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How To Make The Perfect Cup of Coffee

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By

Favy

on May 18, 2022

Few things can lighten up your day, like a cup of well-done coffee in the morning. The rich and savory aroma of an expertly brewed coffee beverage can feel like paradise to your taste buds. While coffee shops are one of the few places that serve tantalizing coffee, sourcing your favorite barista from coffee shops each day can be an expensive affair. With the right knowledge and tools, you too can make the perfect cup of coffee at home and save yourself the trouble of having to queue at coffee shops each morning.

When it comes to coffee preparation, it's the minor details that matter most. If you are new to coffee brewing, it may be challenging to match the flavor of a good coffee outlet at home. However, with practice and high-quality ingredients, you will be making coffee like a professional.

Below are some valuable tips to help you go from an average coffee maker to a pro brewer. The guide covers all aspects of coffee preparation, from sourcing high-quality coffee beans to roasting, grinding, and brewing techniques to deliver a café style coffee beverage at the comfort of your home.

It all begins with high-quality beans

Seasoned chefs understand that it takes good ingredients and the right tools to prepare a sumptuous meal. The same principle applies to coffee brewing. While it is possible to prepare a decent cup of coffee using coffee beans from a grocery store, knowing where to get high-quality beans is crucial if you want to bring the coffee shop experience at home. Coffee beans don't stay fresh for long and will soon lose their flavor after roasting. It is vital to source your beans from outlets that sell fresh and whole coffee beans. If you have to buy roasted beans, look for freshly roasted coffee beans, ideally those roasted within the past few days, for optimal results.

When it comes to coffee beans, the freshness of the beans and the roasting date will significantly determine the quality of your coffee beverage. Most coffee beans sold in supermarkets are already ground before hitting the shelves, making it almost impossible to get the perfect coffee cup. When buying coffee beans from supermarkets and local vendors, always look out for the roasting date on the packaging.

Storing freshly bought coffee beans

Store your freshly bought coffee beans in a closed, air-tight container. This practice helps preserve their freshness until your next coffee brewing session. Glass and ceramic containers with good quality sealing mechanisms are the most desirable for storing coffee beans. Choose a cool and dark place to store your coffee containers.

Exposing your freshly roasted coffee beans to sunlight can alter their flavor by making them sour. Refrigerating coffee beans is not recommended because it's likely to promote moisture absorption, which turns the beans soggy.

Grinding your coffee beans

Pre-ground coffee is not ideal for making fresh and flavorful coffee. Coffee beans start to lose their freshness and aroma immediately after grinding, hence the need to grind your beans just before you brew them. Besides timing, the grinding technique will also influence the outcome. A fine grind delivers small bean particles with large surface areas, thus leading to more flavorful coffee beverages. A coarse grind yields large particles, which are less flavorful than fine grinds but deliver more caffeine per cup. You should be careful not to over-grind your coffee beans. Too much grinding leads to over-extraction of flavors, which sours the coffee.

You need to invest in a high-quality coffee grinder to avoid costly grinding mistakes. When buying a coffee grinder, you can choose between a standalone grinder or a full-fledged coffee maker with a spot grinder. The grinder you select should deliver uniform coffee grounds no matter the size. Coffee makers are easy to clean and don't require extra equipment because they are equipped to handle the entire process of grinding and brewing. Plenty of coffee-making machines exist on the market, so be sure to do some background research before purchasing one.

Standalone grinders come in two major varieties, blade and burr grinders. The blade grinder crushes coffee beans using a rotating blade while the burr grinder grinds the beans between a cylindrical wheel and an abrasive flat surface. Burr grinders, though expensive, deliver better grinding consistency than traditional blade grinders. The cylindrical abrasive surfaces on the burr grinder enable it to crush coffee beans into even-sized portions resulting in a flavorful coffee beverage. 

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Use high-quality filtered water

Water is a critical ingredient in the coffee-making process. Though you may be tempted to use tap water, it is best to stay away from it and use bottled spring water instead. Tap water contains chlorine and many disinfectant compounds, which affect the coffee bean aroma. Springwater contains less dissolved minerals and is more likely to preserve the original flavor of coffee than municipal water. If you have to use tap water, consider passing it through water filters to sieve out impurities that may affect the overall flavor of your coffee brew.

Brew at the right water temperature

Water temperature significantly affects the flavor profile of your coffee beverage. The recommended water temperature for coffee brewing is 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperatures below 195 degrees lead to a less flavorful and slightly bitter coffee taste. Temperatures higher than 205 degrees will lead to over agitation of the coffee beans, which will also degrade the taste of your coffee beverage.

