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Brewing Coffee

It's easy to make a great cup of coffee.

Perfect first thing in the morning, as a midday pick-me-up, or capping the evening alongside a sweet dessert, there's never a bad time for a coffee break. Use these tips to get the next pot started!


Easy as One, Two, Three

Once you know the basics, it doesn't take much to brew perfect coffee; as a matter of fact, it only takes three things:

  • Filtered water: the fewer impurities in the water, the less competition for the true flavor of the coffee.
  • Correct proportions: regardless of machine-type, use two tablespoons of grounds per eight ounces of water, and then adjust to your taste from there.
  • The right grind: it differs by machine, but generally the more time coffee grounds spend in contact with water, the courser the grind--and vice versa.


Learn more about grinding and storing beans at home:


Hello, How do You Brew?

Personal preference reigns when it comes to coffee makers. No single brewing method is necessarily better than another; each machine simply operates differently and might lend itself to a particular need more than another. Let's look at the most popular types and find out what each does best:

  • Automatic Flat-Bottom & Automatic Cone: it makes sense to look at these two side by side because they are very similar brewing methods: water pours through the coffee filter and basket into a pot. Aside from differences in brands, these machines differ only in the shapes of their baskets (indicated by their names).

    Best for: brewing multiple cups of coffee at a time with little fuss.

  • French Press: this is a manual brewing process where grounds are soaked in hot water. Using a French press is very easy, but there are a few things that aren't automatically initiated by a "start" button--use these steps for brewing:

    1. Spoon grounds into carafe (two tablespoons per eight ounces of water)
    2. Pour water just off a boil into carafe, getting all the grounds wet (they will rise to the top). Leave at least ½ to ¾ of an inch of room between the carafe's rim and top of the grounds/water.
    3. Let grounds soak for four minutes.
    4. Press filter through grounds to bottom of carafe, then pour.

    A French press brews the fullest-flavored cup of coffee, thanks to its stainless steel filter. While a paper filter soaks up the coffee's natural oils (where much of the flavor is held), the press' filter allows the oils through. But without a paper filter, there will be a little coffee sediment at the bottom, so leave that last sip in the mug.

    Best for: brewing one to four good-sized cups (depending on size of carafe) of full-flavored coffee that will be served right away.
  • Automatic Gold Cone: this machine is similar to an automatic cone, but uses a gold-plated stainless steel filter instead of a paper one. The gold cone allows the coffee's oils to flow through the filter and, as with a French press, it produces a fuller-flavored coffee (though still not as full as a French press).

    Best for: brewing many cups of fuller-bodied coffee at a time with the least fuss. It's a happy compromise between the desire for French press flavor, and wanting the convenience of an automatic machine.


Now, the only question is, how do you take your coffee?


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      Comments
      Sep. 12, 2009 6:50 pm
      Mmmmmm. I love a good cup of coffee. My daughter always says, mommy you drink coffee all the time! But for some reason,I can't make a good pot of coffee to save my life :)
       
      Marci 
      Oct. 22, 2009 5:13 pm
      French Press...primitive is best! I drink coffee no other way...strong, dark, and pressed.
       
      Nov. 17, 2009 4:43 pm
      i like to grind the beans myself. why? because then i dont have to measure it. filling the coffee grinder just to the top of the blade attachment produces grounds for four cups. or, one small handful of whole beans for each cup of water, if i'm making more than 4 cups of coffee for company.
       
      Dec. 18, 2009 1:56 pm
      I made my first cup of pressed coffee. It was so smooth, strong, and easy to make. I loved it! I will not be using my drip anymore. Pressed is so much easier to make.
       
      susan 
      Dec. 31, 2009 9:26 pm
      I am taking a survey with friends and family, wash the pot with soap and water before each brewing or not? I would be interested to know some other points of view, please. I will not share mine right now though!
       
      Jan. 16, 2010 4:55 pm
      Susan, I never use soap in my coffee pot. I clean it with salt and ice, that gets the brown stains out and leaves no residue.
       
      Jerry S 
      Mar. 10, 2010 9:36 am
      I use a percolator and the water boils hard while the drip takes place.Should coffee boil? In the army, two pounds of coffee went into a 55 gallon drum with an immersion heater, and was good. Why do people make it sound like rocket science?
       
      Doug 
      Mar. 12, 2010 6:36 pm
      When I was making coffee I would use a percolator as it was the best way to make coffee. You could see the strength of the coffee through the glass knob on the top. When it just turned brown it was ready.
       
