How do I brew the perfect cup of coffee?

I know that this isn’t really cycling related, but brewing a great cup of coffee just might be as important as good bike maintenance.

To make the perfect cup of coffee requires more than just great beans, it is a combination of factors. Starting off with making sure you have the right equipment and supplies. Lets take a look at this process and how you can make the most out of your coffee…

coffee cup

Preparation

To ensure an excellent cup of coffee every time, be sure to take the following factors into account. While each factor may seem minor, when combined together they can turn a good cup of coffee into a great one!

Coffee Machine

Make sure you are using a quality coffee machine that is cleaned free from calcium in the water reservoir and coffee build up in filter holder compartment. Once every couple dozen brew cycles you may wish to decalcify your machine to improve coffee taste and keep your machine running smoothly for years.

Water

Use only fresh, cold, clean water – preferably from a filtration system or filtered jug. Tap water contains chemicals and minerals that have a negative effect on the taste of your coffee. Remember that water is the major component of your coffee and has a dramatic impact on the overall success of your coffee.

Cream or Milk

There are a variety of creams and milks available. Try starting off with a 10% cream and move to lower percentages as desired. Milk typically lacks texture and leaves the coffee tasting watery. Always use the freshest possible milk or cream. Since coffee is comprised almost completely of water it is a very low calorie drink, however the higher the cream percentage the more calories you add.

Sugar

There are a number of sugar types available. Typically white refined sugar is sufficient, however brown sugar, rock sugar and other interesting varieties are available at your local store. People with low calorie diets may use a substitute sweetener as directed by their physician, however this does impact the taste of the coffee.

Filters

Only use filters that are fully compatible with your machine. Overall, cone shaped filters perform better than the basket type. I recommend non-bleached filter paper from a company that practices tree conservation and proper renewal practices which are usually indicated on the box of the filters.

Storage

It is recommended that coffee is not purchase in bulk, but rather in the amounts you will use over a relatively short period of time to retain freshness. Optimally you want it stored in an air tight container away from light, in a cool location. However, I do not recommend storage in a fridge or freezer as this adversely affects the coffee. Be sure when resealing packaging or when transporting coffee to another container that as much air is removed from the package as possible.

Brewing

A good starting point when determining how much or little ground coffee to apply against the amount of water being used is 1 to 2 tablespoons (10g) of coffee per 6 fluid oz. (180 ml) of water. From there you can increase or decrease the amount of water or ground coffee to suit your taste. Unless your coffee machine has a feature to compensate, it is recommended you brew at least 3 or 4 cups worth of coffee each brew cycle. Lower amounts yield uneven results and you’ll most likely want to go back for more anyway. It is important that once you remove the ground coffee and put it in the coffee machine that you begin brewing immediately. The ideal brewing temperature for coffee is between 195˚F and 205˚F with the total brew time being no longer than 6 minutes on a conventional coffee machine.

Serving

Once the coffee brewing process is complete, consume immediately. After being brewed, coffee rapidly deteriorates and within 30 minutes starts to become bitter and poor tasting. Never re-heat cold coffee in the microwave, and once the heating element has been turned off on your coffee machine, do not turn it back on. When serving your coffee, you may want to consider, if convenient, pouring the coffee into a pre-warmed mug.

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