How To Brew: Coffee

I love coffee. I drink it every day. However, I've noticed that the results I get at home never quite compare to the cup of coffee I get at my favorite diner or cafe. How do I get consistent and quality results at home, and what methods of brewing coffee at home do you recommend?

We have all been there. We enthusiastically make or order a fresh brewed cup of coffee, expecting the taste to be rich and warm as we press the cup to our lips, tilt, and carefully sip. Instead of being smooth like honey and complex like caramel, the coffee is bitter, or weak, or even grainy. What went wrong? "How hard can it possibly be to make a decent cup of coffee?" you wonder. Well luckily for you it's really not that hard and the is here to offer some no fail coffee brewing steps! We're about to give you some tips and guides for all kinds of coffee makers including drip, press, vacuum, and stovetop, that are guaranteed to get you brewing like a pro!


Simple Steps to Delicious Drip Coffee

No matter what special features your drip coffee maker has, and no matter if it is in possession of a glass, thermal or double pot carafe, follow the subsequent steps for brewing drip coffee and you will be on your way to a superb and true cup of joe!

Step 1: The Coffee Bean
Coffee Beans As with all forms of brewing, one of the keys to a successful and tasteful cup of coffee lies in the coffee bean itself. When it comes to brewing drip coffee, some may be under the impression that all you need is a good old can of Foldgers pre-ground and that is that. The truth is, drip coffee can produce an amazingly aromatic and full bodied brew. It deserves the best coffee you can afford. Often times, for a reasonable price you can pop into your local coffee shop or grocery store and buy whole beans from a coffee provider you trust. These fresh, well sealed, whole beans, should be bought in quantities no larger than a week's worth of coffee. For more on purchasing coffee beans, click here.

Conical Burr GrinderStep 2: The Grind
Now that you are aware of the importance of purchasing fresh coffee beans for you drip coffee maker, you need to know what to do with them. When brewing with drip coffee makers, you will want to grind your coffee beans to a medium coarseness resembling the look of table salt or unrefined sugar. If your final brew is too watery, you may have ground your beans too coarse. On the other hand, if the brew seems over extracted or bitter, your grind was mostly likely too fine. For more on the type of grind that's best for drip coffee makers, check out our Coffee Makers In Depth Article.

Step 3: The Water
A cup of drip coffee is 98% water. In order to insure that your coffee is as flavorful as possible, you want that water to be darn tasty! Adding filtered water to your brew instead of tap or de-ionized water is one of the easiest and yet most influential steps you can take to brew better drip coffee.

Step 4: The Ratio
Now that you know the importance of the coffee bean, the coffee grind, and the water used, you need to know how to put these ingredients together. A ratio that makes consistent, flavorful, and rich, drip coffee is as follows:

10 grams of ground coffee to every 6 ounces of water
2 tablespoons of ground coffee to 6 ounces of water

Again, this is a general guideline and depending on your taste or preference for strong coffee or lighter coffee, you may want to play these numbers a bit. All in all, this is a great starting point!

Step 5: Putting it all Together
Coffee Filter Okay, now that you have the right bean, the right grind, the best water, and you are in the know regarding the correct coffee ratio, it is time to put all these elements together and brew!

First thing is first, take out your filter from your drip coffee maker or if you have a paper filter, add the correct amount of ground coffee to the filter and place it back in your drip coffee maker. Next, add the right amount of water (based on our ratio) to the coffee reservoir. Finally, just flip the brew button!

As you can tell, making drip coffee is a pretty simple process. However, there is ample opportunity for things to go amiss. Buying fresh coffee beans, grinding the beans fresh and to the right coarseness, and adding filtered water will help insure your brew is truly spectacular!


Simple Steps to a Fantastic French Press

French PressLike a young Parisian woman's style, French press brewing is both simple and chic. With a unique design that allows for the ground coffee to come into full contact with the hot water, French press brewed coffee is extremely flavorful with tastes that are intense and sweet. Follow these simple (and chic) steps, and you will be a French press powerhouse!

Step 1: The Coffee
Hmmm, is this a trend or am I simply too lazy to write something new? Despite all appearances to the latter, using whole and fresh coffee beans is key for all brewing methods including the French press.


Step 2: The Grind
Getting your grind right when brewing coffee with a French press is essential! A French press grind should always be very coarse to the point of flakiness. This insures that the ground coffee beans do not make their way through the metal filter and into your brew.

