Are you looking for the best way to make coffee at home? If you are, be prepared to learn about how to make the perfect cup of coffee every time you brew. After all, no one wants to be jolted awake because they made their coffee too strong, or the pot ended up too bitter to drink, even after adding sugar and creamer. In this article, we will discuss the different ways to make coffee and how to get the best cup of coffee every time you brew.
1. Use Filtered Water
Many coffee gurus will tell you that great coffee starts with the bean. While having a good bean is important, we believe that good coffee starts with the right water. After all, this is what will flow over your ground coffee and comprise the majority of your drink. In fact, water makes up 98 percent of each cup of coffee. the coffee grounds you use are only responsible for 2 percent of the mixture. This means that if you use bad water, it doesn’t matter the quality of your bean. You will end up with lackluster and even bitter coffee every single time. It’s important to note that the worst water you can use for your coffee is hard water, which contains a lot of dissolved minerals, including calcium, magnesium, carbonate and even lime. In order to remove the minerals from your tap water, it’s best to filter it. You can use a filter that fits over your faucet, or you can keep a filter pitcher in your refrigerator that’s always full of fresh, clean, chemical-free water. If you’re in a pinch, you can always use bottled water, but that can get expensive.
2. Find the Best Bean
There are four types of coffee beans available on the market today. The type you choose will depend on your palate and the type of coffee brewing method you prefer.
Arabica – Best for drip coffee machines and pour-over coffee brewing methods
Arabica is the most popular type of coffee bean in the world. It makes up more than 60 percent of the world’s coffee supplies. These beans are praised for their bright body, optimal amount of acidity and multi-layered flavor and amora. However, Arabica beans are not recommended for cold brewed coffee because they lose flavor as the coffee cools. It’s also typically recommended to drink this coffee black without cream or sugar because the addition of flavorings and sugar can mute the flavor produced by the bean.
Robusta – Brewing method is up to you
Robusta offers a full flavor, and it is the second most popular coffee bean in the world. It is prized for its high caffeine content, rich deep body and lower acidity when compared to Arabica. many coffee drinkers also say that the Robusta coffee bean contains hints of chocolate. This coffee performs well when served hot or cold and with or without cream and sugar.
Liberica – Brewing method is up to you
Liberica is a rare coffee bean today. Though, that’s not due to the bean. The drop in supply and popularity was originally caused by political tensions between the US and the Philippines, where the Liberica coffee bean plant was being produced. The short version of the story is that the US stopped importing Liberica beans from the Philippines when the country declared its independence.
However, in its heyday, Liberica was one of the most popular types of coffee beans. It was even used to replace Arabica coffee in 1890 when coffee rust destroyed more than 90 percent of the Arabica plants. Coffee rust is a type of fungus that looks like rust or an orange powder. When coffee plants become infected, all the leaves fall off the plant, and the plant stops producing coffee cherries, which contain the coffee bean.
However, due to political tensions that started sometime in the 1930s or 40s, the bean virtually disappeared from US markets until 1995, and it is still difficult to find.
Coffee lovers enjoy this bean because it has a completely unique taste when compared to other types of coffee beans. It is lauded for its floral and fruity notes as well as its smoky taste, which can’t be replicated with any other bean or via any roast type. The Liberica bean can be consumed black or with cream and sugar.
Excelsa – Brewing method is up to you
Excelsa, which is a species of Liberica, makes up about 7 percent of the world’s coffee supplies. This bean is generally blended with other types of coffee beans in order to increase the flavor profile of the pre-ground coffee. When Excelsa is brewed by itself, it’s lauded for its ability to mimic both light and dark roasts and for its fruity overtones and tart taste. It can be enjoyed with or without flavorings, creamer and sugar.
3. Choose the Right Roast
When it comes to optimizing the flavor of your brewed coffee, take into consideration the types of roasts available.
The beans are roasted to a light brown color and are generally used for milder coffees. A light roast produces the highest amount of caffeine, which is great if you really want to jump-start your morning. They also taste fruitier than other types of roasts. Light roast beans may be labeled as light city, half city and cinnamon roast. They may also be used in flavored coffee blends.
Medium roasted coffee is the most popular type of coffee among drinkers. When you see a container of coffee listed as classic or original, it’s probably a medium roast. These roasts may also be labeled as breakfast roast, regular roast or American roast and are preferred due to their full-bodied flavor and rich aromas.
