When Billie Jean and I both worked public jobs, we often ate dinner at one of our many local restaurants. We would always order a nutritious meal and then order a dessert to split between the two of us along with two cups of “freshly brewed” coffee. Most of you will not be surprised to hear that we were rarely served a good, hot cup of coffee and never served a great cup of coffee. Even if we decided to have our dessert and coffee at one of the many gourmet coffee shops opening everywhere, we were almost always disappointed with the coffee. Why was it that our coffee at home was so much better than what we could order out?
We theorized that our coffee was better because of our water. our brand of coffee, or the type of coffee maker we used. We were partially right. These factors do make a difference. But even though we liked our coffee at home, we learned a few very simple changes that improved the taste of our coffee. So, in this post, I’m going to share with you how we brew a perfect cup of coffee in just seven simple steps.
Perfect Coffee: Step 1 – Whole Beans
You must begin with a quality coffee to brew a perfect cup of coffee. This is critical. It seems like common sense, but not all coffees are created equal. Whatever your favorite flavor, purchase it in organic, UTZ or Fairtrade whole beans. This allows you to get the healthiest and freshest coffee available. Check out our whole bean coffees here.
Perfect Coffee: Step 2 – Quality Coffee Grinder
Obviously, if you purchase whole beans, you will need to purchase a quality coffee grinder. Like coffee, not all coffee grinders are created equal. Purchase a grinder that is easy to use and easy to clean. I will be reviewing several grinders in future posts. While grinding just the amount of coffee beans you need will give you the freshest ingredients, it is just as important to use a clean grinder if you expect a perfect cup of coffee. You can check out our coffee grinders here.
Perfect Coffee: Step 3 – Store Beans at Room Temperature in Airtight Plastic or Ceramic Container
Billie Jean and I always stored our coffee in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. But it turns out that the moisture in your refrigerator or freezer can cause your coffee to go bad sooner. It is also important to store your coffee beans at room temperature in an airtight plastic or ceramic container. Apparently, air oxides coffee causing it to go bitter quickly. Do not use metal canisters because coffee can sometimes pick up the taste of the metal.
Perfect Coffee: Step 4 – Brew Coffee With a Quality Coffee Maker
So, after you have identified the coffee beans, the coffee grinder, and the storage process, how do you make the coffee? Of course you want to use a good quality coffee maker, and there are many on the market. I will be reviewing several in future posts. Whatever style coffee maker you prefer, you can make a perfect cup of coffee, but you must take the essential steps to keep it fresh. It is important that you have a coffee maker that uses a permanent filter, and it is critical that you clean the coffee maker after every use. Nothing works better for an occasional detail clean than vinegar. You can check out our coffee makers here.
Perfect Coffee: Step 4 – Use Chloride-Free and Mineral-Free Water
Water is, of course, a key ingredient of the perfect cup of coffee. Tap water is very unlikely to give you a perfect cup of coffee. I recommend bottled spring water heated to a temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Perfect Coffee: Step 5 – Use The Right Amount of Coffee
It seems like common sense that you must use just the right amount of coffee to make the perfect tasting cup of coffee. But it is always tempting to me to add a “little more” when brewing my coffee. As with almost anything, more is not always better. While too little coffee can be too weak to be satisfying, too much coffee can be so strong that you feel like doing a backflip and running around the building. It is best to follow the coffee producer’s directions on quantity.
Perfect Coffee: Step 6 – Drink Your Coffee Hot and Fresh
When Billie and I order a cup of coffee after an expensive meal, we want it to be hot and fresh. But as the Rolling Stones song goes, “You don’t always get what you want.” The perfect cup of coffee has not sat in the pot for more than twenty minutes after it was brewed. You can always tell that your waiter or waitress is not a coffee drinker when they tell you that the coffee is fresh and only brewed about an hour ago. If you are paying for your coffee, insist that it is brewed fresh in front of you.
You’ve probably heard the expression, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” Well, coffee making is no exception. The secrets to perfect coffee are organic, ethically sourced whole beans; a clean quality coffee grinder; correct storage of your coffee beans; a clean quality coffee maker; chloride-free and mineral-free water; the correct amount of coffee; coffee served hot (200 degree F) and freshly brewed.
Tell us about your experience with purchasing or brewing your own perfect cup of coffee in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.