Okay, it’s official. I’m a coffee fanatic. Ever since a doctor of mine wrote about his research into the benefits of coffee, I was sold. Oh, and one more thing — my husband makes a fabulous cup of joe! That’s what made the difference really. I just can’t stand a weak cup of coffee. It has to have some flavor, some luscious aroma, some ability to wake me up before I even take a sip. (It also has to have good quality cream. Yummy, brown sucanat is my preferred sweetener!) Okay, how to brew a good cup:
1. Good Beans
Yes, you’ve just got to have good beans. No pre-ground coffee allowed! You want fresh beans, ideally 3 or 4 days from being roasted. However, most of us normal folk will buy our beans in a bag. We’ll look for beans that have stayed away from oxygen, the enemy of all good beans. Nice beans will have a little oily shine to them, where old beans look dry and boring.
2. Clean Equipment
Be sure to use equipment that doesn’t have leftover coffee oils from the day before. These oils go rancid quickly and give an off flavor to your brew.
3. A Good Grind to Match
I recommend a burr grinder so that you can freshly grind your coffee. A medium grind is best for normal morning coffee, but be sure to buy a grinder that can make fine or course grounds, so that when you’re in the mood for a heavenly espresso at home, you’ll be set.
4. The Right Water Temperature
Heat the water to between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t boil it. Neither should you use water that’s too cool. The Physics Factbook tells us, “If the temperature of the water is too low, underextraction will occur and the coffee will be too weak. Underextraction will cause the coffee to have a sour flavor, since the acids from the beans are the first substances to dissolve. If the brew water temperature is too high then over extraction will occur and the coffee will taste bitter.” We stick a thermometer in the neck of our tea pot and watch the temperature carefully for the best flavored coffee in these parts.
5. Four Minutes to Steep
Yes, I pour my water into my French press, stir the grounds with a wooden chopstick, then cover it. I set my kitchen timer for exactly four minutes and wait for magic to happen. If I didn’t wait long enough, my coffee would taste weak. However, in our busy house, I’m more likely to forget about it altogether, resulting in a bitter cup of joe. The timer protects the perfect coffee I’ve worked so hard to achieve.
6. A French Press or Percolator
A percolator makes a great cup of coffee because it gets the temperature right and the timing issues as well. Commercial coffee pots are notorious for not getting the water to the correct temperature. An easy alternative in my house in the French press. There is no automatic timer, but I enjoy the morning routine of making coffee then sipping it as I check my email. It’s worth every bit of work (and it looks good, too)! Okay, my coffee’s going to get cold if I don’t drink it soon. I add fresh cream and sucanat to my clear, glass coffee mug and salivate as the beautiful layers of brown swirl and entice me. I stir it with a pretty, long-handled spoon. I sip… Mmmmm!