Aloha! How to make not just good coffee, but an awesome cup of coffee, is something worth knowing, and is important that you get the facts correct before you spend large amounts of cash on so called gourmet coffees. How often does it happen you go to a restaurant and have a decent meal, but the coffee is a major let down? It happens a lot right! Often the coffee is weak, bitter, acidy, tasteless or it has been sitting there, being warmed for a long time, with the result of it tasting the way old shoes smell.
Lets start with the coffee itself. Not all coffee is created equal. Arabica bean coffee is going to yield the best results, but before you run off to the grocery store it is critical to understand a bit about the coffee bean first. The bean itself, when uncovered from it's protective casing, is covered in a nice tasty oil. But this oil has an enemy, and the is good old air. Yes, the longer the bean is exposed to air the more the bean is decaying. It's kind of like paint on a car, once the paint is removed the metal starts to rust. The same affect occurs with the coffee bean and it's oil covering and air. So basically air oxidizes the bean giving way to increased amounts of acids when brewed, and that nasty bitter taste. Here's a test for you if you purchase a fresh bag of bean coffee. Open the bag, and look at the shiny oil on the beans. They even look healthy with that shiny protective coating. Then go back a couple weeks later and look at your gourmet beans again. They will likely be dried and cracked, and look like you guessed it "an old shoe".
That brings us to our next point in the process of how to make good coffee, and that is the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. Whole bean coffee, un-ground coffee, is by far more tasty that any ground coffee, we don't care what kind of vacuum sealed fancy airless bag it's packaged in. For that bean to be ground, and moved into it's packaging it has had it's protective shield smashed and now the guts have been exposed to air. Even if it is for the shortest amount of time. Whole bean, freshly ground coffee is likely going to yield a much smoother and richer taste than a ground coffee.
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What's next you ask? Well if you get the whole bean coffee, then you'll need a grinder to smash the bean into it's tiny particles to be drowned in water shortly there after. There are a lot of theories when it comes to grinders and grinding, but really the only thing that is really important to the end result is the consistency and coarseness of the grinds. We say the finer the grind the finer the wine in most cases (of course we mean coffee though). However, most other theories dictate that if you are using a cone shaped filter you want a finer grind, if you are using a basket filter you'll want a courser grind. At some point we are going to expose these grinds to water for a period of time, so the more defenseless the grinds are (finer) the more flavor they will yield.
Ok we're getting close to the finish line of how to make that awesome cup of coffee. You've now invested in some fine gourmet whole bean coffee, you've ground those bad boys up into tiny particles, and your now ready to hydrate them with hot water. Hold on, you'll want to know that not all waters are created equal. That's right. Adding water to coffee creates a chemical reaction that releases the coffees taste, flavor, boldness and caffeine. So if one of the chemicals this reaction is water then it tends to stand that the water you use might also have an affect on the end result. We strongly suggest, although we have nothing against tap water, that you consider using non-mineral rich bottled water or filtered water. If you live in an area that is known to have very hard water with large amounts of lime, minerals and of course chlorine to make it safe to drink, that's fine for drinking, but not for making the perfect cup of coffee. We are mostly OK with the minerals, but think about what adding lime and chlorine to your coffee might do to the taste. Just a thought.
So we have the gourmet whole bean coffee, we have it ground into our fine powder like specimen, and we have our filtered water ready to make good coffee. The last part is mostly easy, and that is brewing the coffee. However, you will want to keep in mind the coffee maker you are using and it's efficiency will have an impact on brewing. The longer the ground bean is exposed to water the more caffeine is extracted from bean and added to the body flavor of the coffee. Caffeine by itself is typically very bitter tasting, so it stands to reason the longer the grinds are exposed to water the higher the caffeine content, and the increased bitterness of the coffee. Here I guess it depends on what you are going for, but if you really want a good coffee, then you will want to make sure you coffee maker remains clean, the water is very hot (but not boiling), and brews the coffee at a very consistent rate.
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Walla! You have just now passed Great Coffee Making 101 on how to make an awesome cup of coffee and you are now ready for some real coffee flavor. So lets do a final review before we send you out into the field.
Steps on how to make good coffee:
1. Use good quality whole bean coffee, freshly roasted and freshly ground
2. Use fresh, clean, cold water. Filtered or bottled water works well, but avoid distilled or softened water.
3. The grind chosen must be of the correct fineness for the chosen brewing method.
4. The post must be cleaned and warm
5. Make only enough coffee for your immediate needs. The coffee will deteriorate if you keep it too long. Avoid reheating coffee, it just doesn't taste the same.
6. Avoid boiling brewed coffee - it is a sure way to spoil the coffee.
7. Use approximately 70 grams of coffee per litre of water.
8. Look around in superstores and coffee shops. Tell them your preference in flavor, and you stand a better chance of finding the right kind for you.
9. Grind the proper amount. If the brewing process is quick, the grind should be fine; if the process takes more time, the grind should be more coarse. Only grind as much coffee as you will immediately use..
10. Brew it directly after you grind it. The flavors disappear quickly after the coffee has been grounded. You should brew it as soon as you can.
11. Drink it directly after you brew it. Coffee tastes best when it is fresh. The longer it sits, the more bitter it gets. Reheating coffee is a big no-no.
12. Drink it straight. Sugar, milk or cream really ruins the flavor of the coffee. If you must have these additions in your coffee, chances are you have never experienced really good coffee!
Use whole bean coffee - don't use pre-ground coffee, ground your own for best results. Our favorite coffee right now is Hawaiian 100% Kona Coffee -- very tasty quality coffee beans. OK, now your all ready to make good coffee.
To Keep You Brewing Good Coffee Forever:
How do you clean your coffee maker? In order to be able to keep making good coffee, do this every month:
1. In case you have a built-in filter, take it out.
2. Fill your carafe with water and add two tablespoons of vinegar.
3. Pour the mixture of water and vinegar into the coffee maker and turn on the coffee maker.
4. Let it brew halfway through the brewing cycle and stop the machine for about 15 minutes. Resume the brewing process and let the brewing finish.
5. Now, rinse the carafe out and brew plain water through the system - twice. Rinse out the carafe, and you're now all done!
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Does your coffee taste bad? There are several possible reasons why the coffee doesn't taste right. Here are some possible solutions to common coffee problems.
1. Stale coffee beans or stale grounds? This is a recipe for bitter coffee. Get fresh coffee!
2. A dirty pot? An unclean coffee pot makes bitter coffee. Follow the coffee maker cleaning instructions above.
3. Poor water quality? Typical city water may lead to bitter tasting coffee. Use clean water if possible.
4. Using an incorrect ratio of coffee grounds to water? If the ratio isn't right, the coffee can turn bitter, or make the coffee taste like nothing.