The perfect cup of coffee is, well… perfect on mornings like these! The sun is just starting to break through the trees and skyline and it is a clear, 58 degrees outside. My favorite 20 minutes in the day are the ones with my hands wrapped around my first mug of coffee of the day, especially when I can sit outside and watch the world wake up around me. There is something so calming and renewing when you can take your time greeting the day. If I had my way, which I rarely do, my morning routine would never change. If I were able to get out of bed when my alarm actually goes off (which I can’t) I would always have those 20 minutes. If I were good about preparing things ahead of time, which I’m not, my coffee would always be perfect!
The perfect cup of coffee takes a little time and know-how. No matter your extraction method, a few things remain true.
- One, the water you use must be HOT! It should be between 190 and 210 degrees, just before it comes to a boil.
- Two, you HAVE to use good coffee. Now that is a little subjective because, just like wine, “good” is often defined by taste preferences. However, there are a few guidelines. Remember that coffee is an agricultural product and is affected by weather, climate, soil conditions, and farming methods. It continues to be affected by handling once it reaches your possession. Just like produce, there are certain ways to store, grind, and prepare coffee to keep it fresh. Believe it or not, coffee has a shelf life! It should be stored at room temperature, air-tight and in whole bean form.
- Three, always choose Arabica coffee beans. These are the cream of the crop and produce a coffee that possesses all of the best properties of the particular coffee you are brewing.
As for extraction method… personally, I think a French press produces the best cup of coffee at home. I think it is because you control the temperature of the water and the length of time the coffee brews. This makes for a really personal cup of coffee. It does have drawbacks though, in that it is not easy to prepare coffee for a crowd, the second cup is never as hot as the first, and it is kind of messy to clean.
My second choice is a drip brewer. In my opinion, the best kind of drip brewer is one that brews directly into a thermal carafe. This way, the coffee is not sitting on a burner and continuing to “cook” as you are enjoying your first cup. Leaving it on a burner will make the coffee turn bitter.
I hope these hints help. Don’t be afraid to explore different varieties and flavors, you may be surprised at what becomes your favorite!