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How To Brew Good Coffee

We are avid coffee drinkers!

Once we stopped buying expensive specialty coffees we realized we could actually afford to buy good coffee and taught ourselves how to brew coffee properly. Do you want a hearty mug at breakfast? A frothy afternoon cappuccino? Do you prefer milder or more robust coffee? The way you brew your coffee should be based on your needs and your unique coffee preferences. 

Nick enjoying a cup of coffee while house sitting in NC

Nick is enjoying his morning coffee :)

No matter how you like your coffee – with sugar & cream or black – check out our tips below to make good coffee.

All of your coffee brewing equipment, from bean grinders and filters to coffee makers, need to be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Rinse with clear, hot water (or wipe down thoroughly), and dry with an absorbent towel. If you’re using a single-serve coffee maker, check the manufacturer’s guide for keeping your machine in top shape.

It’s important to check that no coffee grounds have been left to collect in the filter and there is no build-up of coffee oil, which can make future cups of coffee taste bitter and rancid. By the way, homemade coffee oil has many benefits for your skin and hair.

Homemade coffee oil is good for skin and hair

A great cup of coffee starts with great beans.

The quality and flavor of your coffee is not only determined by your favorite brewing process, but also by the type of coffee you select. There can be a world of difference between roasts, so check out your local coffee selections or browse the huge online selection on websites like Coffee Bean Direct.

Some of the coffee flavor factors include:

  • What country and region is the coffee from?
  • What is the variety?
  • Is it a coffee bean blend?
  • Do you favor a dark roast coffee or a lighter blend?
  • What kind of grind do you prefer?

While there are a lot of choices, remember that there is no right or wrong — you can choose a dark, flavorful espresso roast coffee and still have it ground to be brewed in a drip system. Have fun trying and enjoying different combinations.

Freshly roasted coffee is essential to a quality cup. Buy your coffee in small amounts (ideally every two weeks or so) and store in an air-tight container like this Coffee Canister. It is able to offer sealed storage while a built in one-way valve allows trapped oxygen and carbon dioxide gas to escape – otherwise they attack and ruin your coffee’s flavor.

Coffee Gator for air tight coffee

Like most coffee aficionados, we strongly suggest that you buy whole bean coffee. Always grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible for maximum freshness. A burr or mill grinder is best because the coffee is ground to a consistent size.

Do not underestimate the importance of the size of the grind to the taste of your coffee. If your coffee tastes bitter, it may be over-extracted, or ground too fine. On the other hand, if your coffee tastes flat, it may be under-extracted, meaning your grind is too coarse.

Before using freshly ground coffee, rub some of the grounds between your fingers so that you can feel the grind consistency and become acquainted with the differences in size.

Here are 16 Useful Ways To Reuse Old Coffee Grounds.

Differently ground coffee beans

If you’re using tap water, let it run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot, and be sure to always use cold water. Avoid distilled or softened water. Good water makes good coffee, so try to use filtered water if you can.

A general guideline to Coffee-to-Water Ratio is one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. Be sure to check the ‘cup’ lines on your coffee maker to see how its actually measured. Remember that some water is lost to evaporation in certain brewing methods.

Your coffee brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal coffee extraction. Colder or hotter water will result in a loss of quality in the taste of your coffee. If you are brewing the coffee manually, let the water come to a full boil, but do not over boil. Turn off the heat source and allow the water to rest a minute before pouring it over the grounds.

The amount of time the water is in contact with your coffee grounds is another important flavor factor.

In a drip system, the contact time should be approximately 5 minutes. If you are making your coffee using a plunger pot, the contact time should be 2 – 4 minutes. Espresso has an especially brief brew time — the coffee is in contact with the water for only appr. 20 – 30 seconds. Experiment with the contact time until the taste of your finished coffee suits you perfectly.

Tips on how to brew good coffee

Once coffee has been brewed it begins to lose its optimal taste moments after brewing, so only make as much coffee as you’ll drink. Coffee should never be left on an electric burner for longer than 15 minutes, it will begin to develop a burned taste. To keep it fresh brewed coffee can be poured into a warmed, insulated thermos to be used within the next 45 minutes.

Take a moment to smell the aroma of your perfectly brewed coffee.

Take a sip and notice your coffee’s flavor. How does it compare to other coffees you had with regard to body, acidity and balance? Note how simple changes in preparation affect the coffee’s flavor. Enjoy!

Do you have any tips you would like to add to make a good cup of coffee?

Leave us a comment below.

4 Responses to How To Brew Good Coffee

  • I’m normally too impatient to brew a perfect cup of coffee. I just use the K-Cups to save time. However, brewing good coffee from scratch is probably a skill I should learn, even if I need to spend an extra five minutes to do it. It would certainly be a good way to impress visitors.

    • Hi James, a Keurig is great for a quick cup of coffee but making your own is so much more rewarding. You can try out different brewing techniques and flavors. Yes, it is also a good way to impress your guests. There is nothing better after a good meal than a freshly brewed cup of coffee or espresso. Just have fun with is. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  • I like your tip about buying coffee every two weeks so the beans are freshly roasted. I’ve never been able to figure out how to make homemade coffee taste better than the kind at the gas station. For me, it’s better to buy it at a shop where they’re experienced at making it.

    • Violette, thank you for your comment. Everyone’s taste is different, that goes for coffee as well. To me, gas station coffee is usually oily and bitter. They make huge quantities that end up getting heated for a long period of time. Try experiencing with using different quantities at home, using more coffee or making a larger batch. Also, if you add a pinch of salt to your coffee grounds you will brew a stronger tasting coffee.

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