Medium Dark Roasts
Medium dark roasts have a fuller flavor that is less acidic than the medium roast, and this roast has less caffeine than the light and medium roasts. This is because caffeine is lost when the temperature of the bans is increased during the roasting process. Dark roasted beans tend to have a shine, and the brewed coffee can have an oil layer or a shimmer because the high temperatures used to roast the bean allow for some of the oil to escape from the bean. You may see this roast labeled as after dinner, full-city and Vienna roast.
Dark roasts taste sweeter than other types of roasts because all of the sugars within the bean have been caramelized. This coffee has the fullest flavor and most vibrant taste. It also has a low acidity and the lowest amount of caffeine. This coffee tends to be labeled as French roast, Italian roast and Spanish roast, and it is also used for espresso. This type of roast also contains the most oil due to the high roasting temperatures.
4. Consider Grinding Your Own Coffee Beans
For the freshest tasting coffee, consider grinding your own beans. Pre-ground coffee, while vacuum sealed for freshness, does not have the same aroma or flavor profile as beans that were ground minutes before brewing. In fact, nothing compares to the aroma and taste of freshly ground beans.
The problem with grinding beans at home stems from popular misconceptions. Most people think that grinding your own beans at home can take too much time and that the grinders are too expensive. The truth is that grinding your own beans for your morning pot of coffee only takes a few minutes, and if you have an electric grinder, it may only take a few seconds. Coffee grinders have also come down in price over the last decade, meaning that they are affordable for most coffee drinkers.
Not to mention, you will have complete control over the type of grind. For example, if you want to make espresso, you can choose the finest setting on your coffee grinder. If you want drip coffee, there’s a setting for drip coffee makers. All you have to remember when grinding your own coffee is that the finer you grind it, the stronger your cup of coffee.
5. Make Sure to Prepare Your Filter
If you choose a method that requires a paper filter, make sure you’ve properly prepared it by rinsing it for several seconds under a hot stream of water. Paper filters, unless organic and unbleached, can contain chemicals that will alter the taste of your coffee. For that reason, we also recommend rinsing paper filters before putting them into the brew basket.
6. Choose the Right Coffee Machine for Your Tastes
Once you’ve chosen the right water, coffee bean, roast style and either pre-ground coffee or grinding machine, it’s time to choose the best way to brew coffee for your needs. Coffee brewing methods typically include pour over, French Press, percolator, cold brew and standard drip coffee maker.
The pour over method of making coffee is one of the oldest and also the least expensive. This machine also doesn’t need an outlet. The machine consists of a carafe for holding the brewed coffee and a coffee cone that fits into and on top of the carafe. You will need paper filters for this method. To make the coffee, boil your water on the stove. Once it reaches your desired temperature, pour the hot water slowly and evenly over the coffee grounds. The water then flows through the coffee grounds into the carafe beneath. Most pour over coffee machines are designed to make a single cup of coffee. You can use coarsely ground or finely ground beans and any roast you prefer. This method typically produces a very smooth cup of coffee with a well-rounded body of flavor and aroma. The biggest benefit of this method is that it is portable and requires no electricity.
The French press is a coffee machine that involves the use of a plunger or press. This machine was first invented in 1929, and is one of the best methods for getting the full flavor profile out of the ground beans. Like the pour over method, the French press doesn’t require electricity. You’ll simply pour the coarsely ground beans into the body of the French Press and pour hot water over the coffee grounds. The grounds then soak and steep in the hot water while you depress the plunger in order to extract all the essential oils, antioxidants and caffeine from the beans. When you pour your steeped coffee, the French Press strains out the coffee grounds, so that you get a pure, clean cup of coffee. French presses can be purchased in various sizes up to eight cups, and they are portable. There is no need to purchase separate paper filters for a French Press.
Percolators can either be purchased for the stove or as an electric appliance. They work by utilizing the steam pressure of boiled water. Water is placed in the bottom of the percolator and coffee grounds are placed in a basket that sits at the top of the coffee machine. As the water heats, it travels up a tube into the basket filled with coffee grounds. Then, the brewed coffee drips back down into either the water reservoir or a separate chamber that is specifically designed to hold the brewed coffee. Peculators do well with all types of coffee bean grinds and all roasts and coffee bean types. A brewed pot of peculated coffee tends to be strong, almost like espresso.
