Brew the Perfect Cup
Here are some tips for preparing tasty coffee every time.
1) Start with good water – It sounds like a no-brainer, but if you have strong tastes or smells in your water, it will definitely affect the flavor and aroma of your coffee.
2) Grind your coffee immediately before brewing. If you’re still drinking coffee from a can, you’re completely missing the subtle overtones & rich fragrance of fresh ground coffee. Ground coffee is only fresh for several days.
Buy your coffee roasted fresh from a coffee shop & grind as needed. How you grind (fine or coarse) will depend on the infusion method that you use (see step 4.) Generally, a French Press will require a coarser grind, a typical filter coffee brewer will need to be of a finer grind. (Espresso requires a very fine grind.)
3) Get the coffee/water ratio right – The “optimum” coffee ratio used by the pros is 8.25 grams (.55 tablespoons) of coffee to 150 milliliter (about 2/3 cup) of water. So if you want a couple of steamy mugs full of coffee, use 600 ml (2 1/2 cups) of water, and 34 grams (2 1/4 tablespoons.) You may adjust to your taste preference trying a little more or less each time.
4) Pick your infusion method – Coffee is water soluble and is best prepared between 195 & 205 degrees Fahrenheit. There are many great ways to prepare coffee & new methods are still being developed.
For home use, the French Press, ” pour-over,” or a high quality brewer can work fine. Many of the low end brewers however will run too “hot” or “cold,” and are often optimized for a full pot vs the small batch you need in the morning.
The French Press is fairly reliable to produce a consistently delicious cup. There are many “pour over” methods available such as Chemex etc that use a filter and you “wet” the coffee, wait a minute or so, and then slowly infuse.
For all methods, everything should be well cleaned. Coffee oils tend to linger and can overpower the nuances of the aromatic oils and crisp fruitiness of good coffee. Note that if your home brewer has a low temperature, you won’t get the desired result as the coffee will not infuse properly. You can test the water temperature using a kitchen thermometer to see how yours does.
5) Brew & Enjoy – You’re ready with good water, fresh coffee, and a way to infuse it. Follow the instructions for each method & enjoy!
6) Keeping coffee fresh after it’s brewed – A carafe is a good way to store coffee after it is brewed. It won’t be as good as fresh brew, but it can be tasty for a few hours. The cleanliness of the carafe will influence aroma & taste. Keep it clean with a bottle brush & some mild detergent. Stale coffee oils are dangerous to good taste!
©2014 Ben Gangloff
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