If you want to learn how to make coffee, it’s not complicated. But there are a number of factors you should be aware of.
Let’s first see how to make coffee with the most popular of all coffee makers – the drip infuser.
Drip coffee makers are the most commonly used coffee makers and can be found in most households. They make a great cup of coffee, although you might want to stay away from the lower price bracket. The problem with cheaper drip brewers is that they don’t heat the water to the right temperature and don’t do a very consistent job of spraying hot water onto the coffee grounds.
More Gourmet Coffee Brewing Tips – First Buy Good Coffee Beans
“Good” can be a subjective term because everyone’s tastes and preferences differ.
But if, for example, you like a medium roast Colombian blend, buy quality beans from a reputable supplier.
In a sense, making gourmet coffee is like cooking a good dinner. You will never get a quality result if you don’t start with quality ingredients. With coffee, that means starting with first-class coffee beans.
First, be sure to check out our own online store, the Coffee Detective Gourmet Coffee Store.
Additionally, we have a page that lists companies that sell quality coffee online.
Buy beans that have been stored in airtight packaging
From the moment they come out of the roaster, the coffee beans start to lose the subtleties of their flavors. The problem is exposure to air. So don’t buy from self-service bins. Buy your coffee beans in an airtight bag. And look for bags that have a small non-return valve.
Why do they have a valve? Because when the beans come out of the roaster, they “gas”. If you put fresh roasted beans in a bag and seal it, gas would build up in the bag and it would tear or explode. The quality coffee suppliers therefore put the beans in bags with these one-way valves. The valve allows gases from the inside to exit the bag, but it does not allow air to enter the bag.
These valves allow roasters to put beans in sealed bags as soon as possible after they have cooled down after the roasting process.
You can read more about finding the freshest coffee beans here.
Protect beans from air just before grinding them
When you open the bag, transfer the beans to an airtight container, then grind only the number of beans you need for each brew. It is tempting to grind enough for a few days. But if you do, the ground coffee will lose some of its flavor.
As soon as coffee comes into contact with air, some of its volatile oils start to evaporate. And these oils contain much of the flavor of the coffee bean.
And if you buy beans in a bag from a supermarket trash can, do the same – immediately pour them into an airtight container.
Grind your beans to the correct size for the type of coffee maker you are using
Buy a coffee grinder that allows you to vary the size of the coffee grind. The grind should be suitable for the coffee machine you are using. Using the correct grind is a key part of how to brew coffee that you will truly enjoy.
A coarse grind: This coffee grind is quite large, suitable for French presses and percolators.
Average grind: An all-purpose grind, suitable for most drip-type brewers.
Fine grind: This is the grind you would want for an espresso.
You can buy the Capresso Infinity burr mill pictured above on Amazon.com.
Read our page on the different types of coffee grinders.
Use good water.
Coffee is 98% water and bad water can make a difference in taste. There is no point in learning how to make coffee and investing in good beans and a coffee maker, if the final taste is spoiled by poor quality water.
If you have good tap water, that’s fine. But if you don’t, try filtering the water before brewing. Or, for those of us with terrible tasting water, use bottled water.
We have a full page on using the best water for making coffee here …
Use the right proportion of ground coffee to water.
For every 6 ounces of water, you need 2 level tablespoons or a standard coffee measure of ground coffee.
6 ounces will give you a cup of coffee, but not a cup. If you’re brewing a cup of coffee, it looks more like 8 ounces, and you’ll want to use 2½ to 3 level tablespoons of ground coffee.
Tip: When in doubt, always add a little more ground coffee. The main reason why the coffee is disappointing is that you have used too much water and too little ground coffee. In other words, the coffee is too weak.
If you brew enough coffee for four cups of coffee, simply multiply the amount of ground coffee you need by four. Etc.
Get the right water temperature
Again, most machines will adjust the water temperature for you. But when you use a French press, you are boiling the water yourself. Do not use boiling water. Boil the water first, then let it cool for a minute or two. The best temperature for making coffee is just a little below the boiling point.
These are just the fundamentals of coffee making. There is still a lot to learn. But if you are successful, you will make a better beer than most people.
Brew your coffee for the correct time
With drip brewers, you have no control over the brewing time. But you do with a French press. Different experts suggest different times. But somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes should do the trick.
What to watch out for is that older drip brewers or single serve brewers may start to take longer and longer to complete brewing. This could be due to clogged tubes or faulty pumps. But when it takes 10 minutes or more to finish brewing, you won’t get the best taste.
First, try descaling your brewer. If that doesn’t work, maybe it’s time to buy a new machine.
Find the best drip coffee makers.
Some drip coffee makers now offer a taste quality equivalent to that of the casting press or the French press. Find out more …
Learn more about making great coffee:
5 Coffee Crimes That Will Ruin Your Brew.
Brew better by grinding your coffee a little more coarsely.
3 Ways To Save Money On Home Coffee …
How to prepare your favorite coffee drinks …
How to measure coffee to prepare the right brew …
Why should you always buy fresh coffee beans …
What is the best coffee?
Learn more about roasting coffee at home …
Choose between dark roasted or medium roasted coffee beans …
What exactly is roasted French coffee?
Discover the difference between gourmet coffee blends and single origin coffees …
More detailed information about the gourmet specialty coffee …
Enjoy the experience when you brew coffee …
Questions on how to make coffee, asked and answered:
Should I keep my coffee beans in the refrigerator?
What’s the best way to brew coffee?
How to choose the best roasted coffee?
How do you make Swedish coffee?
About the Author: Nick Usborne aka Coffee Detective is a lifelong writer and coffee enthusiast. Find out more …