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Blog | Guides & Tips

Guide To Brewing The Perfect Cup of Coffee

No one can deny that your first coffee in the morning is like liquid gold sent from heaven. It’s the best part of waking up, you look forward to it, and it gives you the ultimate kick-start to the day to get you going.

Some of us crave that wonderful coffee feeling in the morning, maybe from our favorite coffee shop, or at home wrapping our fingers around that warm mug in the morning.

For anyone who loves coffee, that first cup in the morning is so necessary, and sometimes it is the only thing that wills us to get out of bed. 

However, not any coffee will do. Oh, no, it has to be perfect. The perfect coffee has many elements to it, so today we will talk you through exactly what you need to brew the best cup of coffee you could ever dream of.

You don’t need to be a barista to do it. You can do it yourself.

Expresso machine

Finding The Right Roast

Finding The Right Roast

Your first step to making the world’s yummiest coffee has to be getting the right roast.

There are so many you can have, but everyone has different tastes, and different types of roasts are better suited to different people.

That being said, a fresh roast will always produce a quality coffee, but there is no rule that says when a roasted coffee is best. You should, however, be searching for the right roast for your taste and the age of the roast.

If you go to an expert retailer, you should be asking them questions about the roast.

You will want to consume the beans within around five or so days of the day they were roasted to get the best results. But, then you can also brew it within a month after roasting and it’ll be okay. However, between day 5-10 after roast is the best window for flavor.

Flavors are key here too, flavor depends on the bean, and how they deal with time and react to water. There will always be a question, even for the most skilled barista in this regard.

But, if your concern is the freshness of the bean then you should pay attention to the pour. If you do not get a head from your beans, then you may have waited a bit too long and your coffee won’t be at its highest quality.

Getting The Right Water Quality And Temperature

Getting The Right Water Quality And Temperature

Water quality and how hot the water is also matters. Ever taken a sip of a homemade coffee , and it tastes like someone poured soap into your drink, perhaps you need to look at your water.

Note: Hard water and limescale can make delicious coffee taste like soap.

How your coffee tastes will be influenced by how much you agitate your beans, or at least the amount of water that agitates the beans.

Water temperature is also significant, in spite of what some people may think, coffee should not be at boiling temperatures, that is for tea. Coffee should actually be poured at a temperature of around 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

At this temperature the coffee will be more extracted from the bean, and you will get a better flavor, however, if you went the other way for a lower temperature, say 185 degrees Fahrenheit, you’d get a bitter taste and less nascent flavor.

The right temperature will extract the right amount of coffee, which is known as hydrolysis, which shakes loose compounds inside the coffee beans.

As we said earlier as well, good quality water matters as well, the more minerals in your water the more this will influence your coffee. If your tap water is high in minerals, consider getting a water filter to help you out, or a decent filtration system.

Also, never reboil water, and wait a good 30 seconds after boiling to pour your water over your coffee.

Buy Fresh Beans

Buy Fresh Beans

As we said earlier, good, fresh beans are absolutely vital to getting a good cup of coffee.

There is no question at all when we discuss how coffee is at its best when you use it within a few days of it being roasted. However, you can technically roast coffee beans yourself. It is the absolute surest way that you can get  the freshest beans possible.

While it is convenient it is best to be wary of buying coffee in bulk from supermarkets, sure it’s usually cheap and easy to get your hands on, but it’s not that great.

Why? Well, it is susceptible to oxygen and bright lights, and these two things combined make for a great way to ruin the flavor of your coffee beans, especially roasted beans.

So, unless your supermarket is super serious about selling the best fresh coffee beans, then the storage tubes the coffee is stored in will get coated with the coffees oils, which can easily turn rancid.

What if you still want to buy supermarket coffee? Well, if that is your only real option, the best thing you can do is look for sturdy and vacuum-sealed bags.

A coffee bean that is packaged by a quality roaster will be sold this way, it is much better for the beans and retains the flavor.

If you are not sure which brands are best for this, look online. A good bean should be stored the right way. Don’t believe us? Try tinned beans vs vacuum-sealed beans, and you tell us which tastes better.

Keep Coffee Beans Fresh

Keep Coffee Beans Fresh

Buying the beans is half the battle, but once you have bought them, they can still go bad too fast if you do not store them the right way.

Once you have taken your beans of choice home and opened them to sample your first cup (yum!) you need to store your beans correctly. This means storing them in an airtight container.

For this we always recommend choosing something like a glass canning jar, or maybe a ceramic storage crock with a seal that is a rubber gasket.

