You can improve your coffee by following as many of
these steps as practical. The steps are not arranged in any particular
order of importance, as they are all important. For those on a budget,
we suggest first following the "most inexpensive steps (like
1.) Water Quality - A cup of coffee contains
about 98.5% water. If you don't drink your water right
out of the tap, don't use it to make coffee with! There are many
opinions on the subject of whether filtered, reverse-osmosis (RO),
or water run through softeners is acceptable or not. Reasons given
for not using RO or distilled water is that the coffee molecules
need to "have other molecules to adhere to" (simply put).
Our opinion is that if the water tastes good and clean by itself,
it will make good coffee. So in the end, we recommend mineral, filtered,
or R-O water. We have also used softened water and noted nothing
objectionable in the cup. If you want the very best choice, use mineral water.
2.) Grind the coffee right before using it.
As you've probably read, coffee will de-gas for a period of 24 hours
or so after roasting. Immediately after grinding the beans, the
coffee will de-gas even more, giving off it's remaining protective
C02. Coffee will tend to become noticeably stale after just a few minutes
after grinding it. This is the simplest, cheapest way to improve your
coffee. If you don't own at least a blade grinder, get one, they're
3.) Use a burr grinder for grinding.
Whether you're grinding for espresso orFrench-press (press-pot), a burr grinder will make a big difference in the
taste of your coffee. The reason for this is that a burr grinder
creates a more uniform coffee particle size than a blade grinder.
A blade grinder literally smashes the coffee beans into many different
sizes of granules. The high-speed spinning blade also imparts heat
to the bean resulting in "instant staling" and a bitter
cup. Proper brewing extraction requires uniform particles, otherwise
you'll wind up with a mixture of over and under extracted coffee.
Also remember this; just because brewing methods such as press-pot
use a coarser grind, does not mean it's okay to scrimp on the quality
of the grind. Here is a link to one of our
low-cost grinders. It will not work for espresso, but will make
a big difference in your coffee's taste for other brewing methods.
For a good espresso grinder,
click here. Drip brewing is certainly the most forgiving
of all brewing methods. Because of this, a blade grinder is an acceptable
form of grinding. If "best
quality" coffee is the goal, you might want to try a French-Press,
or look into getting a home espresso machine.
4.) Buy your coffee from
The Lost Dutchman Coffee Co.Whether you buy our green
or roasted coffee, it will always be of superb quality. Guaranteed.
5.) Use the correct grind and amount for the
brewer and brewing method used. Assuming you follow step
3 (above) or equivalent, if the coffee tastes bitter and makes the
sides of your mouth curl up, the grind may be too fine or too much
coffee may have been used causing over-extraction of the coffee
due to longer contact period with the water passing through it.
If the brew tastes weak and watery, the grind may be too coarse
or not enough coffee used in the brewing process.
6.) Make sure brewing equipment is clean, Clean, CLEAN! Nothing more needs to be said here. Our Urnex
brand cleaners will help you keep your equipment clean.
7.) Use correct amount of coffee when brewing.
A general rule of thumb is to start with 2 tablespoons of
ground coffee per 6 oz cup. Adjust concentration to suit individual
tastes. Up to 3 tablespoons of grounds per 6 oz cup is not uncommon.
8. ) Use white filter papers for filter-brewers.
The use of dioxin, a carcinogen, has not been used for whitening
since the 1980s. The use of brown "unbleached" papers
tends to impart a rather cardboardy or "baggy" taste to
the coffee and may contain some undesirable chemicals of their own,
including tars. Some people like using the gold-mesh filters that
often come with drip brewers. While they won't filter out the oils
that help create an intense cup (that's a good thing), they tend
to let fine particles pass through, which ultimately may wind up
in the bottom of your cup. This is another good reason to use a
burr grinder that will grind the particles coarse enough so they
don't pass through the mesh filter.
9.) Roast your own green coffee
beans. Besides ensuring fresh coffee, home-roasting
permits the coffee-lover to roast to their personal desired roast
level. Not only that, but you can experiment with creating your
own blends, or even a "melange" (coffee beans roasted
to different levels of darkness).
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