias assures us that making a good cup of coffee just requires a few simple steps. He also assures us that whatever coffee-making equipment your holiday apartment has, you’ll be able to brew something delicious."

“My favourite method to make filter coffee is pour-over (followed by the AeroPress). Most holiday homes, however, have either a french press or moka pot, in which you can still make a great coffee - though I personally would take an AeroPress with me in my luggage!”

Coffee-making basics

“1. First and foremost, freshly ground coffee is a real game-changer. Did you know that half the aroma disappears within the first 30 minutes after the coffee has been ground.

2. Good quality water is key for a good tasting coffee (coffee’s 99% water, right!). The ideal water temperature for coffee is between 88 and 92 degrees (boiling water burns the coffee and makes it taste bitter). You don’t need a thermometer, just wait for roundabout a minute after the water has boiled.

3. Get your quantities right! For every litre of water use about 60g of coffee (half a litre tends to be enough for two people).”

How-to: pour over

While talking, Mathias makes us a pour-over coffee.

“Start by pouring hot water over the filter to wash it: this gets rid of any aroma the filter might have. Then put the ground coffee in the filter, and pour over twice as much water as there is coffee and allow it to ‘bloom’ (little bubbles to appear) - this makes a difference to the taste, I promise! After the coffee’s bloomed, stir it and then constantly pour over the rest of the water and allow it to drip through, then pour yourself a cup, sit back and enjoy!”

Recommended size of ground coffee: fine 

How-to: AeroPress

“Ideally you’d use a very fine ground coffee with an AeroPress, as the water is only in contact with the ground coffee for a pretty short time and we want as much flavour as possible to be extracted. Similarly to the pour-over: wash the filter, put the ground coffee in and add a little bit of water to wet the coffee, then add the rest of the water and allow to sit for around 20-30 seconds before pressing the coffee into your cup.”

Recommended size of ground coffee: finer than with a pour-over, but not too fine!

How-to: French press

“It’s very easy to make bad coffee in a French press! This is because the coffee grounds stay in the water and the coffee gets stronger and stronger and stronger (over-extraction). I’d recommend you use coarsely ground coffee (meaning the flavour takes longer to come out), and then follow the same steps as above - add the coffee, add a little bit of water and stir, then add the rest of the water. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes before pressing, and then pour out the coffee straight away!”

Recommended size of ground coffee: pretty coarse

How-to: Moka pot

“You have to be careful with a Moka pot, as coffee can burn very easily in it. I always pre-heat the water to around 80 degrees, then assemble and put on the heat (this means the Moka pot itself doesn’t get too hot). Remove it from the heat as soon as the coffee starts coming through into the top compartment, which will happen pretty quickly if you’ve pre-heated the water.”

Recommended size of ground coffee: superfine (espresso coarseness)

Mathias’ favourite coffee

“I really enjoy Kenyan coffee as it’s got a full body and a lot of fruity notes. Ethiopian coffee is also super nice. It is less full-bodied but even a bit more complex in flavour.”

The taste test

Mathias’ coffee was delicious: well rounded, not too bitter, would 10 out of 10 recommend. Sadly we can’t take him on holiday with us, but we can follow his coffee-making method very easily!

Fun fact

At the end of our conversation, Mathias holds up his Bialetti Moka pot with a grin: “Did you know that the company’s founder, Renato Bialetti, was buried in an urn shaped like a large version of a Moka pot?” Now that’s dedication!

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your coffee wisdom, Mathias!

König Koffein are also kindly given our members a 10% discount on their limited-edition enamel mugs: more information on how to claim the discount here.

If you make a coffee using the König Koffein’s method, please send us a picture!

About König Koffein coffee catering: König Koffein is the most royal coffee catering you can get. The eye-catching wooden espresso bars can serve up high-end coffee wherever you like. They are based in Berlin, but brew coffee across Germany and - sometimes - internationally. König Koffein create a safe haven at stressful events, where you can enjoy a good cup of coffee and have a good time.

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