How To Make The Perfect Cup of Brewed Coffee
When talking about making coffee, there is not just one way to draw the best out of your scoop. You can use a drip machine, espresso machine, percolator, French press, percolator, Chemex... to name just 6 methods. But today we'll talk about brewed coffee using a drip machine.
The National Coffee Association says coffee is personal. The best way to make coffee is how you like it best. But when it comes to brewing, there are a few basics everyone agrees on.
First, your equipment should be clean. Old coffee grounds or oil will leave a bitter, rancid taste. The next "must" is to use great beans. The country and region of origin and the roast will all affect how your coffee turns out. Coffee should also be fresh-roasted and preferably whole bean so you can grind it yourself just before brewing. Buy a burr or mill grinder and use it only for coffee.
The grind will have a huge influence on the taste of your coffee. If the grind is too fine, your coffee will taste bitter. If it is too course, the coffee will taste weak or flat. Generally, brewing methods with longer contact time between the grind and the water require a courser grind. A manual drip or machine drip require a medium grind similar to kosher salt or sand.
Some auto drip machines come with a permanent gold mesh filter. Otherwise, use a paper filter to keep grounds out of your cup.
Tap water may leave a strong odor of chlorine, so use bottled or filtered water but not distilled water. If you must use tap water, let it run a few seconds before filling your pot. In general, use one to two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces (one cup) of coffee.
Ideally, your machine will heat the water to between 195 and 200 degrees. If the water is too cold, your coffee will taste flat. If it is too hot, the coffee will also lose taste. The exception is that cold brew methods do not use heat to make coffee.
In a drip system, the water is in contact with the coffee for about five minutes. If the final product is not to your liking, you may have brewed too short (under-extracted) or too long (over-extracted).
Coffee should be drunk within moments of brewing it. You can pour coffee into an insulated, warmed thermos to store coffee for up to an hour. But otherwise, it because to lose its fresh-roasted taste. Never just keep the pot on the burner. Make only what you will consume in an hour.
Cleaning Your Machine
A really clean machine is essential for a good cup of coffee. Clean out the carafe daily. At least once a month, deep clean wth machine with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar. Simply pour it in the tank and run it through a brew cycle. When it finishes, pour it back in and run it through the cycle a second time. Then scrub the carafe and tank with soap and water. Finally, run more cycle with just water to flush out any remaining vinegar taste.