Coffee. It’s the drink that wakes us up, gets us through long meetings and makes a piece of pie complete. Every great cup begins with some basic brewing techniques. So whether you like yours black, or with two creams, two sugars, these tips can help you make the best cup at home, every time.
1. Measure the right amount of water.
A “cup of coffee” is based on the Old English teacup, so most coffee makers mark each cup at 6 ounces, not the standard American 8 ounce. Keep this in mind when measuring out water to brew your coffee.
2. Buy just enough coffee for the next two weeks.
Generally speaking, coffee stays fresh for about two weeks once you’ve opened it. So it makes more sense to purchase coffee in smaller quantities or in an amount that is equivalent to how quickly it will be used in that time frame.
3. Measure the coffee grounds.
The standard ratio is 1-2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per cup of coffee. Of course, that depends on your strength preference—so you may need to adjust accordingly. A typical coffee scoop is equal to about 2 tablespoons.
4. Use the right water temperature.
Believe it or not, starting with cold water makes the best hot coffee. That’s because cold water absorbs fewer minerals when it runs through the water pipes. Plus, when you use cold water, the coffee maker can do a proper job of bringing the water up to the right temperature for brewing.
5. Use the right coffee filter.
Permanent or paper, you should purchase the best quality that works for you. Paper filters trap more sediment, which can prevent bitterness, and give you the flexibility to use any size grind. Permanent filters are typically reserved for coarser grounds. But if you like a bolder, full-bodied cup, the permanent filter might be right for you—it allows more coffee oils to pass through for that stronger flavor.
6. Upgrade from grounds to beans.
There’s a reason coffee lovers prefer beans—the fragrance, natural oils and flavors are better when you start your brewing process with a whole bean versus grounds. Try a locally roasted bean—it’s your best for the freshest and most delicious flavor. Use a coffee grinder to grind your whole beans when needed and to preferred grind size.
7. Use the right grind size.
Grind size also impacts flavor. Remember this: the longer you brew, the coarser the grind should be.
- Coarse grinds are similar in size to kosher sea salt or table salt. Use this size for cold brewing and French press.
- Medium grinds are ideal for automatic drip coffee makers. These are usually somewhere between table salt to a fine sand.
- Fine grinds look like how they sound – very, very fine (like powder). These are perfect for Espresso.
- If your flavor seems off, adjust the grind. If it’s too bitter or strong, try for more coarse grinds. Too weak? Make them finer next time.
8. Store coffee correctly.
Make sure your coffee keeps its fresh flavor by removing grounds or beans from the packaging and putting them in an airtight and opaque container kept at room temperature. Place the container in a cool, dark spot to preserve flavor. Follow these tips for more ways to keep your coffee fresh.
9. Forget the freezer.
Freezing coffee may seem like a perfect solution to preserving freshness, but the frigid temperature will actually break down the oils that give the beans aroma and flavor. Plus, coffee is porous, so it can take on the smells and tastes of whatever else it’s being stored with, like your leftover lasagna.
10. Keep the coffee maker clean.
Make it a habit to clean your coffee maker about every 30 days. Refer to the manual for information on how to clean your coffee maker. It’s easier than you think, and a little TLC helps keep your coffee maker brewing at peak performance.
From a 12-cup automatic drip to a single-serve brewer, no matter what kind of coffee maker you have at home, these tips will apply. So be sure to try these brewing best practices on your next cup and enjoy the flavorful benefits!