Brewing a refreshing cup of coffee is an art that only a few people have mastered. Anyone can brew coffee, but what matters is if you will enjoy the taste. Sadly, many people have gotten used to a routine of making a cup of coffee that’s anything but enjoyable.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can give your brew a boost and improve your morning cup with just a few easy changes. Here are ten steps to help you brew and enhance your coffee experience.
1. Choose a great coffee
If you’re like most coffee lovers, you probably have a particular coffee that you’ve consistently picked for years. If you want a better coffee experience, you must be willing to explore the vast and impressive alternatives that are now available. From the local coffee shop, the grocery store to online retailers, there are tons of remarkable coffees to choose from.
Additionally, you will do well to avoid bags of pre-ground coffee as there’s no way to tell when the coffee was roasted. The companies seldom provide that information, and the stuff you choose might have been sitting the shelf for weeks or even months. Coffee begins to lose freshness almost immediately after roasting.
A great way to find fresh coffee is to look around your area for the best roasters and then buy freshly roasted coffee in small batches from them so you can sample them. The coffee bean that’s right for you is out there; you have to find it.
2. Store beans properly
Every true coffee aficionado knows that coffee begins to lose its freshness when it is exposed to air. Much like most foods, coffee beans oxidize over time, and this contributes to flavor degradation. So now that you have your fresh beans, the next thing you want to do straight-away is store the beans properly.
The best way to store beans is in an air-tight jar that’s dark-colored to shield your beans from sunlight. If you use a clear container, it’s a good idea to place the jar in a dark, dry, and cool place. And no, keeping it in the freezer is a bad idea because it will absorb moisture, which will alter the taste. Coffee and oxygen are the two enemies of coffee.
Another tip that can aid proper storage is to only buy coffee with a “roasted on” label on the package. Most air-tight packages have around 4 percent oxygen in them, which means it’s only a matter of time before you get stale coffee. This is why the importance of fresh coffee beans cannot be overemphasized.
If you want to learn more about storing your coffee beans read our extensive article about it here.
3. Measure the beans
One of the most common mistakes most coffee lovers make is thinking that using more coffee will make the taste better. Rather than getting the desired taste, they end up getting deposits of coffee grounds in their brew. The ideal way to making a great cup of coffee is by getting the ideal amount of beans to how many cups you want to make.
While measuring spoons and eyeballing might help you get a reasonable estimate, consider investing in a digital scale to get the correct measurement. It removes all the guesswork and enables you to get it right every time. As far as ratio goes, the standard ratio of coffee to water is 1:15 and 1:18, but you can decide to go slightly higher or lower until you get your desired taste.
4. Find the best grinder
As stated earlier, grinding your beans at home is better than buying pre-ground beans. As a result, you will need the best grinder you can find that fits your preference, and that doesn’t cost much. You can either get an electric coffee grinder that finely grinds the beans or other options that require you to learn it on your own. Whichever one you choose, being able to grind your beans by yourself is a significant step towards incredible coffee.
Experts say that coffee starts to lose flavor 30 minutes after being ground due to oxidization, meaning the longer the time between grinding and brewing, the more stale the coffee will taste. It continues to lose all its subtleties till they’re all gone. So it’s best to grind only the amount of coffee beans that you need.
5. Keep the water in mind
Another critical yet mostly overlooked factor that determines how well you’d enjoy a cup of coffee is the quality of water you use. If the water you use has any odor or taste of chlorine, lime or rust, it won’t bind well with the dissolved particulates from the coffee. Low-quality water will only enhance acidic and bitter tastes.
The best water to use when brewing coffee is purified water, or as close to purified as you can get so you can get a better and cleaner tasting cup of coffee. Also, it shouldn’t be heavily distilled or filtered to avoid over-extraction. The ideal water for coffee is in the middle of the spectrum with a mineral balance of approximately 150 parts per million.
6. Explore alternate brewing techniques
If you’re unsatisfied with your current coffee experience, you might want to give another brewing method a try. The simple truth is that not all coffee brewing techniques are equal, which is why it is a great idea to explore other preparation methods.
For instance, you might want to try the pour-over method, which is one of the simplest, fastest, and cheapest ways to brew coffee. If that technique doesn’t do it for you, the French Press method might just be what you are looking for. Other options to consider are the stovetop Moka pot and AeroPress methods.
All of the methods mentioned above will create an amazing, rich, flavorful cup of coffee that will be leagues ahead of your automatic coffee pot.
7. Clean your equipment often
You might do everything outlined above and still not get the best experience if you don’t clean your equipment regularly. There will always be residue from the brewing process each time you use your coffee maker, and if you don’t clean it before you use it the next time, your coffee will likely taste like it is burnt.
If you want a great taste, make it a rule to clean your equipment after each use. For most pots, brewers, and French-presses, a simple handwash would get the job done. But if you use a drip-brew machine, you will need to put in some efforts by cleaning the inner parts using water and vinegar. Keep rinsing until the water comes out clear, and the vinegar smell is no more.
8. Avoid overheating and reheating
Most times, a cup of coffee that tastes really bad or bitter is usually the product of overheating and reheating. After making coffee, most people tend to save some up for later by leaving the pot on a warming burner. While that is not entirely wrong, the problem is that they often forget to turn off the burner on time.
One of the ways to prevent overheating is to make it a rule that you will a pot on the warming plate for not more than one hour. Alternatively, you might want o use a warm mug that can retain hotness for some time. If none of these solutions works for you, then the only option left is to brew a fresh cup of coffee whenever you need it. It might be inconvenient, but you know you won’t be drinking bitter coffee.
But if you don’t mind taking cold coffee, you can store it in the refrigerator so you can have iced coffee later.
9. Use additives like creamers and sweeteners
If you have no problem adding something to your perfectly roasted and brewed black cup of coffee, consider exploring creamers and sweeteners as additives for a truly rich, flavorful, and thick texture. Like peas and carrots, milk and coffee go perfectly, so you might as well add any type of milk to your coffee. The options you have are numerous, including cow’s milk, goat’s milk, buffalo milk, milk fat, whole milk, reduced-fat milk, and so on.
If you’re not trying to shed some pounds, you can go for any type of flavor of coffee creamers like caramel, vanilla, and French vanilla, chocolate and mocha, toffee and more, Be sure you have fun with your drink, and you will never have to endure a boring cup again.
10. Make coffee shop drinks
Last on the list but certainly not the least important tip: you can make those fancy drinks that you like in coffee shops in your kitchen. Who said you have to be stuck with plain, black, and boring coffee? If you’re willing to learn, you will realize that making coffee shop quality drinks at home is easy. You could either watch the barista at the coffee shop whip up an incredible drink or just head over to YouTube and watch some tutorial videos. Once you learn how to make a good number of popular coffee drinks, you will love to make them again and again by yourself – and also save a lot of money in the process.
You don’t have to be a professional barista to make a good cup of coffee at home. Now that you know the secrets to improve your coffee experience, you can go ahead and brew a delicious cup of coffee that will satisfy your taste buds.