How to Make a REAL Cup of Coffee
You could follow a sucker’s guide to buying your way into making good coffee but assuming you’re not a simple minded consumer monkey, this will tell you how to actually make good coffee. It comes down to taste, but in order to understand the process you need to understand the chemistry involved. There are a few key points that you should bear in mind but they are just common sense really; buy good coffee, have a decent grinder and strainer and clean them between uses.
Simple physics would dictate that the finer you grind coffee, the greater the surface area, which means more can be extracted. However, after a while certain chemicals are extracted that does not add to the taste but ruin it. Allowing too much water to come into contact with ground for too long will lead to over-extraction, and ultimately ruin the taste. You can control this by determining the grind and amount of time the coffee is strained for. There is no perfect grind; it’s a case of trial and error, depending on your preference and the quality of the coffee.
If you are particularly fussy about drinking tap water, be exactly as fussy when using water to make coffee. Standard tap water contaminants can include metals, chlorine, salts all of which taint the taste of the coffee. Ideally you would use bottled spring water but realistically it’s best to use a charcoal filter either on your coffee pot or your tap.
Use no more than a single level tea spoon of coffee granules per cup of coffee but remember that the larger your batches the less likely you are able to prevent over-extraction. Many drip coffee makers will automatically do this by allowing a certain quantity of water to bypass the mixing process directly into the cup. Its best practice to brew a strong coffee and dilute it back than try and get it right in one go and tainting the flavour.
Once roasted, coffee immediately begins to lose its flavour, green beans can last for years without going off but unless you have industrial quality roasting machines at your disposal don’t even think about trying to roast them yourself. Your best beans will not come from the supermarket or off the shelf of a coffee shop; you should order them online with speedy delivery. This will help you avoid getting beans that have been sitting around in container for six months while stocks remain high.
When ready to brew, use your CLEAN grinder and grind only enough coffee to serve, ensure the grind is even and place in your coffee pot. Add the right amount of water, bearing in mind the rule about larger quantities. If you want to add milk, do so at your own discretion but be aware that you shouldn’t need milk if you do it right and lastly don’t EVER add sugar, if you have to add sugar you don’t like coffee, go buy a red bull instead.