Brewing better coffee at home is easy, but it does take a little practice to perfect. Here are 11 tips to get you started brewing great coffee.
1) Fresh Coffee Beans
Coffee begins losing its flavor the moment it’s ground, so try to buy whole beans and grind them just before brewing.
The best way to store coffee is in an air-tight jar at room temperature. Coffee beans can be kept for about a week, but after that the flavor starts to degrade.
2) Grinding Tools
Coffee also begins losing its flavor while it’s being ground, so don’t grind your beans until just before brewing them.
If you’re buying pre-ground coffee, the best you can do is ensure that the ground coffee was recently packed and sealed, and be sure to make a fresh pot soon after opening.
3) The Ratio
As a general rule of thumb, use 2 Tbsp. of coffee per 6 fl. oz. of water in your brew. That’s about a ratio of 1:15 (the mass ratio is almost identical at 1:16 [Coffee mg/water ml]). If you prefer stronger or weaker coffee, adjust accordingly by choosing a finer or coarser grind respectively.
4) Water Temperature
You should never use water hotter than 194 F (90 C) for brewing coffee.
Boiling water makes the best “coffee” out of coffee: it extracts more of the essential oils and aromatics, but boiling also brings bitter substances to the surface.
If you’re aiming for a milder cup, don’t let your water boil; try preheating the water using an electric kettle or microwave instead.
5) Warming your Coffee Pot Before Serving
If possible, try not to serve coffee from a burner pot since the steam condenses as it passes through the lid and mixes with-and dilutes-the coffee; this is especially true if you make a large batch Instead, heat a carafe in a microwave or oven and serve from that.
6) Grind Size
A finer grind means more surface area to help extract coffee’s flavors (and essential oils and aromatics). If you prefer a milder cup, use a coarser grind; if you’d like it stronger, use a finer grind.
7) Pressing Pots vs. Drip Style Coffee Makers
You should never press your coffee with boiling water because that just extracts bitter substances.
Instead, boil the water separately first-either on the stovetop or using an electric kettle -and then pour it over your ground coffee slowly so as not to disturb the bed of grounds too much.
Then cover and let it steep for about five minutes before slowly pressing down on plunger.
8) Coffee Plunger vs. Other Brewing Methods
There’s a wide variety of devices for brewing coffee, from the simple French press to more complex vacuum pots and siphons.
All have their advantages and disadvantages, but plunger-style coffee makers are considered ideal because they extract balanced flavors from the grounds without oversteeping them in the process.
9) Reused Grounds
If you’re using a drip style brewer or a pot with a mesh filter, try not to use your same ground again unless it’s been at least 10 minutes since your last brew.
Each successive brewing extracts different compounds from your coffee beans which affect its flavor, so you’ll want to avoid torching the previous taste by reusing grounds too soon after making fresh coffee.
On the other hand, if you’re using a press pot or similar device that “presses” down on coffee grounds and filters out the liquid, feel free to reuse unbrewed grounds anywhere from one to six times before discarding them.
10) The Coffee-to-Water Ratio for Reused Grounds
For every used ground in your press pot or reusable filter, use about twice as much water as you did coffee: 2 Tbsp. of coffee per 6 fl. oz. water (or 1 tbsp/4 fl oz; 0.25 Tbsp./1 fl oz; etc).
You’ll get more caffeine by weight this way since water is lighter than air, but caffeine isn’t the only flavor compound that gets extracted from coffee during brewing.
11) Coffee Flavor vs. Caffeine Levels
Coffee beans are naturally bitter, but that bitterness is balanced by the natural sweetness of the bean itself and whatever flavors are added in later (like spices or coconut oil).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the bitterness, try adding sweetener to your cup-or find a milder coffee blend instead.
And if you want some caffeine with your morning joe, I’d suggest premixed tea over coffee energy shots any day!
Though both provide caffeine, tea also has its own flavor enhancers which make it more appetizing overall… at least to me anyway 🙂
May all of your cups be caffeinated and flavorful!Have a great week everyone – esp. those of you that are caffeine-deprived and need a little boost 😉