Coffee. Just thinking about it can make you happy. However, a bad cup of this liquid gold can make you sour. Luckily, making a great cup of coffee, one that has the perfect balance of coffee flavor without being too bitter or sour, is easy once you know the trick to it.
A basic coffee maker is all you need for that perfect cup. The key is to use fresh whole beans. Check the expiration date to make sure they are still fresh. Store them in a dark container in a cool area, but never in the refrigerator or freezer, since it can add moisture. You want them dry. Keeping them in the original coffee bag is a good idea.
The coffee brand is up to you. In general, we have yet to find good coffee that was also cheap. We like Starbucks brand. Breakfast Blend and Sumatra are our favorites. While more pricey, it is cheap compared to buying coffee at a coffee shop. Did you know that there are only two main types of coffee beans – Arabica coffee and Robusta. All the other hundreds of varieties come from how they roast them. Stay away from Robusta and stick with Arabica. Most of the super cheap brands are Robusta.
Next comes the grind. You should invest in a good burr grinder. However, an inexpensive blade grinder works for most people. We suggest using a medium grind, but on the course side to keep things from getting too bitter. Grind things finer for a stronger brew. Add your water to the coffee maker. You really should use filtered water from either a bottle or a water filtering system. Without good water you will never have good coffee. We suggest following the instructions on your coffee maker for the amount of water. They usually have lines that tell you how much to add for a given amount of cups.
After good filtered water, the next most important item is determining how much coffee to add. Most people use way too much. Even places like Starbucks make it too bitter and sour. We suggest using 1 coffee scoop per cup of water. If you don’t have a coffee scoop, you can use 2 tablespoons per cup which is the same thing. The scoops should be level, but you can make them more rounded if you want a strong brew.
Make your coffee in the coffee machine. All of them are about the same, but we like the “Mr. Coffee” brand. They are cheap and make a great cup of coffee. At this point you should also boil a lot of hot water in a tea kettle.
Get your mugs out. When the water boils, pour it in your cups. In order to have a hot cup of coffee you must warm the cups before adding coffee. When the coffee in the coffee maker is ready, you dump out the hot water. Make sure you have extra hot water for this next important step.
Here is the trick in our opinion that will make your coffee taste smoother and give you a lot more control over the flavor. Fill your warm cups with coffee, but only about half full. Try your coffee. If the strength is good for you, you can continue to fill your cup. However, if it is too strong, which is often the case, just add hot water to the cup until it tastes the way you want. If it gets too weak, add more coffee. You in a sense will be “cooking” your coffee in the mug to make it personalized to your tastes. Each time you make coffee the strength and flavor will vary based on the bean type, grind, amount of time they have been opened, water temperature, and many other factors. Adding hot water is how you can adjust for these things and make that perfect cup.
If you want a fancy drink, like a Cappuccino, you can add milk foam to your coffee. One trick to make it fast and easy is to pour milk (we like whole milk) into a cup and microwave it until the temperate is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. You need to invest in a thermometer since the foam won’t happen unless you are at this critical temperature. All that is left to do is use a small whisk to get your glorious foam. Whisk longer and faster for more foam. Pour the foam on top of your coffee. You can even make some fancy designs by using a coffee stirrer and drawing different lines in the foam. There are lots of online tutorials and videos on making coffee art.
Sit back and enjoy your delicious cup of coffee. Don’t keep leftovers too long, since your coffee will go sour after about 30-45 minutes of sitting in a coffee pot. Just make smaller amounts more often to avoid wasting coffee. This is a big advantage to making coffee at home. Most restaurants keep coffee sitting in a pot way too long, resulting in bad tasting sour coffee when they serve it.