A well-brewed cup of coffee is a beautiful thing – there is nothing that quite compares to a what some may aptly call the ‘perfect cup’.
The aroma of freshly-brewed coffee is simply hypnotic. It can conjure up the best memories, it can wake you up, or it can give you time for reflection. Most people happily get their quick fix in a coffee shop. However, it cannot be denied that a true coffee enthusiast should learn how to brew the classic coffee. This would mean learning how to select the beans and how to use the basic tools for brewing a classic cup of coffee.
One of the reliable options is the auto drip coffee maker. This is readily available in homes and offices almost anywhere. However, we should not forget that there are other methods to brew coffee like a plunger pot or the French press. Whatever method is used, there are fundamental things that must be remembered in brewing coffee. After mastering such basic steps, you can explore the different roasts and different brewing methods. In brewing a classic cup of coffee, these are the tips to remember:
1. The Beans
There are different types of coffee beans and you should try to buy the best type of coffee bean for your budget. Packaged coffees that clearly state the country or region of origin can provide a wonderful coffee experience.
The safest choice to select is 100% pure Arabica beans, as Robusta beans are noted to have undesirable flavour by most coffee enthusiasts. It is preferable to buy whole beans rather than pre-ground and these are readily found in stores and supermarkets. The flavours of the coffee beans will best be retained if you grind them just before you brew them. It is also very important to buy freshly roasted coffee right before you grind it. Always grind your coffee as close as possible to the brewing time, as freshness is king. Do not refrigerate the coffee beans, as roasted beans readily absorb moisture and odours in the refrigerator, and never freeze them..
Experts strongly recommend that you should buy a five- to seven-day supply of fresh beans at a time and keep at room temperature, as coffee is best consumed within two weeks from the date it was roasted.
2. The Machine
The flavour of the coffee is in the oils found in the beans. It can be lost if it is ground and stored for a long time. Thus, buying a coffee grinder should be a strong consideration.
Proven and highly recommended by the experts in the industry is the conical burr grinder. This can easily transition its grind from a fine to coarse grind based on the personal preference of the owner. A coarser ground will taste blander than a fine ground, which may eventually become bitter – experiment with the grind to your taste. The grinder and the coffee maker should be cleaned after every use to ensure that they continue producing great coffee. Leftover grounds can develop a build-up that can make the next coffee taste rancid. Coffee filters should also be of a good standard. Oxygen-bleached paper filters are reputed to deliver the maximum flavour of the coffee.
3. The Water
Use bad water and you will get bad coffee; good water makes good coffee. The quality of the water is therefore an important consideration.
The water should be purified, but not distilled, as the minerals in the water will complement the flavour of the coffee. The water temperature is also a consideration and it is common practice in the industry to brew the coffee at 200 °F (93.33°C). Water that is too hot will negatively affect the quality of the coffee. It is best to not over-boil the water and to settle with water that has just come to a full boil.
So, allow the water to reach its boiling point, but do not over boil. Turn off the heat source and allow the water to rest a minute before pouring it over the grounds.
The amount of time that the coffee grounds are in contact with the water will affect its flavour. This is called the contact time. For the auto drip coffee maker, the usual duration is 5 minutes. Over-extraction (brewing time is too long) and under-extraction (brewing time is too short) will affect the taste of your coffee immensely. Again, this contact time can be experimented with.
Here then are the simple steps in the making of your perfect cup of coffee:
Fill the coffee pot with water, heating it up to just boiling.
Mix a tablespoon of freshly ground coffee to about 100 - 150 ml of water. The amount of coffee can obviously be adjusted to your preference.
Add water and coffee to the machine.
Remove from heat.
Freshly-brewed coffee begins to lose its optimal taste moments after brewing, so only make as much coffee as you’ll drink.
Enjoy the coffee like a good coffee lover would – savour the aroma and take in the flavour in each sip!
Our guest blogger, Lindy Schwartz, (www.Amazingmachines.info) lives in Scotland, near Glasgow, where she works as a tour guide around the local attractions. She says that generally, she is (as many others) addicted to coffee. She has spent a lot of time tasting many different beans and blends. A local company near her (www.newbeans.co.uk) provides "mix your own beans" where she has managed to find many great coffees.