Even if you have been brewing coffee for years, these tips and tricks will teach you how to make coffee with a coffee maker better. Ready for the best coffee of your life?
Like a cantankerous zombie you shuffle your way into the kitchen each morning uttering a series of reflexive moans and groans. Only casually aware of your consciousness, you brew yourself a bitter pot of black elixir that alone can revive your mortality. Repeating this same routine every morning since reaching adulthood, your semi-comatose corpse has never questioned if there is a better way. After all, if it wakes you up what is there to improve?
The truth is, you can brew the best tasting cup of coffee of your life with your home coffee maker, and for less money than you are currently paying for your stale pre-ground coffee beans. Oh, you didn't know you were buying stale coffee beans? Read on...
How to Make Coffee with a Coffee Maker - Better
Let's start with the facts. You are brewing bad coffee right now. Don't worry, it probably isn't your fault, and your friends are too. So don't worry about anyone other than me judging you. You are likely unknowingly using stale beans, storing them wrong, and brewing them in an inadequate machine (sorry for making you feel like a failure, I'm sure your kids will turn out fine). Even if you are aware your coffee doesn't taste as good as your favorite coffee shop's, you probably didn't know you can easily change that.
Follow my tips below and each morning you will be savoring the best cup of coffee of your life. Or follow just a few of my tips and your morning cup of joe will still be dramatically improved.
What most people don't realize is coffee beans are like bread, they stale quickly. If you grew up only eating stale bread, you would probably think it tastes OK too, however after getting a taste of freshly baked bread, I doubt you would want to eat stale bread again.
Coffee beans are the same way, most people just don't realize they are stale because that is all they ever tasted. It isn't that the coffee roasteries are trying to sell you stale beans, they just typically can't get them into the store and in your home before the flavor starts to degrade. Your coffee beans were already stale when you bought them.
If you buy your coffee beans pre-ground you are sacrificing even more flavor. The flavor in a coffee bean starts diminishing the moment it is ground since grinding creates more surface area being exposed to the air.
If you want to improve your coffee, you have to improve your bean, and this is how:
- Grind your own beans. It is always recommended to buy coffee beans whole and grind them immediately before brewing. This maximizes freshness. The best way to grind them is to use a Burr Grinder, which will ensure an even grind every time.
- Blade Grinders aren't recommended since they often will grind too finely. However, you can make them work by grinding with a series of quick pulses.
- Roast your own beans. This will make the most dramatic improvement in your coffee. Using a relatively inexpensive home coffee bean roaster you can make the freshest tasting beans you'll ever get your hands on. Green coffee beans can be purchased from websites such as SweetMarias.com, and cost dramatically less than the stale pre-roasted beans. Your coffee roasting hobby pays for itself! Roasting coffee beans is no harder than making toast. Anyone can do it. This is the single most important thing you can do to improve your morning coffee.
- If you won't roast your own beans your best bet is to find a brand that prints the roasting date on the package. Purchase and brew your coffee within two weeks of the roasting date for best flavor.
A lot of people store coffee beans in the refrigerator or freezer. This is not recommended because the moist environment inside your refrigerator will make your coffee taste like cardboard. If it were really best to keep them in there, you would be buying coffee beans from the refrigerated section of your grocery store rather than the dry goods aisle. Instead, keep your coffee beans dry in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.
There are a lot of ways you can brew exceptional coffee, including using the famed French Coffee Press. However, this post is about how to make coffee with a coffee maker.
The problem with making coffee in a coffee maker is the wild variance in brewing temperatures. What most people don't realize is coffee should ideally be brewed in water heated to 195-205 degrees for optimal flavor extraction. Any hotter than that and the coffee will burn. Any cooler and not all of the flavor will be extracted. Most home coffee makers are woefully underpowered for this task.
- Instead, purchase a coffee maker specifically designed to heat water to the optimal temperature. One such coffee make is the Bonavita Coffee Brewer, which is the coffee maker I personally own. It is one of the few home brewing systems certified by the SCAA to brew in the proper temperature, time, and quality ranges. Plus, it is insanely fast. I have a full pot of coffee ready to go in 5 minutes.
- Finally, the most obvious and overlooked aspect of learning how to make coffee is the water quality. If your tap water tastes off, your coffee will taste off. For great tasting coffee only use filtered water. You can use a tap filter, or bottled water if you prefer.
One warning in conclusion: If you follow this tutorial, you will quickly turn into a coffee snob. I assure you this won't be by any sort of pretentious choice, but rather your home coffee will now taste infinitely better than anything you get from the gas station, church, or the work breakroom. The coffee you previously spent years mindlessly consuming will now taste burnt, bitter, and completely unpalatable. After all, when you now enjoy fresh bread every morning, do you really expect to still enjoy stale loaves as well?
If you think I am exaggerating? Try it...
How to Make Coffee with a Coffee Maker - Better
- Freshly roasted coffee beans
- Filtered water
- Using a burr grinder, grind the coffee beans needed for your pot of coffee immediately prior to brewing.
- Add coffee grounds to a coffee maker certified to brew between 195-200 degrees adding 6 oz of filtered water per 1-2 tbsp of grounds (depending on personal taste) and brew.
- Enjoy your coffee immediately. Letting it sit on the burner will add an increasingly burnt taste.
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