Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee
A good cup of coffee in the morning can set the mood for your whole day. When it comes to brewing a superior cup at home, many find it intimidating and time-consuming opting to get their fix elsewhere. Mastering a few fundamentals can help perfect your technique so you'll be able to enjoy a delicious, satisfying cup of coffee every single time.
Use Fresh Roasted Whole Bean Coffee
Great coffee begins with great beans. The quality and flavor of your coffee are not only dependent on your brewing process but also the type of coffee you purchase. Coffee is best when used within days of being roasted, so make sure you get whole beans from quality-conscious roasters, preferably with a roasting date, (ideally within the past few days) printed on the package.
Keep Coffee Beans Fresh
Proper storage is essential, to keep your coffee fresher for longer. Coffee absorbs moisture and odors and tastes from the air around it since it is hygroscopic. A vacuum sealed container with a one-way valve or an air-tight standard mason jar will suffice for most people. Keep your beans in a dark and cool pantry. A cabinet near the oven is often too warm, and so is a spot on the kitchen counter receiving intense sunlight.
Grinding Your Beans
Grind size and consistency matters too! A grind that is too fine can result in a bitter, unpleasant brew while one that is too coarse leaves coffee weak, without distinct characteristics or flavors. Go for high-quality burr/mill grinders that crush the beans evenly, resulting in consistent grinds for a more flavorful brew. For the best results, your coffee should be ground fresh each time it is made. Also, consume your pre-ground coffee within 3 – 4 weeks for optimum flavor retention. Always make sure the grinder is clean before use.
The optimal brewing temperature for maximum flavor extraction is between 195° and 205° F. Water that is less than 195 F (91 C) will not extract properly - it mutes the flavor and dulls the coffee's aroma. If you happen to not like the flavor of your tap water, use filtered or bottled. Distilled water should also be avoided because all the mineral content that is essential to the extraction process has been removed.
Proportion of Coffee
The ratio of coffee to water is key to making a great cup of your favorite drink. Proportion is the most common mistake among most coffee-makers. Too much coffee and the result will be too strong and overpowering. Too little coffee and you'll end up with a brew that tastes weak. As a general rule of thumb, two tablespoons (10 grams) of ground coffee should go with six ounces (180 milliliters) of water. If you are really serious about good coffee, then you should consider investing in a scale that can weigh small portions of coffee accurately.
Also, never reuse your coffee grounds to make coffee. Your bean grinders and coffee maker filters should be thoroughly cleaned after each use.
All it takes to brew the perfect cup of coffee is a keen sense of concentration, a few fundamentals and a little guidance to help you perfect your technique. If you follow these easy steps, you'll make great coffee every time. Feel free to experiment with a range of roasts from different origins, and/or different preparation methods.