Five Steps to Better Coffee

Five Steps to Better Coffee

Does your coffee taste as good as the coffee served at your favorite coffee house? If the answer to that is no, it may be because you don’t use the same kind of quality control measures and procedures that your favorite coffee house uses. You don’t have to be a coffee pro to make outstanding coffee at home. These five steps will ensure that ever cup of coffee you pour is absolutely delicious.

Five Steps to Better Coffee

Use the Best Coffee

The coffee you pour can only be as good as the coffee beans you start with. If you’re making coffee from a can you bought at the supermarket, your quality will never be better than supermarket coffee. Here’s what you should look for when choosing a coffee.

  • – Buy from a small batch roaster. Artisan roasters roast coffee in small batches to ensure that the beans they sell are always freshly roasted. If you don’t have a local roaster, you’ll find many roasters who sell their coffee online.
  • – Only buy from roasters that tell you when the coffee was roasted. Coffee roasters who are concerned with quality will stamp the roast date on the coffee package so you know exactly how long it has been since your beans were roasted.
  • – Get to know the flavor profiles you like so you can consistently choose coffees you enjoy.
  • – If you must buy from a supermarket, choose whole bean coffees to grind at home rather than pre-ground.

 

Store Your Coffee Right

There’s a lot written about coffee storage, particularly with regard to whether to refrigerate or freeze it, but a lot of it is simply not true. The most basic rules for storing coffee are:

  • Store coffee beans, not ground coffee.
  • Keep your coffee beans in an airtight, opaque container stored in a cool location.
  • Only buy as much as you’ll use in 1-2 weeks.
  • If you do buy more, separate your beans into 1-2 week size portions, wrap each portion in an airtight bag, and freeze them. Once you open a bag, don’t refreeze it.
  • Do not store your coffee in the refrigerator.

 

Grind Just Before You Brew

Coffee beans lose flavor and go stale rapidly, and the staling process gets even faster once the coffee is ground. You’ll notice a difference in taste even after a few hours. Invest in the best coffee grinder you can afford. A burr grinder is ideal, but if all you can afford is a blade grinder, you’ll still notice an appreciable improvement in your coffee when you grind fresh. Alternatively, consider a manual grinder. For about the same cost as a blade grinder, you can have a Hario Slim Cofffee Grinder.
Use the Right Grind for Your Brewing Method
The grind you use makes a big difference in the flavor of your coffee. Essentially, when you brew coffee, you’re using hot water to extract soluble compounds from the coffee grounds. The size of the coffee particles affects both how much flavor is extracted from the grounds and, in the case of drip brewers, how quickly the water passes through the grounds — which also affects how much flavor and which flavor compounds are extracted. The right grind depends on the kind of brewer you’re using.

Medium-fine-coffee-grind-auto-drip-with-cone-2Medium-coffee-grind--for-auto-drip-with-flat-bottom-filterMedium-coarse-manual-drip2

 

Fine-(espresso)2Coarse-immersion-2

Brewer TypeGrind Size
Immersion (French press, Eva Solo)Coarse, like kosher salt
Manual Drip (Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper, Hario V60)Medium-coarse, like beach sand, but a little grittier
Auto Drip with Flat Bottom Filter (Mr. Coffee)Medium, like beach sand
Auto Drip with Cone (Zojirushi 5-cup Cone)Medium fine, like granulated sugar
EspressoFine, similar to confectioner’s sugar

Keep Your Coffee Equipment Clean
It doesn’t matter what kind of coffee maker or coffee brewer you choose, the single most important rule to follow is this one: keep your equipment clean. Coffee flavors come from coffee oils that are extracted with water. Those oils cling to everything they touch. When they become rancid — and they do very quickly — they contribute nasty flavors to the cup of coffee you’re brewing. Make it a habit to clean every part of your coffee maker that comes into contact with coffee on a regular basis. Don’t forget to wipe the underside of the shower heads that dribble water over your coffee. That surface collects a surprising amount of coffee oils, and is often missed when people clean the other parts of their brewers.

That’s it. If you follow those five steps for brewing better coffee, you’ll find yourself drinking excellent coffee every time you brew at home.