Measure your ingredients accurately

Another secret to making the perfect coffee cup is mixing your ingredients correctly. Resist the urge to use spoons and other eyeballing techniques unless you're a pro coffee maker with many years of experience. Consider using a gram scale to measure the precise ratio of coffee to water when brewing. Coffee brewing has very fine margins of error, meaning fewer or extra grams of coffee can widely alter the balance of flavor.

Bloom your coffee when using drip coffee makers

Many automatic drip coffee makers overlook the blooming process when brewing coffee beverages. Blooming entails pouring hot water over fresh coffee grounds to remove carbon dioxide residues from the roasting process. Blooming improves the flavor notes of your brew.

Choose a suitable brewing method

While there's no designated right way to brew coffee, the brewing method you use will determine the strength and taste of your coffee beverage. Though there are plenty of brewing methods to choose from, you can always experiment with different techniques until you settle on a method that delivers coffee just the way you want it.

Chemex, AeroPress, French press are popular coffee brewing methods. Brewing with a Chemex filter delivers a balanced brew with sweet flavor notes. The Chemex filter's design allows it to limit exposure of coffee beans to hot water, leading to an all-around less bitter coffee cup. The French press produces an oilier, full-bodied, and more flavorful cup of coffee. The lack of a paper filter allows the coffee beans to retain most of their natural oils, resulting in a bolder-tasting coffee beverage. This method delivers the most consistent coffee than other brewing methods. The AeroPress brewing method delivers a reasonably complex coffee cup with a pleasing aroma. The AeroPress brewing method is perfect for preparing a quick cup of coffee without compromising on flavor notes. It has an easy-to-use and clean mechanism. How to brew a magical cup of coffee using the French Press, Chemex, and AeroPress brewing methods

French Press method

What you need:

  • Fresh coffee beans
  • Measuring scale
  • French press
  • Water heater or kettle
Procedure

Grind your coffee beans to a fine grind if you want a sweet-tasting beverage or a coarse grind if you prefer a slightly aromatic taste. Ensure your grinder is clean before loading the coffee beans.

Measure your coffee by adopting the standard mixing ratio of two tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water. Consider using a measuring scale for more accurate proportions.

Using your kettle or heater, heat water to a temperature of 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the hot water from the filter and let it sit for about 30 seconds before adding in the coffee grounds.

When pouring in hot water, ensure you saturate the coffee grounds evenly. Steady pouring agitates the coffee grounds, thus improving flavor extraction.

Allow the grounds to soak in hot water for about 30 seconds, then stir gently. When mixing, use gentle circulating motions using your spoon for a few seconds.

Allow the mixture to settle for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds to allow the hot water to extract flavors from the coffee grounds.

Press your plunger gently to pour your freshly brewed coffee into a cup.

Chemex brewing method

What you'll need

  • Chemex
  • Fresh coffee grounds
  • Gram scale
  • Water heater
Brewing procedure

Grind your freshly roasted coffee beans to a medium-fine texture.

Position the paper filter appropriately within the brewing vessel. Moisten the paper filter with a small quantity of hot water. The paper filter helps absorb any oil residues that may arise after grinding.

Using a gram scale, measure and add 32 grams of your medium-fine coffee grounds into the filter.

Heat some filtered water to the recommended temperature of 205 degrees Fahrenheit, then pour about 70 grams of the water into the filter.

Stir the mixture of hot water and coffee grounds gently to facilitate flavor extraction.

Allow the mixture to sit for about 45 seconds, then add in an extra 500 grams of hot water and stir gently.

Let the mixture sit for another 3 minutes and 30 seconds before serving.

AeroPress Technique

What you need

  • AeroPress
  • Filtered water
  • Fresh coffee grounds
  • Water heater with timer
Procedure

Grind your coffee beans to a fine texture.

Wet the AeroPress rubber piston before inserting it into the brewing chamber.

Add about 18 grams of ground coffee beans into the filter.

Slowly pour in about 250 grams of spring or filtered water heated to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Steep the mixture for one and a half minutes to allow the hot water to soak in the coffee flavors.

Place a paper filter over the filter holder and lock it in place.

Flip the brewer over and place a cup beneath it. Apply gentle pressure on the brewing cylinder until all the coffee sips through.

Conclusion

It's improbable that you'll make a perfect cup of coffee on your first trial. Trial and error is the only way you'll get there. Do not be afraid to tweak your brewing method until you find a recipe that works for you.