It's finally here - that post about coffee I've been promising you. If you know me in real life, you probably already know that I love coffee. I drink AT LEAST one cup a day. And by cup I mean something like sixteen ounces, depending on which travel mug I grab in the morning. Today it's a mere 8 ounces, but that's only my FIRST cup. It's delicious, too.
I am always on the hunt for a good cup of coffee, and in that hunt, I've learned a lot about how brewing coffee is a big part of what makes it taste so good. I've researched on the internet, watched a lot of Alton Brown to help me learn how to make the best cup of coffee I can at home, and thought I would share my five top tips.
Please keep in mind that when I brew at home, I use a French Press, so some of these tips are geared toward that, but are applicable to any coffee maker. I've never used a Keurig, so if you have one, please discuss in the comments - I'd love to hear your thoughts!
1. If you can, grind your coffee fresh - but make sure you grind it for the appropriate length of time. For my French Press, I go for a coarser grind, and run it through my grinder for about ten seconds. If you are making espresso or using a paper filter, you will want to have more finely round coffee. Grinding it fresh helps maintain the flavor of the beans and gives you a better cup of coffee.
2. Use the appropriate amount of ground coffee for each pot of coffee you make. Too little ground coffee results in a bitter brew, and nobody likes bitter coffee. You want to aim for about two heaping tablespoonfuls for every six ounces of water. For my small press that makes twelve ounces of coffee, I use four tablespoons. For my big press, I use six. If the coffee tastes too strongly brewed, add hot water to thin it out a bit. Also, don't reuse the grounds - discard them for each new pot of coffee.
3. Try not to let your coffee sit on a burner after it's done brewing. This changes the flavor of the already-brewed coffee, and not for the better. If you can, buy a vacuum-sealed carafe to keep your coffee hot and tasting freshly brewed every time. If not, consider brewing your coffee in smaller batches.
4. Double-check your water temperature, and use filtered water if you can. We keep a filter pitcher in our fridge and I try to use that water whenever possible, heated to between 195 and 205 degrees. You want the water to be hot enough to properly brew the coffee, but not too hot - it can make your coffee taste bitter. Too cold and you end up with weak coffee.
5. Buy fresh, or make sure that when you buy a bag of coffee that it is sealed with one of those little valves on it. This helps keep the coffee from getting stale, making your morning (or afternoon, or evening) cup taste good from the first sip to the last, and from the first brew to the bottom of the bag.
There you have it - my best five tips for brewing delicious coffee. What tips do you have to share?