The secret to a great cup of coffee
The first thing to keep in mind when making a great cup of coffee is the tool of preparation: the coffee maker. Do some research and take your personal preferences into account. There are so many — drip, percolator, French press, and espresso machines — you need to find one that is top notch. Luckily, finding a good product is not hard.
Percolators are almost obsolete. Drip coffee pots usually are of pretty good quality, and many people have their favorite brands. Espresso machines can be a bit more tricky, always do your research as the quality is different from machine to machine.
You may look at French press pots and wonder what could go wrong. Well, is it a large pot? Do you need a thermal French press, or will the decorative glass pots suffice? I once had a French press pot with a two part plastic lid that trapped water between the pieces, which then stagnated. So even French presses should be scrutinized.
Also, check out the new one serve devices out there. You know, the machines that use various “pods” of coffee. Be careful though, these are not usually favored by hardcore coffee lovers.
After finding the right coffee maker, you should now look to the most important of ingredients for a great cup of coffee, the bean. When possible, buy whole beans, preferably freshly roasted. This however, is not within the time constraints or budget of all.
If you have to buy ground coffee, buy the product in the smallest amount you can find and buy often. Coffee goes stale fast, and the difference between a good, fresh cup and a cup made from stale grounds is staggering. Buy fresh, buy small, and buy often and you can’t go wrong.
Water is where a lot of people ruin their coffee experience. Water used for coffee production should be clean and cold, and preferably filtered. Tap water has chemicals and a taste that can alter your brew. Try your best to use already filtered water, or check out some of the newer coffee makers with built in filters. Your taste buds will thank you.
You have your maker, your ground coffee, your clean water — now you have to put it all together. The amount of coffee to use is personal to each drinker. Some people like strong coffee and others not so strong. Notice I did not say weak, as no self respecting coffee lover would tolerate a weak brew.
If you have a drip pot, try a rounded tablespoon, up to two for a stronger brew, for each six ounce cup. The same can be used as a guide for French press pots. The single brew machines and espresso makers usually have guidelines to follow in brewing.
So you are now enjoying your favorite brew, and you have dialed in your favorite method of producing that brew, now what? Well, you want to keep that brew at a high quality level, that’s what.
Clean your pot regularly using soap and water. If this is not enough to remove the residue from old batches, then try baking soda or vinegar. Look to the user guide that came with your maker, especially if you use an espresso machine, as you may need to do special cleanings from time to time, such as lime removal.
Always make sure that your water filter is up to date. Most filters need to be changed once a month, but if you are a heavy user, the filter may need to be changed more frequently.
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