      Apr. 7, 2010 1:08 am
      There are lots of great ways to make coffee. In a drip maker I use 3 scoops less than the amount of water. (ex.8 cups to 5 scoops or 12 cups to 9 scoops)A tablespoon can be your scoop. The percolator is my favorite. Avoid aluminum and try to get stainless steel.We call it cowboy coffee. The longer you let it perc the stronger the coffee.I let mine perc for at least 10 minutes, but I like mine strong. Also mix your coffees. I live in Hawaii and I mix 2 bags of Kona coffee(10%) with a large container of Maxwell house. The flavor is great without costing me tons of money. I hope this helped!
       
      happy cook 
      Jul. 8, 2010 5:48 pm
      I thought for years that I couldn't make good coffee, but finally came to the conclusion that it was my water. We bought a water distiller, and my coffee was amazing. I do think that the cone shape coffee maker is better that the flat as the coffee is deeper rather that spread out. I also like for it brew into a carafe as it doesn't sit on a burner, but stays hot for hours.
       
      Superstarr 
      Nov. 18, 2010 1:11 pm
      I love to add a little dash of cinnamon to my coffee, but it always sits on top instead of dissolving in. does anybody have a trick to this?
       
      Dec. 6, 2010 6:01 pm
      to Superstarr,, I would maybe trying cinnamon sticks to put in your cup after brewing...my friend does this because she is diabetic, so she uses cinnamon in her coffee..
       
      julieinid 
      Dec. 20, 2010 8:10 pm
      who in their right mind would use soap in their coffee pot! YIKES! I find a wash cloth and hot water an wipe it out in the running water does fine and it isn't nasty tasting or smelling like soap.
       
      emily 
      Dec. 24, 2010 5:52 pm
      superstarr...try adding a teaspoon or so of cinnamon right into the coffee grounds before you brew. You get just the right amount of cinnamon and don't have to worry about it floating around the top of your mug. It is by far my favorite way to brew coffee :)
       
      Mary 
      Feb. 10, 2011 6:12 pm
      I love coffee,add a little bit of vanilla extract when brewing to make vanilla coffee!!!
       
      Apr. 30, 2011 1:50 pm
      My favorite trick is to nuke the water so it doesn't boil like a hurricane on steroids. Heat kills coffee.
       
      Delia 
      Apr. 30, 2011 8:38 pm
      I have a 2 cup coffee maker and still can't get a good cup of coffee.
       
      May 2, 2011 7:11 am
      Susan. Inspite of what some others have said... I BELIEVE in washing with dish soap & water, but I also rinse VERY well!!! Ice & salt also works very well. I HATE coffee makers (example Mr. Coffee) not always THAT brand name... ANY coffee maker except percolator. I LOVE coffee from a percolator. I haven't been able to find the old fashion glass one in years. Wish I could find a 12 cup glass coffee percolater. In a glass one, I always used ice & salt to clean it. I come from a farm and we always boiled water, added coffee & egg shelles (rinised out of course)served coffee in a cup and added a spoon of cold water (let sit for a few a seconds) and the grounds went to the bottom. We didn't drink the last sip of course. All grounds. THAT'S farmers coffee. The BEST in the world. The egg shells took out the bitter taste. Theres my suggestions. Thank yoyu all.
       
      Hatestocook 
      May 18, 2011 8:06 pm
      Last year the coffee machine stopped working. I was tired of spending money every year on a new machine and remembered I had my mom's old coffee pots in the basement. One glass and one Corningware percolator. I started using them and never looked back, they're fabulous!
       
      Jeanie Hansen 
      Jun. 1, 2011 9:19 am
      Need only one cup of fabulous coffee? Use freshly roasted and ground coffee in a Melita filter/cone. Place on top of your cup and pour slightly boiled filtered water over. The best!
       
      Jeci 
      Jun. 4, 2011 5:50 pm
      I soak my ground beans in boiling water for quite a while and then just pour it through a very fine strainer. I like it strong, and it doesn't involve any specialized equipment--which I don't have room for.
       
      Jul. 11, 2011 7:41 am
      For the past 6 years I have been using a Senseo that uses coffee pods... I buy dark roast... dark has less caffeine but a tastier flavor... Sneseo has many different flavors of coffee, but the dark roast if the best! I think. I am completely spoiled on coffee now... the only other ones I drink when I am out is expresso and I love it...
       
