There is nothing like that fragrance that fills the air when you make a fresh brewed pot of coffee, and there is nothing worse than that burnt oily obnoxious smell of poor quality coffee left to sit on the hot element for hours. People, please. Take the pot off the element after 15 minutes or turn the element off if you want to use the coffee for baking recipes.
So how do you make that perfect cup? For each of us, the flavor we prefer differs, some like the deep robust flavor of strong coffee, some like the gentle touch on the palate of a mild blend, and other’s like their cups filled with the intoxicating aroma and flavor of espresso.
1. You Pay for What You Get
The first step to the perfect cup is to use quality prepared fresh beans. Freshly roasted beans have a true shelf life of approximately 2 months – how long have your store bought beans been sitting, and more importantly, how long has that previously vacuum sealed bag of beans sat in your pantry. Read the expiry date on all coffee you invest in – make sure you are starting with the freshest beans. Then only grind your beans when you are ready to brew
2. Water to Coffee Ratio
The correct ratio of coffee to water is crucial – the ratios are in the tables below, but remember – 98% of coffee is water, so your water quality is critical to a great cup of coffee – filtered water has almost become a necessity.
Here are tips for coffee to water ratio for gourmet coffee, from our Coffee Preparation page:
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.
Our preferred coffee grinds to water ratio is 2 tablespoons of coffee per 3/4 cup cold, filtered water. Play around with this ratio until you find the perfect strength of coffee for your taste.
3. Grind correctly for your Brewing method
Every method for making coffee actually has its own grind. You will want a coarse grind for percolated and French Press coffees, whereas, choosing a fine grind is perfect for your drip coffee. When you are craving espresso grind the beans as fine as possible. Using an incorrect grind can ruin your batch of coffee and adjustments in the amount of water you use won’t fix the problem. Invest in a good grinder and learn to grind to your personal preference.
4. Get your water to the RIGHT temperature
The flavor of your coffee will never burst into the water unless the water is at least 195-205 degrees F, check your coffee maker to make sure the element is heating the water – if it’s not, then it’s time to invest in a new coffee maker.
5. Serve it FRESH
Just as the freshness of the bean, and the freshness of the grind, the sooner your server your brew, the better your coffee is. Hot coffee should be served within 30 minutes maximum from brewing time. Less is best – some of the top coffee shops will not leave a pot sitting for longer than 15 minutes – many have moved to the single cup method of coffee making. But, if the coffee is for the office and you need to keep it warm through the morning, then opt for a heat trapping thermos over an element – the element continues to cook the brew which causes it to burn (that’s that awful odor).
With these 5 tips there is no reason to settle for less than great tasting coffee. Take some time to browse our gourmet coffee selection here and consider ordering some fresh roasted coffee beans for your home this year!