There’s nothing quite like cupping a hot mug in your hands and taking that first sip of delicious coffee in the morning. Or, driving for hours on the interstate, starting to feel drowsy, and seeing the green siren of the Starbucks logo beckoning you to fuel up at the next exit. Or, meeting an old friend at your favorite café to catch up over lattes. There’s just something about coffee that makes you feel warm inside and gives you a little jolt to your day. And, if you’re like me, the hunt for the best cup of joe is never complete. I love going to local coffee shops whenever I visit a new city, and I love trying out the drink variations that corporate chains come up with, like the new Latte Macchiato from Starbucks. But, good coffee doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank or waiting in long lines before work. You can experience better coffee in your own home. Whether you want some quick tips on how to enjoy the best cup of coffee, or are looking to learn some new brewing methods, here are some easy ways to get the most out of your java addiction.
Use Freshly Ground Coffee
Sure, popping in a K-cup may be easier, but taking a minute to grind your own beans makes a big difference in the freshness and overall taste of your coffee. Once coffee is ground, it starts to lose flavor, so it’s best to purchase whole beans and grind them right before you brew a pot of coffee. You can buy a portable grinder at any homeware store, or invest in a more professional grinding machine that makes it easy to specify what size grounds you want (for regular drip coffee use a medium grind setting). Or, most grocery stores have an in-house grinder you can use if you purchase whole bean coffee from them, which is still better than buying previously ground coffee. I also like to buy beans from a single source, rather than a blend, so that the brewed coffee is as robust and even as possible.
French Press coffee is perfect for when you are brewing for two or know that it is a multiple cup of coffee kind of day. And, it brews richer and fuller tasting coffee! There are many different techniques for brewing the best pot of French Press, so it’s helpful to do a little research and experiment until you find a method that works for you. For a full pot, pour 8-10 Tbsp. of coarsely ground coffee into the bottom of the French Press, then slowly pour hot (not boiling!) water evenly over the grounds until the Press is full. I use a wooden spoon to stir the grounds and break up the top crust, and then push the lid down just enough so that the water covers the filter. After three to four minutes, plunge the filter all the way down to the bottom, and then your coffee is ready to enjoy! You can also use a French Press to make cold brew coffee. Go through the same process up until plunging the filter, and instead set the French Press in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, plunge the filter and pour over ice.
Pour-Over coffee is my go-to for when I want just one, perfect cup of coffee. Again, there are several ways you can make pour-over coffee. You can invest in a larger vessel, like the Chemex, to brew multiple cups of coffee, or buy a dripper that you can place over any mug. Whatever method you go with, just make sure you pay attention to what kind of filter your device requires, as that can effect how the coffee drips through. For pour-over, place a filter over the holder, pour some water over the top to pre-wet the filter, then drain. This helps to prevent the taste of paper from coming through in your coffee and also allows the most coffee flavor to seep through the filter (you can also pre-wet the filter in a traditional coffee maker to the same effect). For one mug, scoop 3 Tbsp. of medium-finely ground coffee into the filter, then slowly start to pour just enough hot water over the filter to cover the grounds. Wait 10-20 seconds as the coffee starts to drip through, then repeat the process. Keep on stopping and starting until the mug or carafe is full of delicious coffee.
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We hope these methods help you in your quest to brew the best cup of coffee! What are your favorite ways to brew? Let us know!