10 Steps to great coffee
If you are traveling down the rabbit hole of better coffee, these are 10 things that I have tried that have gotten me very close to my perfect cup!
If you put cream and sugar in your coffee, this will probably not apply.
If you follow these steps, you can convince yourself that your coffee tastes better even if it really doesn't. Improving your coffee ritual can increase your coffee enjoyment.
1. French Press
I used to have a glass one until I broke it. Now I have a stainless steel one. Steel because I am clumsy. It does impart a slight metallic taste to the coffee but I don't mind. This taste is disappearing as I either get used to it or it wears off of the French press. The steel French press is also much better at retaining heat.
2. Dark Coffee Beans
I have found that I prefer the Amazon basics beans that are sold in the United States. I keep trying other ones and more exotic beans but I keep coming back to this one.
3. Burr Grinder
I recently upgraded from a spinning blade grinder to a burr grinder. The burr grinder makes a very consistent size. This makes a much bigger difference than I imagined it would. My coffee has a very smooth, consistent taste now. I bought my machine on Amazon for about $35. You can spend thousands on these machines but I don't really see the value.
4. Digital Scale
With trial and error, I have found that 45 g of coffee is what I prefer. I use a digital scale every day because the beans can weigh different amounts depending on how moist they are, so doing it by eye or volume is not as accurate.
5. Electric Tea Kettle
You can boil water anyway that you want, but a kettle is very convenient and inexpensive. It will stay hot for 20 minutes before shutting off.
6. dampen the beans with hot water first
This is something simple that kicks your coffee up half a notch. After you have measured your beans and boiled water, pour enough water to cover them, and then stir or shake them so they get wet. Let it sit for about 30 seconds. The theory is that this allows the beans to release some of the gases that cause bitterness into the air. This seems to work.
7. Using the French Press plunger, submerge the beans
After you fill the French press, use the plunger to push all the beans under the top of the water. Don't press all the way down yet.
8. Let them steep for at least 4-5 minutes
This is enough time to do the extraction. Leaving it longer does not seem to change the taste much: I drink my coffee throughout the morning from the same press.
9. Push down the plunger slowly: enjoy this part!
You can congratulate yourself for a job well done at this point, and enjoy the sensation of slowly pushing the plunger down. Also, be careful if you're using glass and don't push too hard. I don't know why but sometimes the plunger goes down easily and sometimes it had more resistance
10. Use the same cup every day: pour and enjoy!
This is optional, but I have found that when I use the same cup I am used to the size. My cup is about 8 ounces. When I use larger cups the heat profile is different and it has a different mouth feel.