Gourmet Coffee Preparation Tips

The proper method of preparing coffee

The great German composer Beethoven was rumored to count out precisely 60 coffee beans per cup when preparing his own coffee.

The majority of coffee aficionados are not that exacting however most are very deliberate in the type of coffee they buy and how that coffee is roasted, ground and brewed.

The proper method of preparing coffee can be a matter of personal choice however all coffee preparation methods have common attributes.

Single Source Verses Blended Coffees

100% pure, single source coffees like 100% Kona or 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee may cost more but they offer gourmet coffee taste and aroma at its finest. There are numerous “blended” coffees on the market that may consist of up to a half dozen different types of “blended” coffees. Most Kona blends for instance, contain less than 10% of actual Kona coffee.

Arabica Verses Robusta Coffee

The coffee experts all agree that 100% pure Arabica coffee is the only coffee to use in any type of coffee preparation. Robusta coffees have more caffeine, more acidity and are a smaller bean in size. Most instant coffees are made with Robusta coffee beans.

Buy Only Fresh Roasted Coffee

It is highly recommended that you purchase only fresh roasted coffee. The degree of roast is a personal choice but the fresher the coffee, the more true flavor and aroma will be delivered to your cup during coffee preparation. Today, fresh roasted coffee can be bought online and is usually roasted fresh just prior to shipping.

Choose Whole Bean Coffee

If stored properly in heat sealed valve bags, whole bean coffee can last up to a year, but once opened, for the best flavor and aroma the coffee should be ground and prepared within the first few weeks.

Choose the Correct Grind

The correct grind is imperative to proper coffee preparation, depending on the coffee brewing equipment that you use. For instance, use a coarse grind for French Press coffee preparation. Use a medium grind for filter drip coffee preparation and for automatic drip coffee machines. Use fine grind for espresso coffee makers and vacuum coffee pots. Coffee enthusiasts usually reserve extra fine grind coffee for Turkish coffee preparation.

Store Coffee Wisely

Although a heat sealed vacuum bag is most recommended, once opened, both whole bean and ground coffee should be stored in an air-tight container and kept in a cool, dry place; avoid refrigerating or freezing coffee before preparation.

Consume Ground Coffee Immediately

Once coffee is ground it should be prepared and consumed immediately since ground coffee has a very short shelf life. The longer ground coffee is stored prior to preparation the less pure coffee taste or aroma will be delivered to your cup.

Use Only Fresh Cold Water

It is highly recommended that you avoid using coffee machines that have a water holding tank, where the water has been sitting for any length of time. Many commercial office type coffee machines are designed with a holding tank and the water is not only stored for extended periods of time but it is also heated and reheated. Proper coffee preparation requires only fresh cold water for best results. Never pour old or previously brewed coffee over new coffee grounds and never use coffee grounds more than once.

Use the Correct Water Temperature

The temperature of the water also affects coffee preparation and in most cases the water temperature is pre-determined by the type of coffee maker you are using. Vacuum pot makers and espresso coffee makers bring water to boiling and use steam to force water through the coffee grounds. Most automatic drip coffee makers are pre-set to just under boiling and like filter drip and French Press, the recommended water temperature for optimum extraction is somewhere between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Water with a temperature any less than this simply will not extract the coffee sufficiently from the coffee grounds.

Measure Coffee for the Best Extraction

Use too much coffee and not enough water during coffee preparation and the resulting coffee may be too strong for some. Although the brew may be thick and rich tasting in essence the coffee grounds are under-extracted resulting in a waste of good coffee grounds. Conversely, use too little coffee or too much water and the coffee becomes over extracted resulting in a bitter tasting coffee. Sometimes a little experimentation with coffee preparation is necessary to discover the correct amount of coffee needed to satisfy your taste. The amount of coffee needed may also vary depending on the grind and the type of coffee machine used. In general with filter drip and automatic drip coffee machines the recommended serving is 1 or 2 tablespoons per 6 to 8 ounce cup (does that equal out to 60 coffee beans Mr. Beethoven?)

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