Here are some essential tips and recommendations for brewing coffee that will insure you are producing the best possible cup of coffee, no matter which coffee brewing method you prefer.
Most important, coffee is only as good as the ingredients that you start with. Always use clean, good tasting water and fresh, high quality beans.
- It’s the water Coffee is 98% water. The quality of your water is an essential element to brew great coffee. Always start with the freshest, cleanest water possible. If your tap water has an unpleasant detectable taste or odor, this will effect the flavor and quality of your coffee brew. At higher temperatures, your taste buds are even more sensitive to the impurities of off-tasting water. If you have a problem with your tap water, try using a water filter. Many bottled waters will work fine. Distilled water, however, lacks the necessary level of dissolved mineral solids to give the water a “fresh” taste.
- Coffee freshness. Fresh coffee beans are essential to produce a great cup of coffee. Coffee is at its best 12 to 24 hours after being roasted. More stores and outlets are providing freshly roasted coffee beans today, so you may have a good source for freshly roasted beans near you. The Internet is also a great source for purchasing freshly roasted coffee beans, and there are many fine roasters to choose from. Roasters that sell online will often ship the same day the beans are roasted, which is a very convenient and affordable way to enjoy the best “just roasted” beans. Always be sure to wait until just before you are ready to brew to grind your beans. Coffee beans lose their freshness very quickly after they are ground.
- The right grind. Be sure to grind your coffee beans to the right course or fine level appropriate for the method of brew. A finer grind works best for a drip coffee method, while you will want a coarser grind for a French press. The more common, and least expensive blade grinder works fine for a finer grind, but you will want to invest in a better, and somewhat more expensive burr grinder when it is necessary to control the level grind. For example, it is almost impossible to achieve the necessary coarser grind for a French press without a burr grinder.
- Clean equipment. Make sure the equipment you use for brewing coffee is clean. Oils, mineral build up, and residue can accumulate over time and will definitely taint the flavor of the coffee you brew. Mineral deposits will also hamper the correct functioning of a coffee maker causing longer brewing times and lower water temperatures, which result in an inferior cup of coffee. Cleaning compounds and brushes designed specifically for cleaning coffee brewing equipment are available. Clean your equipment frequently to insure you are brewing the best coffee possible.
- The right ratio of coffee to water. The optimum ratio of coffee to water is 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces (3/4 cup) of water. This will produce a cup of coffee on the stronger side. For brewing coffee on the weaker side, use 1 tablespoon of ground coffee per six ounces of water.
A better approach for weaker coffee, rather than reducing the amount of ground coffee to water ratio, use the same ratio of coffee to water (2 tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water) and dilute the coffee by adding a little water to your cup after you are done brewing. Using a lighter coffee to water ratio will cause an over-extracted bitter result.