You can have better coffee no matter what your situation. The more you can use any of these tips, the better your coffee is going to taste. We love great taste!
1. Start with Great Beans
If you have an espresso machine choose medium roasted beans, otherwise go for dark roast. Drip machines have a harder time extracting flavor and the dark roast helps. Always use Arabica beans. Avoid plastic cups or pods as these leech into the coffee.
When in doubt, go for Kenyan. Kenyan has some of the strictest regulations on bean quality.
2. Fresh! Fresh! Fresh! Check the Roast Date
Choose beans that were roasted within the last few months if possible. If you're not sure, ask. Try to keep it under 6 months. Places like Starbucks tend to be good about knowing the dates. A local roaster can give you even more details.
Also avoid any beans that are in glass or clear containers: light spoils beans.
3. Grind them Fresh! No More than 3 Days Old
Beans lose so much flavor after they are ground. They are a produce product. We've heard it said that you shouldn't use any grounds that are older than 3 days. It's better to use a store grinder than get pre-ground.
4. Grind the Beans Evenly
The more evenly you can grind the beans the more consistent flavor that you are going to get. This prevents over and under-extraction. Or in other words, weak or bitter coffee. Beware of home grinders! A quality grinder is very expensive and typically beyond a home budget. When in doubt grind it at the store and tell them the type of machine you have.
5. Use the Right Amount of Coffee
Of course you have to use the right amount of coffee. This is actually difficult to figure out. If you use too little you could get a watery taste, but you could also get a bitter taste as the beans are over-extracted. People often confuse this with using too much coffee (assuming that it's too strong). Use a computer controlled machine or the measuring device provided for your machine. Be precise and accurate.
6. Use High Pressure. More! More! More!
More pressure means more flavor. Most of the good flavor is inside the grounds. Traditional Italian espresso makers use about 9 bar of pressure. The newer espresso machines use about 15-18 bar. Go for the pressure!
7. Filter the Water
Coffee is 98% water, so you want to have the highest quality water you can. Start with tap water. Despite what many people believe, tap water is often the lowest in contaminants, since unlike bottle water, it is regulated. If you can filter the water, do so. These keeps the coffee better and helps keep the machine clean.
8. Use a Computer
Brewing precisely really helps. For example if you can infuse the coffee at just the right speed, you can maximize the extraction. This is most easily done with a computer: think micro-second anti-lock brakes on your car.
9. Use a Quality Machine
Better to choose a simple quality machine over a pricier low quality one. Many machines have low quality parts, grinders, or other components, and in general and they fail to produce consistent results. Pay attention to who actually manufactured the machine as well as warranties.
10. Keep the Spout Close to the Cup
This may not be obvious but you lose a lot of flavor as the coffee falls from the spout into your cup. The closer the spout is to your cup, the better the taste.
11. Pre-warm your cups
Warmer cups help bring out more flavor than if the coffee is cooled quickly.
12. Deep Clean the Machine Regularly!
Clean daily. Deep clean regularly. All machines get calcification, contaminants, bacteria, and other things inside the machine and internal parts. Not only for flavor, but for your health.
Your Comments or Experience?
Did we leave off anything? Any tips you've learned? Leave your comments below.