Sad but true: most of the coffee I’ve been served at friends’ homes have been bad. By that I don’t mean awful and completely undrinkable- just mostly mediocre. The thing is, for me, there’s nothing worse than a mediocre cup of coffee.
Now chances are, if you’re using those little packets of instant (or, horrors, “3-in-one”) coffee, you already know why your coffee sucks- but what if you aren’t? What if you buy quality beans, grind them fresh every day, and you’re still unhappy with your home brew? Here, my tips for making awesome coffee at home:
- Clean your coffeemaker. Whether you’re using an automatic drip machine, a french press, or a percolator, you want to keep your coffeemaker as clean as possible- that means getting rid of leftover grounds and oily residue completely. I like to clean my coffeemakers with distilled vinegar and water about once a month, and daily with good old dishwashing soap and lots of water.
- Buy good beans. Roasted coffee beans go “off” quicker than you think, so you want to buy beans that are well-packed (in a dark container), and from a reputable source. I’m not a bean snob by any means- Starbucks has a great selection, and I also have a soft spot for good old Folgers.
- Store your coffee well. In the freezer is good- and if you have a large amount of beans, separate them into smaller “servings” so you don’t have to bring them all out every time you grind.
- Get a good grinder. Sure, you could use your blender, but for maximum flavor you should consider investing in a burr grinder, which crushes your beans with a grinding wheel rather than a blade. It produces a more consistent grind.
- Use good water. Good, sparkling clean water can make a world of difference to your cup of coffee. When using a drip machine, I like to start with very cold water. If you’re using a french press, heat your water only to just under boiling.
- Always brew fresh. The longer you let the coffee sit, keeping it warm, the worse it will taste. Only brew enough for the moment.