You should also always avoid refrigerating your beans, you see, your beans are porous, and they can easily take up any moisture or food odors. Do you want your beans smelling and tasting like the contents of your fridge?

We didn’t think so.

Coffee experts (yes, that’s a real thing), will always advise you not to freeze coffee either, while you might think it’s a good idea because you can get a longer life out of it, right? Right?

Wrong! Especially with dark roasts. Freezing is reserved for some foods, but not all things freeze well. Freezing something like coffee beans can sap the flavor out of it like crazy, and you’ll be left with less of a coffee bean and more just… bean.

Ideally to get the proper storage of coffee right you want to buy a supply worth 5-7 days per time and keep it at room temperature in an airtight container.

Grind Your Own

Grind Your Own

Now, it is important to remember that not every grind is the same either, there is not one grind for everyone when you want to make a killer cup of coffee.

Really, what makes a ‘great grind’ is 100% a factor of your own taste preferences. Saying that, however, you do need a good grinder, and a decent one.

There are 2 main things you need to think about when you are going to start grinding your own coffee; firstly, do you want to have a sweet cup or a caffeinated cup?

And also, do you want a fine grind, which will give you small particles and a large surface area, to extract more coffee notes, or would you like a coarse grind, which gives you a punch worthy of The Rock himself?

When you use an old roast, you probably want to stick to a fine grind, this will guarantee as much flavor as you possibly can get. However, if you want to mix your grinds, don’t, this will simply ruin everything.

This is why it is so important that you clean your grinder after every time that you have used it. If you have old grounds in your grinder, and you make a cup, it’s going to taste… wrong.

Also, note that every grinder will be different, a setting on one grinder won’t necessarily be the same on another, but that’s something you need to figure out yourself, with your grinder.

Avoid Cheap Filters

Avoid Cheap Filters

It can be so tempting to go with the cheapest options, however cheap options are not always the best bet. If you are using coffee filters to make your coffee, don’t go for the cheapest thing, even if it is tempting.

Bargain-priced coffee filters will give you a low quality coffee, the experts tested it.

You should seek out an oxygen-bleached, or a dioxin-free paper filter. Or you might even want to invest in gold-plated paper as these are usually long-lived. These will give you outstanding flavor.

Gold-plated filters are made to give you maximum flavor, although it doesn’t always work out well for fine grinds as it can let some of the sediment through if your coffee is ground too finely.

It is better to buy something more expensive that will last a while than to spend a lot of money on one-use cheap options anyway. However, in this case it also saves you in flavor as well.

So, for good tasting coffee and value for money, buy gold-plated paper filters, you won’t regret it.

Don’t Skimp On The Coffee

Don't Skimp On The Coffee

When you are making a cup of coffee, you might be tempted to put in less than you might need because you don’t want to use too much.

However, skimping on coffee can lead to weak tasting coffee that tastes like coffee flavored water, and isn’t very nice or very revitalizing either.

For a good cup of coffee you want around 2 even tablespoons per 6 oz cup. If you have an 8 oz cup, you want around 2 ¾ tablespoons.

It is better to have too much than too little with coffee.

Sometimes we think a coffee ‘hack’ will work to save us coffee or make an easy cup, but anything good in life is not easy, and it’s better to put effort in for a good cup than skimp on steps and get a shoddy cup you want to tip down the drain.

So, when you make your morning coffee, use the right amount of coffee and keep water at the right temperature. If you try to use too little coffee or water too hot to make more cups, then you are going to end up with bitter brews that make you wince.

Beware Of The Heat

Beware The Heat

Always remember that you need to be careful with temperature, if you aren’t sure, thermometers are an easy buy, but a good coffee maker should have a temperature setting.

You see, any water that is too hot for your coffee is going to ruin the delicious masterpiece of the drink. Water that is too hot extracts compounds in the coffee bean that are bitter and not nice to ingest.

You should aim for 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 45 seconds away from a full boil. But, as we said, any good coffee maker will regulate temperature automatically.

Once you have brewed your coffee, you should not expect the coffee to hold its most delicious flavors for long. Also, never reheat your coffee, this will destroy what you have created.

Reheating coffee, or if you keep your coffee on something that serves as a warming platform turns even the sweetest and most delicious coffee into a foul-tasting bitter wreckage.

So, if you want to make a good coffee, you better be taking notes right now, because temperature is much more important in a good coffee than you might think!

Keep Your Equipment Clean

Keep Your Equipment Clean

It shouldn’t have to be said, because everything in your kitchen should be cleaned thoroughly after each use, but some people might not be aware of the importance of keeping your coffee equipment clean.