Step 3: The Water
As with all coffee makers, to achieve optimal taste be sure to use filtered water. In addition, a French Press requires that you bring the water to near boiling temperature (about 195 degrees Fahrenheit) and then add this hot water to the French Presses carafe after the ground coffee has been added.

Step 4: The Ratio
When brewing with a French Press, you will want to add water to the coffee in a ratio of:

4 ounces of water to 1 tablespoon of ground coffee

Step 5: The Brew
Once you have added the right amount of coffee and water to your French Press, you may stir the ingredients together a bit and then place the lid and filter on top of the press. This will insure heat is retained as you let the mixture brew for about 4 minutes.

Step 6: The Plunge
When your mixture has brewed for around 4 minutes, you are ready to press down the plunger! This is the fun part as well as the trickiest part of brewing with a French Press. While it may take you a few tries to get the technique just right, you will always want to press down slowly, firmly, and flatly. In other words, keep a constant slow speed as you press the plunger down and be sure that the filter does not tip as this will cause coffee grounds to escape into your brew. Follow these techniques, and your French Press coffee will be truly something chic.


Simple Steps to Venerable Vacuum Coffee

Vacuum Coffee MakerWhen looking at a vacuum coffee maker, some may think it is elegant, others may see at as strange, and most see it as intimidating. The vacuum coffee maker is definitely a unique and truly beautiful way to brew coffee and it is surprisingly simple. Follow these steps for a brew that will definitely impress your friends!

Step 1: The Coffee
Again with the coffee thing? I cannot stress enough the importance of choosing fresh whole beans and grinding them upon each brew. This will greatly improve the quality of your coffee no matter which brewing method you prefer.

Step 2: The Grind
When brewing coffee with a vacuum brewer, you will want your grind to resemble the same characteristics as used with a drip coffee maker: medium coarseness.

Step 3: The Filter
After you have ground your coffee to the resemblance of sand, make sure the filter is in place on the top carafe. Next fill the filter with the ground coffee. For every cup you are brewing, add a heaping tablespoon.

Step 4: The Water
Use cold, filtered water and with a vacuum coffee. Add the water to the bottom carafe and proceed to heat it to boiling temperature by either turning on the vacuum coffee maker's built in heater or by placing the carafe on a stovetop.

Brewing with a Vacuum Coffee MakerStep 5: Brew It!
Once the water reaches boiling temperature, remove the vacuum coffee maker from the heat source and watch the coffee maker's fascinating brewing process take place. An internal siphon will force the heated water up through the filter filled with ground coffee in the upper carafe. Next gravity will stream the brewed concoction back down to the bottom carafe.

Step 6: Enjoy
Now all that is left to do is to remove the top carafe from the coffee maker and pour your freshly and stylishly brewed coffee into a cup for pure enjoyment! Not only will you enjoy the taste, but you will also enjoy the satisfaction in knowing that you have now conquered the strange yet graceful vacuum coffee maker.


Simple Steps to Stellar Stove Top Coffee

Elegant and sophisticated in style, the stove top coffee maker is great for an afternoon cup of coffee for you and a friend. Like the vacuum coffee maker, the stove top coffee maker contains two separate and stacked pots. However, brewing only takes place in the bottom pot of a stove top coffee maker while the other portion simply holds the finished product.

Stovetop Coffee Maker Step 1: The Coffee
Choose your favorite fresh whole bean roast from a local supplier or grocery store!

Step 2: The Grind
Grind your fresh whole beans right before you brew to the fineness of sugar. Stovetop coffee tends to require one of the finest of grinds. Add the fine grinds to the filter basket which unscrews from the bottom level container. You will want to loosely fill the filter with ground coffee. If you compact the coffee, it may create too much pressure as your stove top coffee maker brews.

Step 3: The Water
Filtered, fresh, and cool, add the water to the bottom container which also holds the filter basket. There are usually lines which mark how much water you should add depending on the amount of cups you are brewing. Next you will screw the filter basket back into the bottom container which is filled with water and place the entire pot on the stove.

Step 4: Brewing
As the water heats, it will be pushed up through the coffee grounds in the filter basket and then siphoned into the serving pot. The key to great coffee with a stove top coffee maker is insuring the coffee boils before serving. If you remove it too soon from the heat, you will be left with bitter tasting coffee.



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