It’s amazing how small changes can make substantial improvements in the taste of coffee. Here are 10 secrets to brewing a perfect cup.
1. Know your beans. You can’t make savory coffee from so-so beans. Start with specialty grade, class 1, 100% Arabica whole coffee beans that have been roasted in small batches to ensure consistent quality. The beans should be vacuum packed to protect freshness. Crimson Cup offers a wide variety of awesome-tasting, fresh roasted coffees.
2. Start fresh. After roasting, whole beans only stay fresh for about a week or two if properly stored. Buy only as much coffee as you’ll consume in that time.
3. Grind daily. Once ground, coffee will only stay fresh for about an hour or less. Buy a coffee grinder and grind your beans just before each pot. We like the Capresso Infinity burr grinder for its ease of use, consistency of grind and simple timer. Adjust the grind to your brewing method.
4. Keep it pure. Use filtered or bottled water. Pure water means you will truly taste the coffee, not the water.
5. Measure carefully. One of the most common causes of a bitter brew is not using enough coffee. Start with 2 heaping tablespoons of coffee for each 6 ounces of water and adjust to taste. For a milder cup, brew to full strength, and then dilute with hot water.
6. Start hot. For the best flavor, the preferred brewing temperature is about 195 to 205 degrees. Some inexpensive drip coffee makers only heat the water to 165 degrees, which isn’t hot enough to bring out the nuanced flavor of great coffee.
7. Hour by hour. For best results, only brew as much coffee as you’ll consume within an hour or so.
8. Stay warm. If you use a drip brewer, choose one with an insulated thermos to keep the coffee warm instead of a glass carafe and heating element. Reheating can bring out a bitter, muddy taste in coffee.
9. Keep it clean. Keep your coffee maker scrupulously clean so that residue from previous pots doesn’t build up and affect the flavor of your coffee.
10. Experiment! Try different brewing methods, such as espresso-style, chemex, pour-over, French press or a cold brewing system like the Toddy Brewer. Sample beans from different regions of the world to find a flavor you like. You might find that you prefer South American beans for their subtle flavors and natural sweetness, or more earthy African beans with chocolate and fruity undertones. Experiment with dark, medium and light roasts. You’ll never know unless you try!