Are you pretty sure you don't like coffee? Are you finding that you like coffee that you buy, but you just can't get as good a tasting brew at home? Is that daily cup of coffee you purchase starting to make a dent in your finances?
Whatever your reasons, learning to make a really good cup of coffee at home is an art. Many people who swear they dislike coffee actually find they like it when it's made well. And you can save yourself some money by making your own coffee and toting it to work.
So here are some tips on making a really good cup of coffee at home.
- Clean Machine
The number one killer of good coffee is a dirty coffee maker. Make sure your coffee maker is clean before you start! Clean your coffee maker with 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water; run it through the coffee maker and then follow with 2 pots of fresh, clear water. Disassemble it, and allow it to dry overnight before putting it all back together.
- Which Machine Is Best?
Have you ever wondered why some coffee makers are less than $25 and others are over $250? It's because the really expensive ones really do make better-tasting coffee, so buy the best one you can afford. The higher-priced models are made with stainless steel and materials other than plastic, which preserves the taste of the coffee over time. The more expensive machines also get the water hotter, which, as we will see below, makes a difference in taste.
By the way, yard sales and garage sales are a great place to look for second-hand but high-quality coffee makers for little money.
You can also forego a machine altogether and use a French press. Some maintain that the French press is the ideal way to make the perfect cup of coffee.
If you are using tap water, it's likely that your coffee won't taste as good. It's also going to speed up the calcification of the inside of your machine, especially if you have hard tap water. Use filtered water for best results, and make sure it is fresh and cold.
- The Beans
Now that your machine is clean and your water is fresh, cold, and filtered, it's on to the actual coffee beans.
Coffee beans grow stale quickly. If you get pre-ground coffee, buy small quantities so you use it up quickly. Its freshness only lasts about a week. If you really want a good cup of coffee, though, get whole coffee beans and invest in a grinder. Go for high-quality beans, not the typical mass-produced stuff. If you have a local coffee shop, get your beans there instead of at the grocery store.
- How Much?
The general rule of thumb is, 2 tablespoons of freshly-ground coffee per 6-ounce cup of water. Some people like to add one extra tablespoon at the end just for extra strength.
- Drink It Soon
Drink your coffee as soon as possible after it's brewed. It starts to lose flavor after a while, so brew in small batches.
There you have it! With a little trial and error, you should be well on your way to making a really good cup of coffee.