Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Coffee Snob Diaries: How to make a killer cup of coffee

It makes my mornings brighter.  It helps me get through a wild weekend when my brother comes to visit.  It's the only thing I can digest before 10am.  And, it's the perfect way to finish off a slice of pie.

Coffee is possibly my best friend.  I love it.  I drink it by the gallon.  I know the password to Starbucks WiFi by heart.  I even have my own personalized Starbucks gift card which I frequently reload in order to get the free syrup with purchase.
My custom Starbucks Card
Which brings me to the purpose of this post.  If you do not like coffee, you either a) are impossible to please, b) universally grumpy, or c) don't know how to make a great cup of coffee.

Have no fear!  I'm here to teach you how to make the perfect cup of drip coffee.

Here's my tips for the perfect cup of Joe:

Start with a good coffee beans.
Coffee is a very personal thing.  Some people like bold roasts.  Some like flavored.  But I found the following to be good entertaining roasts that everyone seems to like.  The bad part?  Good coffee costs good money.  It's just a fact.  You can not make cheap cup of coffee taste good.  For best results, buy these roasts in whole bean form and store in a cool, dry place (NOT your freezer/fridge). Here are a few roasts I recommend:
Grind you beans.
For the best flavor, you should grind your beans just before brewing. As beans are exposed to air, they lose flavor.  For best results, invest in a good grinder that lets you select the desired coarseness.  Cheap grinders are messy, only have one setting, and don't grind with any consistency.  I used to have a Cuisinart Supreme Grind and Automatic Burr Mill I bought at Costco for $30, but it broke last month and I replaced it with a similar something else which is not similar at all and sucks.  So I recommend just getting a good one from the start.  This one is the best:

Splurge on a good coffee maker.
Have you ever purchased an $8 Walmart iron that leaked brown water all over your clothes and then burnt the fabric?  Well, and $8 coffee maker pretty much does the same thing.  There are two coffee makers I recommend:

The Hamilton Beach Brew Station
I have this coffee maker (it's my third one).  I recommend it because it has an insulated internal carafe that keeps coffee fresh and flavor consistent up to two hours.  Remember that air is coffee's enemy, giving it that bitter taste.  With this coffeemaker, each cup tastes as good as the first.

Mr. Coffee Grind and Brew
I've heard bad things about "Grind and Brew" coffee makers.  But I bought this one for my parents two years ago and it is wonderful!  Coincidentally, it's one of the cheapest on the market, only $56 at Walmart.  The best cup of coffee means freshly ground beans.  So why not grind and brew you coffee in one step, without the mess?  I wish Hamilton Beach would come out with a grind and brew version of their coffee pot!  That would be coffee heaven!

Get a good filter.
It is very "green" to get a reusable filter.  It is also very disgusting.  I understand why people use reusable filters, but who wants to deal with coffee sludge from the metal mesh filters?  This is probably the only time you will hear me argue against "green", but it's just not worth it. Instead, I recommend the natural, unbleached paper filters.  I don't know why, but they just taste the best.

Try a French Press.
If spending $60 on a coffee maker just doesn't justify itself, consider making "cowboy coffee" with a french press.  A good french press (I have the one from Starbucks), will set you back about $15 - 20.  French pressing brings out the natural aromas and stregnth of the coffee, because it will never burn and the flavor-preserving oils are not absorbed by the filter.  It's the tastiest way to brew good coffee.  Just remember to grind your bean on a coarse setting and invest in a good press to avoid the "sludge" effect.

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1 comment:

  1. Your Friendly Neighborhood BaristaFebruary 4, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Did you happen to come into a Starbucks in Bellevue WA about a week ago? Your card looks incredibly familiar. I believe it said something like "My Winter Card"