Coffee doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures and should remain so even when brewing that first cup in the morning. Here are some tips to getting the most out of your coffee when brewing at home.
1. Use Fresh Coffee
Freshness is key to getting the most out of your coffee. So forget about grocery store expiration dates. Generally speaking the coffee you’ll find there is months old. Instead find some with a roasted on date that is no older than 2 weeks. Then use up that coffee within 4 weeks. After that the coffee starts to drop off significantly in flavor and freshness.
2. Grind It Fresh
The shelf life of whole bean coffee is about 4 weeks. The shelf life of ground coffee is about 40 mins. The further from the coffee tree you get, the shorter the shelf life. So do yourself a favor and grind it right before making your coffee.
3. Use Good Water
Coffee is 98% water. So the water you use is very important. If you don’t like the taste of the water straight from the tap, try bottled water. You want water with some minerals in it so avoid distilled water. Also, the water should be about 202 degrees F or just off the boil. Too hot and you’ll scald the coffee, too cold and it will develop sour notes.
4. Upgrade Your Grinder
Grinding your coffee is a great first step to a better cup, but if you want to take it to the next level get a burr grinder. Without going into a lot of science, you’ll end up with a more even grind and a more even extraction resulting in a better cup of coffee. As a bonus, burr grinders often come with specific settings that allow you to be even more consistent.
5. Use a Scale
If you really want to improve your coffee start using a gram scale. This is especially important if you’re using a manual brew method such as pour over or French press. It takes the guess work out of dosing the right amount of water and will make every cup of coffee consistent. When we’re brewing we generally use 17.3 grams of water to 1 gram of coffee, but you can adjust that to your personal tastes.