If you are like the majority of coffee drinkers, you almost certainly think you are already getting an awesome cup of coffee. However odds are you could probably still improve the quality by following these eleven steps:
Use Quality Coffee Beans
Stay out of the food markets! OK that is clearly a serious statement, but seriously usually do not buy coffees at the grocery store. No one knows when it was roasted and that is a critical, key point in coffee freshness. These beans are recognized for being stale, whether they are in the gravity bins (especially stale!) or bagged (usually stale!). No-one really knows how long the beans have been around in the bins or bags. Purchase your coffee from an area independent coffee shop or artisan coffee roaster that may verify the roasting date. Here is the only way to know you’re buying freshly roasted coffees of gourmet quality. Their reputation is at risk so they strive for the best quality coffee freshly roasted.
Store Properly Remove your beans from the original bag and devote an airtight container like Tupperware or Glad Ware. The more opaque the container, the better to keep harmful light out. Extreme light like keeping coffee in a glass jar on the sink can cause deterioration of your beans, allowing your final cup of coffee to taste flat or stale.
Usually do not store in the freezer or refrigerator. Keep them within an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place such as a cupboard or pantry. Refrigerators harbor many odors and coffee is very porous. It will become a sponge to odors be it ground or whole bean. Freezers can cause freezer burn, and the flavor oils to crack and lose flavor. These oils are where the flavor is. Storing in the freezer freezes the top condensation each time the coffee is taken out of the freezer.
Excess moisture will cause your beans to stale faster and shorten the life span of your coffee so a cool, dry and dark place it recommended for storage.
Proper Grind and Grind Just Before Using
The grind of the coffee matters. Your coffee should be ground for the sort of brewing method you are using. Coarse for French press and single serve, fine for espresso. The among matter but also for most auto-drip makers your grind should be just finer than coarse and therefore when you rub it between your fingers the grinds should feel much like typical bread crumbs. Espresso grinds should feel like somewhere within sugar and powdered sugar. Also, with a burr grinder your coffee will receive less friction than a typical blade grinder giving your grinds less chance to get scorched during grinding.
Coffee is very porous and can absorb odors and air (oxygen) extremely fast. Oxygen will make your coffee taste really bad! So, the longer your coffee is ground and not used the longer it must stale and make a bad cup.
Weigh your coffee before you grind it. To make a good, well-rounded cup of coffee you need to use approximately.75oz (22g) of coffee beans to every 8oz of cool water. It is possible to +/- to taste but this is a good starting point.
Purified Water at Precise Temperature
Fresh, clean tap water (purified is best) or quality spring water is preferred. Usually do not use mineral water, distilled water or tap water with any kind of odor. It’ll make your coffee taste bad. The water should be between 195-205 degrees when ready to brew. At this temperature, the coffee will get proper extraction to optimize the flavor oils and caramelized sugars inside the coffee bean. This is hard to accomplish with most home brewers as the heating elements are not heat adjustable nor are they reliable to heat to the proper temperature at all. Good home coffee brewers will definitely cost about $200 but are well worth it and last a lot longer. When you can, try the single cup pour over methods available or other brewing methods such as French press or siphon. The taste difference is remarkable. Google search each way for more information.
Brew SUFFICIENT to Drink
Letting your brewed coffee sit waiting is not a good idea. And much more so please do not let it sit on the hot plate! This is a good way to cook your coffee. Constant ‘keep warm’ mode like this can make it taste bitter. When you have to brew several cup and are not going to finish is right away, get an airpot of air tight hot container to help keep it in. Still drink it in a hour or so but it will buy your more time.