Brewing Coffee Tips

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How fine should I grind the coffee beans?

How fine to grind the coffee beans

You'll want to buy a coffee grinder that allows you to vary the courseness of the coffee grinds. The grind should suit the coffee brewer you are using and the type of coffee you are making.

Here are the difference between basic coffee grinds:

Course Grind: This coffee grind is fairly large, suitable for French presses and percolators.

Medium Grind: An all-purpose grind, suitable for most drip type brewers. Has the consistency of table salt.

Fine Grind: This is the grind you would want for espresso. If you like your coffee really strong you can use this grind in your drip type brewer.

For a grinder that gives you complete control over the coarseness of the coffee bean grind, try the Melitta Burr Grinder.

What do I do if my coffee tastes too weak?

What if your coffee tastes too weak?

If your coffee tastes a little on the weak side, here are the three commonest causes:

1. You didn't use enough coffee in the brew. Make sure you use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee beans for every 6 ounces of water.

2. The coffee was too coarsely ground. In other words, you're not leaving the beans in the coffee grinder for long enough.

3. The coffee wasn't brewed for long enough. (For example, if you are using a French Press, you didn't leave the coffee to brew for long enough before pushing down the plunger.)

If you are doing everything right, but still want a 'stronger' taste, you'll want to look at the origin of your coffee beans and the darkness of the roast. These don't, strictly speaking, relate to the 'strength' or 'weakness' of the brew. But they do impact the body, flavor and taste of the final cup.

Does the type of filter I use make any difference?

Use quality coffee filters

Use "oxygen bleached" coffee filters. Not only do regular chlorine type filters pose a risk to the environment, they don't make for as good a result in the cup. I wouldn't recommend using brown filters...they tend to add a "cardboardy" taste to the coffee. "Gold" permanent coffee filters are strongly favored by many coffee aficionados.

Does it matter how long I let the coffee brew?

Don't Let Your Gourmet Coffee 'Stew'

The worst way to brew gourmet coffee is to do it the way your parents and grandparents used to do it - by leaving it to boil and stew on the stove for hours on end. You want the coffee to brew for 4-6 minutes only and then either drink it right away or keep it in an insulated carafe. Keeping it hot over a hotplate may be convenient, but it really spoils the more subtle flavors of your coffee.

Two ways to avoid 'stewing' your coffee is to either use a French Press or use a coffee brewer that drips the coffee into an insulated carafe, like the Melitta Mill & Brew Coffee Brewer.

How much water should I add to my coffee?

The right proportion of gourmet coffee beans to water

To enjoy a great cup of gourmet coffee, you need to get the proportion of coffee to water right. Once you know the basic equation, you can adjust the quantities to suit your taste.

Here's the basic brewing equation: 2 heaped tablespoons of coffee + 6 ounces of good water + a brewing time of 4-6 minutes.

The same equation applies to all coffee brewing methods - whether you are using a French Press, coffee brewer or percolator

Does the water make a difference to the taste of coffee?

Make your gourmet coffee with good water

Use fresh, cold water. Because perfect coffee is over 98% water, filtered and bottled water is preferable. Some mineral content is desirable although this will depend on the quality of the water in your area. Harsh chemicals in your water source can seriously affect the quality of your cup of coffee. After all, if you're going to buy gourmet coffee beans and invest in a good coffee grinder and brewer - it doesn't make much sense to then spoil the final cup with poor quality water.

How do you make coffee without a percolator or Keurig?

Don't be a drip! Take a fresh spin on coffee making

You do not need a percolator to make excellent coffee. A French Press is a unique way of getting the most flavor and fulllness out of your coffee. Here's how it works-

1) Boil a pot of water. Removing the press from the decanter of the French Press, place two level tablespoons of your favorite coarsely ground coffee. Pour the boiled water over the grounds until you have only an inch of room left in the decanter.

2) Place the press, slot side closed, on top of the water/ grounds mixture. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

3) Gently press the press down, turn the slot open, and pour yourself a rich, fresh cup of sultry coffee that is unique to your taste.

What do you do when you and your partner like two different strengths of coffee?

Two Brews in One Pot

If you and your wife, husband, roommate, or co-worker have two different preferences for how strong you like your coffee, it can be a real pain in the neck taking the time to make two pots at two different strengths every morning. Luckily, you can easily work around that by simply stopping the brew halfway through to pour a cup for whoever likes it a little weaker. Then, you can let the pot finish for a stronger cup, as the coffee will have to sit in the basket a little longer to turn blacker. This can help to save time and effort, not to mention coffee grounds, so that starting your day doesn't have to be a two-hour process.

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