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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