This means grinders, and containers as well, for these you need to clean them at least every week to remove any oils that have built up. If you have a coffee maker you should run a specialty solution through it to clean it.

However, if you do not have a specialty cleaning solution then you can run a vinegar-water mix through your coffee maker instead to clean it out properly.

Vinegar is an incredible cleaning agent, and while it smells foul, its cleaning properties are otherworldly, it can get rid of any niggling bits you would not be able to get, and it’s even a genius at getting rid of rust as well.

Using a solution to clean through your coffee maker will dissolve any mineral deposits that have built up over time. Don’t forget to rinse through it before you use it though, the last thing you need is a vinegary or chemical taste to your drink.

Also, if you have something like a French Press then you need to be thorough with cleaning this. You might forget easily, or miss a spot here or there, but you can end up with some rather gross build-ups on these.

Coffee grounds can gather mold after time, so you want to clean these after every use as well, just like you would clean anything else in your kitchen, hot soapy water, or a rinse and a round in the dishwasher (not suitable for all models) will usually do the trick.

Time It

Time It

Time is also important with coffee, brewing too long can leave coffee losing taste, boiling water too long can lead to bitter coffee, coffee ground too fine is going to end up seeping grounds into your cup.

Knowing the perfect timing for your coffee process is important and will save you from mistakes that result in unpleasant coffee.

For this reason it can be wise to invest in a good kitchen timer, or even just use a timer on your smartphone to make sure that you do not go over or under the time you need.

Thus, this will stop you from having too much or too little flavor from your coffee grounds.

Different Types Of Brew Methods And How To Use Them

Different Types Of Brew Methods And How To Use Them

Always remember that there is no right or wrong way to brew coffee, there are plenty of different methods for brewing coffee.

However, before you start at making a good coffee, be aware that weighing your coffee grounds will usually give you a better result than if you use a measuring cup, spoon or scoop.

Digital scales are not only handy for cooking, weight will give you more accuracy than a measuring cup. As a rule of thumb, 15 grams or a single tablespoon is best for an 8 oz cup, generally.

However, do remember that different types of coffee will yield differently. After some time you may even find that you can measure your coffee best using your own judgment, like many chefs do with food.

That being said, we do recommend using weighing scales to determine how much coffee you need. This is not to get a good ratio between water and coffee for consistency, instead it’s more about the flavor.

It is all about the flavor, remember!

Flavor is the most important part of having a good coffee, baristas know this. Yet, if you have a good coffee machine at home, then it is entirely possible that your machine will do this for you anyway, so, this is generally a rule for people who need to measure their coffee to make it.

How To Make Pour Over Coffee

How To Make Pour Over Coffee

Pour-over coffee is probably one of the most loved methods for making coffee, however, it is the one that requires the most patience out of you, so, it’s not for everyone.

It produces incredibly aromatic coffee, and makes the best, most complex coffees. If you choose a pour over coffee maker you won’t find yourself disappointed by the result, just remember that you need to be patient, it won’t work its magic in a few seconds.

So, how do you go about making coffee with the pour over method?

We have a step-by-step guide here for you.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. The first step is for you to bring your water to boil in a kettle. Remember, filtered water works best for this.
  1. If you choose to use whole beans then you will need to grind your beans into a good and uniformed consistency that is somewhat like table salt.
  1. Now, you need to put a filter in your brewer and rinse it with some hot water, doing so removes any of the paper residue from the filter and will warm the brewer nicely for you. This keeps the coffee hotter for longer. Then discard this water.
  1. Add your grounds into the filter and ensure the surface is linear. Once your water is around 200 degrees, gently pour enough water over your grounds to cover them and saturate them. Start in the middle and work outwards. Then stop as the coffee drips through.
  1. Now, slowly pour a little remaining water in, keeping the water around ¾ to ½ full. It will likely take a few minutes.
  1. Remove the filter and enjoy your delicious cup of coffee.

How To Use A French Press

How To Use A French Press

If you feel like doing things in a European style, a French press can create a beautiful coffee. With this method you will also need a little more patience as well. It is great for many types of coffee, but you will also need to be ready to grind up your beans for this as well.

So, how do you use a French press to create a delicious cup of coffee? Here’s how.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Begin by bringing some water to the boil (or just before the boil).
  1. Then, should you be using whole beans, grind them up, so they are somewhat like breadcrumbs, a bit bigger than you’d use in the previous method. Your grounds need to be uniform and without any fine grit to them. Put them in your press.
  1. Once your water has reached temperature, add the water to your French press and give it a good stir. The time you will need to wait for it to brew will be around 4 minutes. Let it sit, then slowly plunge the press down to separate the grounds from the coffee.
  1. Now it is time to sit back and enjoy your creation. Take Note: If you do not want to drink the coffee straight away, don’t leave it in the press, as it will sit on the grounds and get better. Pour it into a carafe and then enjoy it later on.

