To say that I love coffee is an understatement. It’s almost part of my identity. I even ran into one of my former elementary school students who is now grown. As we chatted he said, “You were the coffee queen!”
However, I don’t like just any coffee. Making good coffee has become somewhat of an art form for me. By following some basic principles you can almost guarantee a good cup of coffee every time. Not to mention that you will save a lot of money in the morning if you make your own instead of stopping at a drive-through on the way to work.
Here are some tried-and-true tips to get you started on your journey of delicious coffee. And if you don’t like coffee? Well, this might turn you into a coffee drinker!
1. Always Start with a Clean Coffeemaker
One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to let their coffeemakers collect residue. You want to be sure that your coffeemaker is clean before you start.
When first purchasing your coffeemaker, clean the way the instructions tell you for that particular pot. After that, you should do a “vinegar cleaning” about once a month.
*Pour one part vinegar and two parts water into the reservoir. Turn on the pot as if you were making coffee.
*When it finishes, turn it off and let it cool down.
*Now follow up by pouring a pot of fresh water in the reservoir and letting that brew.
*Let it cool when finished.
*Now repeat with another pot of fresh water and let cool.
*Finally, wash the carafe, lid, basket, and any other removable parts in warm sudsy water. They can also usually be put in the dishwasher, but check your manufacturer papers first just to make sure.
2. Choose Your Coffeemaker with Care
Why are some coffeemakers so cheap while others are a couple of hundred dollars? Well, it has to do with the old adage, you get what you pay for. The expensive ones actually do make better-tasting coffee. So you want to buy the best one that you can afford. Although at the time of this writing, I have a cheap model!
Here is why. The higher-priced models are made with stainless steel which preserves the taste of the coffee over time. They also get the water hotter, which also makes a difference in the taste.
3. Be Particular About the Water
Try to avoid using tap water. Your coffee will not taste as good. There are several reasons for this. First, if you have hard water, it will speed up the calcification on the inside of your machine. If you have soft water, you already know it doesn’t taste that good straight from the tap. So filtered water
will yield the best results. Some people have filters built into their sink, and others use ones like Brita. Whatever you use though, make sure it is fresh and cold.
4. Select the Right Coffee Beans
The right coffee beans are also important. Many people do not realize that they grow stale quickly. The freshness actually only lasts about a week, so make sure to buy small enough quantities to use up quickly.
You can also purchase whole beans if you really want an excellent cup of coffee. Invest in a grinder so you can grind them at home. Many grocery stores have grinders, but some don’t.
By high-quality beans, not the mass-produced type. You may even want to buy you beans at a coffee shop instead of the grocery store. Some experimenting here will help you to settle on a brand that you like.
5. How Much Coffee to Use
Wow, this is were I get my reputation! I love strong coffee. My husband even waters it down before he drinks it. Our whole family jokes about my coffee.
The rule of thumb is 2 tablespoons of freshly-ground coffee per 6-ounce cup of water. Some people use less coffee. Some use more. I think most coffee scoops do hold 2 tablespoons of coffee. Again, measure and experiment to adjust to your own tastes and preferences.
6. Drink it Soon
Since your coffee is much better freshly-brewed, you want to drink it as soon as possible. It really starts to get bitter after it has been sitting in the pot for an extended period of time. If you know you can’t drink it right away, either make a smaller pot, or use a thermal carafe. The carafe keeps it hot but doesn’t let it get bitter.
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