Making good coffee is really pretty simple. Even a beginner can make coffee that tastes good, and I’ll tell you just how to do that, on this page.
Making “great” coffee that you will savor every drop is more complicated. Here are some important tips to know if you want to enjoy your coffee even more.
(If you want to enjoy the aroma and taste of great coffee, the quickest and easiest way, you can always use a single-serve coffee maker, like one of theKeurig one-cup brewers from Green Mountain Coffee. This type of one-cup brewer is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time or energy for the grinding and brewing process itself. You can use this link to get free shipping on Keurig brewers through December 2009.
For anyone who is just starting out and is a real beginner at making coffee, this site is a great place to start.
First, buy good coffee beans
The most important step to great coffee is to first, choose good beans and keep them fresh.
Buying “good” beans means buying quality beans from a reputable supplier. Everyone’s tastes and preferences differ, so the type of beans you buy will be different than someone else. After you have been drinking coffee for a while, you will decide your own tastes and preferences. You will start noticing the difference in how the coffee tastes when beans are not roasted properly or have not been stored correctly.
Only buy beans in airtight packaging
Buy your coffee beans in an airtight bag. Period. If you want really good coffee, don’t buy beans from self-serve bins. They are not airtight and so will never be as fresh as beans in an airtight bag. You should also look for bags which have a small, one-way valve to let out expanding gases while preserving freshness.
The problem is that exposure to air makes the coffee beans lose their true flavors. So, quality coffee suppliers put the beans in bags with one-way valves. The reason for the valve is because when beans come out of the roaster they continue to let off gases. Putting freshly roasted beans into a bag and sealing it would let the gases build up in the bag and it would tear or explode. The bags with one-way valves allow the gases to escape from inside the bag, but don’t allow any air back into the bag. That way, the roaster can put beans into sealed bags as soon as possible after they have cooled down from being roasted.
Immediately place beans into an airtight container after opening them. Keep the beans away from air until just before you grind them
After you open your sealed bag of coffee beans, take a brief moment to savor the aroma. Then remember that you are letting the flavors dissipate into the air and immediately place your beans into an airtight container…quickly!
Then, only remove and grind the beans you will be using right away. Its tempting to grind enough beans to last for a few days. You might save some time but what you gain in convenience you will lose in flavor. The only way to consistently brew a great cup of coffee, is to keep the beans away from the air until you want to use them. It is tempting to grind enough coffee for a few days. But if you do, the ground coffee will lose some of its flavor.
Grind your beans for the correct coarseness based on the kind of coffee maker you are using
To properly grind your coffee beans, you should buy a coffee grinder that allows you to vary the coarseness of the coffee grinds. You will want to adjust the grind to suit the particular coffee brewer you are using.
Coarsely Ground: This coffee grind is fairly large, suitable for French Presses and percolators.
Medium Ground: An all-purpose grind, suitable for most drip type brewers.
Fine Ground: This is the grind you would want for espresso.
Use good tasting water
Good water is a must for memorable coffee taste. Coffee is 98% water, so bad water can ruin your coffee taste. Why learn how to make coffee, and then investing in good beans and a coffee maker, when you spoil the final taste with poor water?
Good quality tap work is fine. Filtering before brewing can improve some tap water. But bottled water may be necessary if you have truly terrible tasting water. If you’re not sure, try filtered or bottled water sometime to see if you can tell a difference.
Brew your coffee for the correct length of time
The best time for brewing coffee can differ. Unfortunately, you can’t always control this because drip brewers won’t let you adjust the brewing time. But if you are using a French Press, brew for somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes.
Watch the water temperature
Again, most machines set the water temperature for you, so you hope that they are right. If you use a French Press, you’ll boil the water yourself and then it cool for a minute or two. Don’t use boiling water. For the best tasting coffee, the water temperature should be just a little below boiling point.
There is plenty more to learn about making a tasty cup of coffee. But if you get these fundamentals right, you will notice the difference. Brewing a great cup of coffee means paying attention to the details, and having the right ingredients, equipment and knowledge.