      Jul. 19, 2011 10:00 pm
      I love coffee. If you brew coffee through a basket, add a pinch of cinnimon to the grounds before brewing. You will be surprised at the change in taste--but you cannot put your finger on it. I was brewing coffee every morning at work for the "gang" and everyone loved the coffee. One person was having problems with his stomach because he did not know about the cinnimon. So check with your "drinkers" and make sure they are not bothered by that "pinch" of cinnimon.
       
      keithlee 
      Jul. 25, 2011 8:27 pm
      My favourite coffee is manually ground right before I press it in my Bodum. I love Pike's Place (Starbucks), Jamaican Blue Mountain (exquisite but pricey), and a good, dark french or italian roast. I only drink it black, and I like it very strong. I'm getting into using an aeropress, but it uses so much coffee for a small cup of (very good) coffee. If you can skip the drip, a press or percolator is an amazing way to enjoy coffee. Also, really try to stay away from paper filters - they're not so good for the environment and they take away some of the best flavours in your coffee. If you must use paper filters (drip/aeropress), wet the filter slightly before adding coffee and water so that more of the flavours will pass through. Happy drinking.
       
      Aug. 23, 2011 10:41 am
      It's funny that some people spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy coffee maker. The simple french press is inexpensive, easy-to-use, doesn't require any energy, and can last forever. Oh, and it makes the most delicious coffee you'll ever drink.
       
      lohsharon 
      Oct. 7, 2011 7:52 am
      French press! sooo much easier to use.
       
      mkonnick 
      Oct. 18, 2011 1:40 am
      I drink a pot or more a day...so I guess you could say I'm an addict lol. I also like to put cinnamon in my coffee, but I order "cinnamon chips" from an organic herb site called mountain rose and put them right on the grounds before I brew. I also do not make my coffee as strong as some. I use 1 coffee scoop per 2 cups on the carafe.
       
      Dot 
      Oct. 23, 2011 3:30 pm
      First cardinal rule:NEVER BOIL coffee!! We grind our own beans and use an automatic drip coffeemaker w/paper filter. 1 1/2 Tblsp p/cup of water. My dad made coffee in a pot: put freshly-drawn cold water in pot. Put in coffee grounds. Bring just to where it wants to roll over in a boil; take off heat and let set 10-15min. Can leave it on burner turned very low while drinking first cup so second cup is still hot. Coffee should be drank HOT, NOT lukewarm! :>(
       
      janiemae 
      Nov. 3, 2011 2:20 pm
      I've had every type of coffee maker that you can think of! The best by far is the percolator which is done on top of the stove. For 8 cups of coffee I add 8 tablespoons of coffee. Turn the fire on medium high until it starts perking. Once it starts then turn down some and perk for 8 minutes. There is no comparison! Sometimes fast isn't always the best way.
       
      Donna 
      Dec. 20, 2011 3:38 am
      Just wondering if anyone can tell me if a paper filter is needed in the old glass Pyrex coffee pots?
       
      LisaZ 
      Jan. 3, 2012 1:51 pm
      I have worked in restaurants for many years and have learned, you can get a coffee pot sparkling clean with ice, salt, and a little squeeze of a lemon wedge. Rinse, then good as new! Of course, I left out that you need to shake the ice or "spin it" around the bottom of the pot. If you just put in the ingredients, then dump them out it will not work. The salt is the abrasive that will clean the pot. You shouldn't need more than a teaspoon. (Sometimes less if not too stained). And always-do this when the pot has cooled or it will crack. Also, you only need a cup or scoop of ice. :)
       
      daigadrook 
      Jan. 25, 2012 10:41 am
      After I pour the cup, I add a pinch of salt to it. It heightens the taste for me.
       
      Feb. 23, 2012 3:40 pm
      All of you coffee lovers. Please try some of my fresh roast coffee. I been a Roast Master over 20 years now. And I now good coffee. You can find some of my coffee at Joe Ragan's Coffee. We located I Springfield, VA. You can found more information on our web site at http://www.joeragans.com/. I roast all types of coffee, I even make special blend just for you. Give you will love it. By the way my name is Roy.
       
      Feb. 23, 2012 3:51 pm
      Enjoy The World Best Coffee. My Coffee Is Roasted Daily. I can Make Any Coffee For Your Needs. We Can Mail Your Coffee To You. No Coffee Order Is To Large Or To Small. I Know You Will Love My Fresh Roast Coffee. You Can Call Our Office Or Visit Our Website
1.800.368.0808
http://www.joeragans.com/

Fresh Roast Coffee
       
      lori 
      Oct. 20, 2012 4:52 pm
      Have always used a french press but recently tried cold brewed coffee and I am hooked!! NO bitterness at all. I went from adding 3 teaspoons of sugar per cup to not adding any!!
       
      Nov. 3, 2012 9:43 pm
      If you are trying to limit your intake of salt do not do this. I found if you take just a pinch of salt and add it to the top of your basket,your coffee will not be bitter. But just a pinch between thumb and forefinger.
       
       
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