There’s more to brewing a good cup of coffee than simply buying a high-end coffee maker. Equipment can only do so much; knowledge, skill, patience and precision are the other ingredients that you’ll need along with your milk and sugar. Here are just a few tips for bettering your brew.
- Keep Your Beans Out of the Fridge
Coffee beans are porous, so they’ll soak up whatever liquids and odors are nearby. Unless you have a thing for wet, mushy coffee beans that smell like pickles, this means that you should keep your supply out of the refrigerator. Put them in an airtight container like a mason jar and store them out of direct sunlight.
- Improve Your Water Quality
Coffee is 98 percent water, so if your tap is pumping out H2O filled with chemicals and impurities, these things are going into your jamocha too. You’ll need to filter your water for a fresher, cleaner taste. Some people even buy bottled water and pour it into their coffee makers!
- Mind Your Beans
You might roll your eyes at coffee snobs, but they’re right on the money when it comes to the quality of their coffee beans. The ideal cup of coffee is made with freshly-roasted, specialty-grade beans that are no more than a week old. Anything less and you’ll start to taste the difference.
- Use High-Quality Filters
“But aren’t they just paper?” Not at all! It’s a common misconception that cheap coffee filters work just as well as expensive ones; the high-end brands are bleaching, oxygenating and otherwise purifying their filters to ensure maximum freshness. If you’re serious about your java, spend what you need to spend on good coffee filters.
- Do The Math
According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), there are exact numbers involved with brewing the perfect pot of coffee. For starters, you should have a ratio of 90-120 grams of coffee for every 1.9 liters of water. You should also buy a self-regulated coffee maker that will heat its water to at least 200°F before pouring over the grounds.
- Correct Your Mistakes
Workaholics, you’re probably familiar with the realization that you forgot about your coffee and let it brew too long. Instead of dumping the entire pot, however, just add a pinch of salt. While it won’t completely fix the taste, the salt will counteract enough of the bitterness to make it drinkable while your next pot is brewing.
- Don’t Use Warming Plates
Warming plates turn coffee into sludge. If you need your java to retain heat while you’re working or otherwise away from the coffee maker, use an insulated thermos instead of a glass carafe. This will keep your coffee piping hot without sacrificing flavor or texture.
- Experiment With Ingredients
Did you know that you can replace sugar with cinnamon for the same sweet taste without all of the calories? You can also swap your milk and cream for a small dab of butter. There are many “coffee hacks” out there that will greatly improve your espressos and macchiatos; you just have to be willing to try them.
- Buy Your Own Grinder
Coffee beans start losing their freshness as soon as they’re ground, so it’s a race against the clock to brew them before they “expire.” This is usually less than an hour after they’re put into the grinder. If you really want the freshest coffee that you can get, you’ll need to buy your own grinder and crush new beans every morning.
- Clean Your Coffee Maker
If you’ve ever noticed a clumpy or filmy residue in your coffee maker, it’s probably a build-up of calcium. Not only can this affect the functionality of your machine, but it can also sour the taste of your brew. Make sure that you’re regularly rinsing out your unit to keep everything nice and fresh.
These are just a few tips for brewing a cup of coffee like a professional barista. It doesn’t matter if you’re a caffeine addict with a cupboard full of specialty blends or a newbie with your very first coffee maker; let these tips better your morning brew and improve your whole day after that first cup.