How To Make Drip Coffee

How To Make Drip Coffee

Drip coffee sounds like it would take ages doesn’t it? Well, actually, no. You would be wrong to assume this. Drip coffee can actually be the answer for many on a super busy and hectic morning.

If your whole family are coffee enthusiasts as well, this is the answer to your pleas, unlike the previous methods, you could make a good dozen cups of coffee all at once with this method!

Lifesaver, right? So, how do you make drip coffee? Well, here’s a step-by-step guide to talk you through it!

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Same as before, if you are using whole beans, you will need to get your grinder out. Grind them into a uniformed consistency, much like the first method, you want it to be about as fine as table salt. Soft and a bit like powder.
  1. Move your grounds into a filter-lined filtering basket and then place this inside your drip machine. Now you will want to swivel the spout of your water over the center of your grounds.
  1. Get some clean filtered water and pour it into the back of your machine (NOT THE GROUNDS!) and press the button to start up your machine.
  1. Once the coffee is done with the brewing process, turn off your machine, and it will stop bubbling to avoid a burned or bitter taste.
  1. Once you are all done, you will need to clean the machine, but only once a month or so, though this does depend on how often you use it. Do so with a mix of water and vinegar at a 1:1 ratio, in order to remove any gunk or grime.

How To Use An Aeropress

How To Use An Aeropress

Aeropresses are pretty simple to use, they serve up a pretty complex and delicious coffee paired with aroma and good body.

This works well for those who want a quick and easy single serving of coffee that is full of flavor. It’s also super easy to clean, so you lose any hassle there too. While it is more complicated than drip coffee it is a bit less complex than other methods of making coffee.

So, how do you make this coffee?

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. First, you need to grind up your beans into a fine uniformed consistency.
  1. Now, you will need to wet your rubber piston and pop it into the brewing cylinder to around ¼ inch. Flip your brewer the wrong way up and place it on your scales and weigh it to 0.
  1. Add in around 17 g of your ground coffee to the cylinder then 0 your scales again.
  1. Carefully and slowly add in around 250 g of filtered hot water boiled to around 200 degrees.
  1. Steep your coffee for around 1:15 minutes.
  1. Place a filter into the filter holder and moisten it with some hot water to get rid of any residue.
  1. Flip your brewer and stand it on your coffee up. Now, press down the cylinder consistently until there is no more water to push through.

Ta-da!

How To Use A Chemex Filter

How To Use A Chemex Filter

Our final method is the Chemex filter method, it does take time to do, but it creates amazing aromatic flavors that you cannot help but love.

The thick filters will regulate the rate of filtration and keep any unwanted sediment out. It is easy to pour, but note that it is not super easy to clean by hand. It also is not dishwasher safe because of the handle, although this is generally easy to remove if needed.

So, how do you use one of these beautiful creations? Well, check out our step-by-step guide!

Step-By-Step Guide.

  1. Grind up your beans to a fine-medium consistency, about breadcrumb size, or just a bit smaller.
  1. Place your filter into the vessel and moisten your filter with hot water and pour off any excess.
  1. Now, pop your chemex on your scales and 0 it.
  1. Place around 32 g of ground coffee into the filter and 0 your scales again.
  1. Now, you want to pour around 60 or 70 g of hot filtered water at 200 (ish) degrees in a rotating motion over your ground to cover them completely.
  1. Wait around 45 seconds.
  1. Now, pour the rest of the water over the grounds, in a rotating motion again until your scales reach 500 grams.
  1. Wait for the water to drain (3:15  minutes minimum to perhaps 4:15 minutes maximum) If the pour takes longer, then grind a bit more coarsely. If it takes less, then you may want a finer grind.

Summary

Siping on straight coffee

So many of us love a delicious cup of coffee in the morning, nothing quite beats it, but how you make it is what makes the coffee.

Coffee doesn’t just give us that much-needed boost in the morning, it gives us flavor, a happy smile, and contentment to start off our day. The rest of the day could suck, but coffee has got our back.

This is why it is so important that we brew our coffee the right way, avoiding any bitterness that makes the start of the day awful. So, when you are brewing your next cup, make sure that you do it right. There are many components that go into the perfect coffee, but after time, doing these things are as natural as breathing!