Essentials for the perfect cup of coffee
Anyone can make great coffee, and you needn’t spend thousands on a state of the art machine... When it comes to creating the perfect cup, there are certain essentials you need to remember, no matter what your preferred brewing technique may be.
Fresh roasted coffee beans are essential to a superb cup of coffee. Try to purchase beans soon after they have been roasted for optimum flavour. Also purchase your coffee beans in small amounts, only as much as you can use in a given period of time. Remember that coffee is a perishable and will go stale.
Coffee is more than 98% water. There is a big difference in coffee flavour depending on the water that you use. Use only fresh cold filtered water. If you use tap water, let it run a few seconds before filling your machine. Tap water can taste sulphurous or metallic. If this is the case, use bottled (not distilled) water instead.
Clean equipment is essential and can make a substantial difference in the taste of your coffee. Make sure that everything in the system is clean, using soap and water. Coffee is oily, so the residue is sticky and will go stale like anything that’s perishable. To clean your coffee maker, run a cycle of one part vinegar and two parts water, then a couple water cycles to rinse out the vinegar. Vinegar has mild cleaning properties, and isn’t chemical.
Grinding Coffee Beans
Always grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible. Coffee deteriorates quickly after grinding and you should grind only the amount you are going to use at one time. If your coffee is too strong, try adjusting the grind of the coffee to be coarser rather than using less coffee.
There are basically two different kinds of grinders: Blade Coffee Grinders or Burr Coffee Grinders (preferred).
Blade Coffee Grinders: A generally inexpensive coffee grinder that uses a metal blade to chop up the beans. The blade cuts up the beans, and you control the fineness by how long you let the grinder run. Unfortunately, the resulting coffee grounds can be uneven in size, leading to inconsistent brew quality.
Burr Coffee Grinders: The best coffee grinders are the Burr Coffee Grinders. The Burr grinders crush the beans between a moving grinding wheel and a non-moving surface. The positioning on the burr is what regulates the ground size, which allows for a more consistent grind. This style of grinder provides a much more consistent particle size than the blade grinders that most people are familiar with. Consistent grounds yield a sweeter, more enjoyable cup of coffee.
Making the Coffee
Making the perfect espresso coffee at home takes a lot of initial experimentation as there are many variables that can affect the process including the type of coffee, the grind, and how tightly and evenly the coffee is packed into the filter.
Brewed coffee should be enjoyed immediately! Pour the fresh-brewed coffee into a warmed mug or coffee cup so that it will maintain its temperature as long as possible. It begins to lose its optimal taste moments after brewing, so only brew as much coffee as will be consumed immediately.