How to Prepare the Best Tasting Cup of Coffee
Are you always in search of the perfect cup of coffee? Do you obsess over every detail related to your coffee: from buying the best beans, to taking the utmost care in its preparation, and even to how you store your coffee? So do we.
At Charleston Coffee Roasters, our mission is to deliver the world’s finest coffees. We want you to have the best cup each and every time, and to always want another cup. So here are our tips and recommendations for how to prepare the best tasting cup of coffee at home.
KNOW YOUR BEANS
Coffee is grown all over the world, and the beans from each region have unique characteristics. Like wine, you can read these characteristics, but the only way to know what you really like is to taste for yourself. Try coffees from different origins, styles, and roasts. With time, you will learn to tell the subtleties of each region and narrow in on your favorites.
For the best taste, select 100% Arabica beans every time. They are high-quality coffees grown in many countries and come in several grades. Because of their quality and flavor, they are sold as whole beans and high quality canned coffees. All of Charleston Coffee Roasters’ coffees are 100% Arabica.
Make sure that the beans you buy are fresh, since the flavor will fade once exposed to air, light, and moisture. But it isn’t always clear to know when coffee is past its prime. So how do you know? Look for these signs:
- Aroma – Envelops you when you open the bag. Deep and intoxicating, intense and fragrant.
- Bloom – Coffee gases from fresh grounds will bubble and “froth” when mixed with hot water.
- Flavor – Fresh coffee tastes complex and vibrant, rather than flat and bland.
Ever wonder what that funny little indented circle and pinhole is on the top of every bag of Charleston Coffee Roasters coffee? That’s a one-way valve that lets out natural gases, but does not let air inside. So the beans stay fresh for months, even on the supermarket shelf.
A common misconception is that beans in the bulk section are fresher than beans in bags or cans. This is not true, as noted, coffee loses its freshness quickly and can become stale after a week if not stored or packaged properly. So ask your store manager when the coffee was roasted. If it has been more than a week, you are better off with pre-packaged coffee.
Whole bean coffee will stay fresher longer. Just like spices, as soon as the coffee is ground, it will start to lose its flavor. So if you can, purchase small amounts of whole beans frequently, and grind the beans as you need them. You can grind up to a weeks worth of coffee at a time, and keep it in airtight container at room temperature (more on storing your coffee below).
BREW LIKE A BARISTA
If you have selected fresh good quality beans, preparing the best tasting cup of coffee at home is pretty simple. And just for the record, you don’t need a fancy machine to make good coffee. A manual drip filter cone, or a French Press/Plunger pot will work just fine (you might want to read our blog on How to Use a French Press).
You do need to be careful about your coffee to water ratio, though! Bitterness is extracted when there are too few grinds in the pot. So memorize this formula, and use it every time: 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of fresh water (per cup).
Also make sure that you use fresh cold water, preferably filtered. You don’t want to use distilled or soft water here. Bring your water to a boil, remove from heat, and let the water sit for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. You want the water to be just off the boil in order to unlock all of the great flavors inside or your beans. Slowly pour the water over the grounds, making sure that you wet all of the grounds. Allow the coffee time to filter through to your cup, all the while enjoying the aromas wafting up.
If you won’t be drinking your coffee right away, or are brewing multiple batches for a crowd, be sure to put your coffee in a thermal or insulated pot. Don’t ever keep your coffee on a hot plate or burner!
GRIND AS YOU GO
As mentioned, we recommend that you keep about a week’s worth of coffee in an airtight container at room temperature away from light and heat. Preferably the container should be ceramic, plastic, or opaque (not clear) glass. For longer storage, you can keep your coffee in the freezer but it should also be in an airtight sealed container. Just try to open the container as infrequently as possible when it’s in the freezer. When you are ready to pull the coffee out of the freezer, be sure to let it come to room temperature before using.
And that’s it! It is really not hard at all to prepare the best tasting cup of coffee at home. Just follow our tips, and you will have a great tasting cup every time.