As a mom, the perfect cup of coffee is, quite simply, a hot cup of coffee that hasn’t been microwaved three times since I poured it. I know… my standards aren’t quite what they used to be.
Anyway, back to the task at hand. Based on what I’ve written so far, I think it’s fair for you can assume that the first step to the perfect cup of coffee is the right environment. Peaceful and quiet? With a couple of friends chatting? Nose buried in a book? Whatever your space of choice, that’s your first step.
© coffee image via Shutterstock
1. It’s all in the bean
Or rather, it’s all in the freshness of the bean. A fresh coffee bean will produce an entirely different flavour from an aged one. Ideally, you will have a local roaster that you can procure your beans from, but if not, don’t buy your favourite bean in bulk. It might save you a few cents but the downside will be reflected in the taste of your coffee.
Coffee beans don’t like light or oxygen. They’re kind of like vampires that way. So keep them in their vacuum sealed bags—the ideal way to purchase them—until you need them. After opening the bag, store the beans in an airtight glass container (a great use for extra mason jars!), at room temperature. Never in the fridge! Never in the freezer!
Some people swear by roasting their own beans but while that’s a nice idea, if you barely have time to DRINK your cup, it might be overkill.
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2. To grind or not to grind?
Obviously, if you’re buying the beans whole, you’re going to have to grind. Ideally, you are only grinding what you are going to use right away: they start losing their flavour right after grinding. Kind of like how a car loses value the instant you drive it off the lot. Grinding your whole week’s supply at once will leave your Monday coffee tasting wonderful and Friday’s tasting sour.
Grind to a fine size and make sure you shake the grinder a little during the process, to get an even grind on all your beans.
3. Water quality counts
Food will taste bad if you cook with cheap wine (also? The chef won’t be as happy!) and coffee will taste bad if you brew with bad water. Tap water, with chlorine, will affect the taste of your coffee. Spring water or filtered tap water are ideal.
4. Filter with care
Paper filters are the least desirable option, particularly the cheap supermarket brands. There are some upscale ones, made by coffee companies themselves, that are acceptable but ideally if you’re using a coffee machine, look to make the switch to a permanent filter. It is not only friendlier to the environment but it’s friendlier to your cup of coffee.
5. Measurements matter
For a 6 oz cup of coffee, 2 level tablespoons of coffee is ideal. For a bigger mug (8 oz), go with 2 ¾ tablespoons. You might think that will be too strong but in actual fact, skimping on the coffee will just leave you with bitter coffee and an unpleasant taste in your mouth! The full flavour of a good cup of coffee comes with a good measure.
6. Drink up!
The most impressive flavour in your cup is immediately after brewing. Re-heating or leaving it in the coffee maker, on the warming platform, will not yield the best results. Of course, like I said earlier, it’s the bane of most parents existence to have reheated coffee on a regular basis. But it can be a bitter cup to swallow, literally.
A good cup of coffee is one of those little pleasures that most of us appreciate. Do it right, and it could become the highlight of your day. Do you have any tips for the best brew?
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