Cold brew coffee machines are very similar to French Presses. The difference is that cold water is poured over the beans instead of hot water. For this method, you’ll place the ground coffee into the filter basket and pour cold water over the ground beans. For best results, the cold brewed coffee should be left to steep for 12 hours or overnight. This method doesn’t require any electricity, and the cold brew machine is completely portable. Coffee lovers can expect a crisp, clean, sweet tasting cup of coffee. This method is best for fine to coarsely ground coffee. When you are ready to drink it, you can add milk or creamer.
Standard Drip Coffee Maker
Standard drip coffee makers come in all shapes, sizes and styles with as many or as few features as you desire. Some standard drip coffee makers even come with additional features, like the ability to make espresso and steam milk with a steaming wand. Many drip coffee makers today are programmable, meaning you can add water and coffee grounds to the coffee maker and program it to start brewing at your desired time in the morning. This eliminates any wait for your morning cup of joe. These coffee machines can be used with any type of plain water and any type of coffee roast and any grind size.
7. Choose the Right Flavorings
Once your coffee has finished brewing, choose your favorite flavorings. Most people choose a flavor of coffee creamer, half and half or milk along with sugar, but you can also choose various coffee flavorings, like chocolate, cherry, mint, French vanilla and caramel, which can be purchased online or at your local grocery store. For example, if you want to replicate a caramel latte, you’d pour a few ounces of espresso or strongly brewed coffee into your coffee cup, add an ounce or two of caramel flavoring and steam some milk before adding it to your coffee. After a quick stir, you’ll have a cup of coffee that tastes just like you ordered it from your local coffee shop.
8. Drink Your Coffee Out of the Right Cup
Have you ever heard that different alcoholic drinks taste different, depending on the glass that is used? Coffee is the same way. In order to get that perfect cup of coffee in the morning, it’s important to choose the right coffee mug. This is because the components of the cup can affect the flavor and taste of your finished cup of coffee.
Glazed porcelain is often the best choice if you want the fullest coffee flavor. This is because porcelain is not porous and offers insulation that will keep your coffee hot or cold. It also does not leech chemicals into the coffee that can alter the taste. You can find various sizes of coffee mugs with our without lids.
It is not recommended to drink hot coffee from an insulated plastic mug. While these may be affordable, the plastic will alter the taste of the coffee, and it may even leach toxic chemicals into your cup of joe.
Metal Coffee Mugs (Usually Travel Mugs)
Metal is a popular choice for many types of travel mugs, and if you need an affordable option for your morning coffee and commute to work, it may be tempting to buy one of these mugs. The truth is that the metal can make your coffee taste metallic, and if your coffee gets cold, resulting in the need for a reheat, you can’t stick these in the microwave.
Insulated paper cups typically contain a wax coating, which prevents the coffee from leaking through the cup. Unfortunately, the hot coffee can cause the wax coating to leech into your coffee and affect the taste. You may not notice the change in taste for your first sip, but as your coffee continues to sit in the cup, you will notice that your last sip was not as good as the first.
Glass Coffee Mugs
Glass coffee mugs are almost as good as ceramic coffee mugs for taste and heat retention. When you pour your coffee into these mugs, you’ll get to enjoy looking at your coffee rich color, and you’ll get to taste all the deep flavors and nuances of your freshly brewed coffee. These mugs are typically sold without lids, so be careful not to spill it.
9. Remember to Clean and Care for Your Coffee Machine and Cups
When it comes to making consistently fantastic cups of coffee every day, don’t forget to clean your coffee machine and your coffee cups and travel mugs. Automatic drip coffee machines and percolators, can develop a film on the inside and collect limescale if you brew your coffee with hard water. To clean automatic drip machines and percolators, use 100 percent white vinegar. You can pour the vinegar into the machine and brew the vinegar just as you would your coffee. Once the vinegar has brewed through the machine, rinse it two to three times with clean water. If your machine contains a glass carafe, remember that you can’t put cold water into a hot carafe, or you will crack the glass.
For French presses and other types of non-electric machines, you can wash them out with hot water and a mild detergent. Dish soap works just fine. The only thing to remember is to let the machine cool off completely before washing it and completely rinsing out the filter baskets.
The coffee cup you use every day also needs washed daily. If you neglect to wash your coffee cup, it can develop staining and a coffee ring around the inside. While this isn’t necessarily harmful to your health, it can affect the way your coffee tastes. For this reason, you should always wash your coffee cups and travel mugs once you finish with it for the day.
By utilizing these tips and tricks on how to brew coffee, you’ll get the best flavor coffee for your palette and desires every morning. You may even make your coworkers jealous of your coffee making skills, especially if you like to show off by making the coffee in your work breakroom.