Perfect Cup of Coffee

There are many advantages to mastering the art of the perfect cup of coffee. Not only will you be able to savor the brew anytime you like, you'll also save a bundle by curbing visits to overpriced coffee shops. While learning how to make coffee isn't rocket science, there are a few tricks and tips that will perk up your taste buds.

The Ingredients

To make the perfect cup of coffee, always start with the freshest whole beans. Coffee beans that haven't been frozen or preserved are at their peak for less than two weeks after they are roasted; after this time, they begin to oxidize and lose flavor. Since it's likely that grocery store beans have spent several weeks in transit, and even more sitting in a warehouse, it's always best to buy fresh roasted beans from a reputable source.

The perfect cup of coffee is 98% water, so even if you have the freshest beans available, your coffee will be less than stellar if your water is not up to par. Always use cold, filtered water when making coffee. If you filter water through the tap, let it run for a minute or so to clear the water that's been sitting in the filter and tubing. Or, if you prefer, use bottled water.

The Grind

For the perfect cup of coffee, always grind your beans immediately before brewing, and be sure to grind only the amount you will be using (1TB per every 6 oz. of water). Match the coarseness of the grind to your coffee machine:

  • Automatic drip: medium grind

  • French Press: coarse grind

  • Percolator: coarse grind

  • Espresso Machine: fine grind

  • When grinding, uniformity is critical. If your grind isn't even, the water will seek the path of least resistance through the coarser grounds, and you won't get a concentrate of the best tasting flavors.

    The Measurements

    For best results, use 1 TB of ground coffee for every 6 oz. of water. Coffees from some regions may be too weak or too strong at this proportion, so adjust your measurements accordingly. To ensure a precise amount of 6 oz. of water, use a measuring cup rather than the measuring guidelines on the side of the pot.

    The Equipment

    Drip coffee makers are an excellent choice for everyday use. If you'll be brewing less than 4 cups at a time, make sure your coffee maker has a "half pot" setting.

    The Finishing Touches

    While true coffee connoisseurs prefer their brew black, sugar and cream are certainly acceptable additions. Some artificial sweeteners can cause a bitter aftertaste, so it's best to sweeten your cup with raw sugar if possible. Be sure to enjoy your coffee within 30 minutes after it is brewed.

    If you're new to making coffee, anticipate a slight learning curve - especially when achieving the perfect grind. Once you've mastered how to make the perfect cup, you'll enjoy both the cost savings and the taste rewards.

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