MAKING YOUR PERFECT CUP OF COFFEE AT HOME

I simply adore my cup of coffee. I know a couple of people who even go to sleep thinking about the flavor of their morning cup of coffee.

Here are some rules that can help you create your satisfying cup of coffee at home every day:

Rule one: Buy fresh beans 

Beyond doubt, coffee tastes best when it is used within days of being roasted. The best way to get the freshest beans is by buying from a local roaster (or roasting your own). Never buy bulk coffee from supermarket display bins. Did you know that the worst flavor busters for roasted beans are oxygen and bright light? And most stores are not conscientious about selling fresh coffee – this results in the storage tubes getting coated with coffee oils, which turn rancid with time. You could buy coffee beans that are packaged byquality-conscious roasters and sold in durable, vacuum-sealed bags.

Rule two: Keep your coffee beans fresh

Opened coffee beans should always be stored in an airtight container. The best choices are glass canning jars or ceramic storage crocks with rubber- gasket seals. Do not refrigerate roasted beans as these are porous and readily take up food odors and moisture. If possible, buy a seven day supply of fresh beans at a time and store in glass canning jars at room temperature.

Rule three: Choose good coffee

Did you know that an astonishing world of coffee tastes awaits you, but only if you are willing to venture beyond mass- marketed commercial brands? You could achieve a lifetime of tasting experience if you use specialty coffees that clearly state the country, region or estate of origin. Try and look for 100% pure Arabica beans. You may come across cheap market alternatives, however, you should be aware that these cheaper alternatives contain Robusta with has a higher caffeine content and a harsh flavor.

Rule four: Grind your own coffee

Coffee begins to lose its quality almost immediately upon grinding. This is the reason that the best-tasting brews are created from beans ground just before brewing. Now, most coffee connoisseurs choose to grind in expensive burr mills. However, at home, affordable electric “whirly blade” grinders (such as Braun or Bodum) do a serviceable job. The only thing that you need to be really sure of is that the mill is rocked during grinding to achieve a fine, even particle size. Finer grinds always yield a better flavor.

Rule five: Use good water

Well, well – nothing can ruin a pot of coffee more than tap water filled with chlorine flavors. If you are serious about coffee, consider using bottled spring water oractivated-charcoal/carbon filters on your taps. Do not ever use distilled water as it will result in terriblecoffee—the minerals in good water are essential for an enhanced taste and aroma.

Rule six: Avoid cheap filters

Coffee experts claim that bargain-priced paper coffee filters generally result in terrible coffee. Try and get “oxygen- bleached” or “dioxin-free” paper filters (such as Filtropa or Melitta). Again, if you are serious about coffee, investing in a long-lived gold-plated filter (e.g., SwissGold) is not a bad deal. These are known to deliver maximum flavor.

Rule seven: Do not skimp on the coffee

A proper strength coffee can be brewed by using 2 level tablespoons per6-ounce cup. Do not use tricks such as using less coffee and hotter water in order to extract more cups per pound as these result in bitter brews.

Rule eight: Be careful of the heat

Too hot water tends to extract compounds in the coffee that are bitter rather than pleasant. The optimum brewing temperature is 200°.This can be achieved by boiling water and leaving it for 45 seconds. It is regulated automatically by good coffee-makers.Do not expect your coffee to hold its best flavors for long after it is brewed. You could convert the best tasting coffee into bitter and foul tasting by reheating or boiling it.

Rule nine: Maintain your equipment

Always clean your storage containers and grinders every few weeks – this helps in removing any oily buildup. Use a specialty coffee maker cleaner to thoroughly clean your coffee maker every month and dissolve away any mineral deposits. Rinse your coffee maker thoroughly before reuse.

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