10 Timeless Tips to a Perfect Cup of Coffee
By Jon Butt
Few quests in human history have so captivated men and women from around the world than the search for the perfect cup of coffee. Yes, believe it or not, coffee connoisseurs have dedicated entire lifetimes in the pursuit of finding that one cup of the most heavenly coffee ever made. If you're like most people, however, you're just looking for an easy way to make a great-tasting cup of coffee to help get you started in the morning. The following 10 Timeless Tips to a Perfect Cup of Coffee should help you on you your mini-quest.
1. You Get What You Pay For
When it comes to coffee makers, quality counts. If you buy the cheapest coffee maker on the market, chances are you'll end up with an equally "discounted" flavor in your cup. To assure yourself of great tasting coffee day after day, check out the Bunn, Cuisinart, Mr. Coffee, Krups, and Senseo brands. Alternatively, check out a French press. For that personal cup of coffee, you can never go wrong with a French press!
2. Clean as a Whistle
You wouldn't cook your favorite entrée in a dirty pan, would you? So, why are so many people surprised by how bad their homemade coffee tastes when they use the same coffee pot every day out without ever cleaning it? Try baking soda and water for great cleanse after every pot you make.
3. It's All in the Bean
If you aren't grinding your own coffee, where have you bean? The best tasting coffees come from freshly ground, top quality beans. You can savor the flavor of gourmet barista-style coffees right in your own home by simply grinding up small batches of your own brew. To top off the perfect cup, you'll want to use Arabica beans-simply the best in the world! Store your beans and ground coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dark place at a temperature between 50º and 70º F.
4. Roasted and Toasted-Making the "Most-est" Flavor
Once you've decided upon the highest quality beans, you'll want to consider how you like your beans roasted. Roasting releases the flavor of the bean and helps determine whether your coffee is mellow, rich, or smooth. Experiment with a variety of roasts and choose which one you like best!
5. Grind It Up
Despite the fact that many store-bought coffees say "For All Coffeemakers," selecting the right grind for your coffee maker is key to crafting that perfect cup. A general guideline for grinds includes:
· Automatic drip: medium grind
· Plunger or French press: coarse grind
· Percolator: coarser grind
· Espresso maker: fine grind
6. What's in Your Water?
When it comes to coffee, fresh is the name of the game and, believe it or not, fresh water will make a world of difference in every cup. Think about it: Since your coffee is 99% water, you'll want to make sure you choose the best tasting water you can find. Bottled, distilled, or purified water seems to do the trick for H2O-conscious countless coffee connoisseurs.
7. Measure It
To assure yourself of perfection every time, you'll want to make sure you spoon out the correct amount of coffee grinds. Of course, your personal taste preference should be the ultimate judge, but a general rule of thumb is 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water.
8. Bling, Bling in Your Coffee?
While we're not talking diamonds or platinum, using gold (or stainless steel) mesh filters in your coffee maker will go a long way toward keeping your cup of coffee tasting great. Many paper filters release bleaches, chlorine, and dyes that can leave you with a bitter cup of coffee. If you must use paper, go with unbleached filters for the best results.
9. Brew It Up Right
A key to great tasting coffee every time is making sure your water is "off the boil"-a fancy term that simply means "not quite to boiling." To achieve this water temperature, bring your water to a boil and then let it cool down for few moments (195-205° F) and you'll assure yourself of a perfect cup every time.
10. Drink It Down in Style
Drink your freshly brewed, gourmet coffee in a glass or porcelain mug. Unless you like the bitter taste, avoid reheating your coffee in either the microwave or on the stove.
If you keep brewing with these ten timeless tips in mind, you're sure to find your cup runneth over with great tasting coffee every time!
Jon Butt is the host of The Coffee Guide, an innovative website dedicated to all things coffee. From beans to gourmet, espresso machines to coffee makers, espresso cups to just great tasting coffee
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