Homemade Coffee to Buzz About

by Gina Blitstein · 1 comment

There’s no doubt that coffee is among the most popular beverages in America. According to the National Coffee Association, three-quarters of all adults drink coffee, 58% of them on a daily basis. “Coffee” however is a blanket term for hundreds of types of individual concoctions of various flavors and intensities, made from hundreds of types of beans by numerous techniques. We all have our favorite coffee: The one with just the right strength, boldness and roast to please our taste buds.

While it’s a lovely experience to sit in a coffeehouse sipping coffee made by someone else; or pick up a delicious, piping hot cup on our way to and from our daily destinations, it’s not always necessary to leave it to the baristas to get a tasty cup of coffee. All it takes is an investment in quality equipment and beans, a little time and some knowledge.

The following suggestions won’t yield professional results but they may help you enjoy your home brew more and avoid the temptation to run to the coffee shop for tasty – yet quite pricey – caffeine. Let’s make certain we’re using our equipment properly, buying the right beans and treating them right to make our own best cup.

Use Your Coffee Machine Properly

The two most popular types of at-home coffee makers in the U.S. – the drip and the French press – can produce perfectly delicious coffee.

Drip – A drip machine heats water to 195º to 205° F, then drips it through the coffee grounds. The hotter the water within that range, the brighter the coffee flavor will be. Use 1-2 tablespoons of medium ground beans for each 6 ounces of coffee desired. Drink the coffee immediately because allowing it to sit on the heating element will cause it to become bitter.

French Press (Also known as a “Plunger”) – This is an easy to use, manual coffee maker that brews heartier coffee than a drip machine. Use 1-2 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee per six ounces of water. Add half the hot water (195º–205° F) and let sit. After three minutes, stir lightly (or for a livelier coffee, stir vigorously). Add the remaining hot water. Wait three more minutes, then plunge, pressing the grounds to the bottom of the beaker.

Choose Appealing Coffee Beans

Choosing beans that match your flavor preferences will help you make pleasing coffee at home. Coffee flavors are described by four major components:

  • Acidity – a brightness or pleasant sharpness
  • Body – how it feels in your mouth; weight; a description of its “oiliness” or “thickness”
  • Aroma – High quality beans have more fragrant oils that release a stronger fragrance when roasted.
  • Flavor – A flavorful coffee will remind you of other pleasant flavors, e.g., nutty, spicy, fruity, chocolaty, smoky or tangy.

It’s interesting to note that while you may prefer the taste of a dark roast coffee, caffeine is released in the roasting process so lighter roasts generally contain more caffeine.

Grind with Care

Grind your beans appropriately. If too much of the coffee bean is exposed to hot water during brewing, bitterness and harsh flavors will develop. Therefore, the longer the brewing method, the coarser the beans should be ground, so as to expose less of the bean’s surface.

For freshest-tasting coffee, grind your beans immediately prior to brewing. When storing, keep only the whole beans you’ll use in a week or the ground you’ll use in a few days in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Freeze the rest.

With some know-how, home-brewed coffee can be delicious while saving you money at the coffee shop!

How do you make tasty coffee at home?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Café Cup April 8, 2013 at 8:21 am

Good read. Choosing the right coffee beans seems to be the key to making great coffee. Thanks for sharing.

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