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Best Way to Brew Coffee

By Edited Jul 25, 2015 4 3
Best Ground Coffee
Credit: Opensource

If your morning coffee does not taste like it used to, perhaps you are making some classic mistakes with it in the rush for convenience over everything else. Many of the foods we consume now are made with ease of use in mind which is great if you are trying to get the kids fed or out the door to the office.

However, as with most things in life, everything has a cost, and like all processed foods made with convenience in mind, they lose flavor and nutritional value if applicable.

While the filtered coffee brands are certainly tastier than the percolators that were used to make coffee in the 50s and 60s, they too can leave a bland tasting cup of coffee. And you do not have to be a coffee connoisseur to notice the taste, or lack thereof.

Without going into a history lesson of coffee, what are some of the things you can do to make a better tasting cup of coffee?  

Source of Water Matters

First off, you need clean, filtered water.  If you have noticed a strange taste to your coffee lately, it could possibly be your tap water. Without thinking, most people use tap water to fill their coffee makers or kettles on the stove. However, since water is the main ingredient, do not underestimate how chlorine and other chemicals added to tap water can adversely affect taste.

When I brew, I use one of two sources for my water. Either I pour it directly from a gallon of spring water, or most recently, pour it from one of the Brita pitcher filters I use for drinking water.

While the pitcher filtering system does not remove 100% of all additives to tap water, it gets close, particularly with chlorine which is the thing that most negatively affects the taste of tap water.

Whole Bean or Ground?

I remember watching an episode of Modern Marvels on the History Channel once and it was all about the lengths serious coffee drinkers go to in order to get the best tasting coffee. While that may be good for a hobby, it is not really practical for the average American on the move.

However, every expert I have ever heard swears by one thing. To achieve optimal flavor from the bean, you need to freshly grind them right before you brew. This requires a coffee grinder of course, but you can get those for about $15 at most retail outlets. They are also great at grinding up flax seeds for use in a smoothie.

You should also keep your beans fresh, only purchasing enough at one time to get you through the next week because as they sit around even whole, they lose flavor.

How much? Well, for the average consumer you probably would not notice, especially if you load it up with a sweetner and cream.

But if you are serious black coffee drinker, these small changes can make a big difference in the flavor.

What is the Best Way to Brew?

Well, according to the experts, one particular way stands out, but it is not the one that is used by most people. In fact, if you mentioned the name, most people might think you were referring to something used in the French Revolution.

French Press

If you love coffee, you should become familiar with a French press because coffee made using it wins flavor tests every time.[2]

How do you french press coffee?

The concept is simple. You place some fresh grinds in the bottom of the press, add boiling water, then physically press a plunger down the glass tube, and the built in filter will press the grinds to the bottom allowing the water to mix and filter through to the top of the press. There you have your freshly brewed cup of joe.

The French Press

Make Coffee Using French Press

SterlingPro Coffee & Espresso Maker, 8 Cups (4 Ounce Each), Chrome
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How to Make Coffee in a Coffee Pot

Automatic Coffee Brewing

Brew Coffee
Credit: mjpyro

In terms of flavor, the second favorite among experts is to brew freshly ground coffee beans in an automatic drip maker using a brown paper filter. Do not use the white filters you see in most stores. They have been colored white using bleach. Pay a little extra for the brown ones to get a more natural flavor.

Again, it is important to use clean water and to grind your beans right before brewing to get the best flavor. However, if you are pressed for time, you can go ahead and grind a few day’s worth of coffee without losing too much flavor. Remember, you are not trying to win a taste contest, you just want a good balance between optimal taste and time needed to prepare.

If you do store some coffee grinds for a few days, it is debatable whether or not to store them in the refrigerator. I have read both good and bad things about this in regards to the effect it has on taste.

To be safe, it is probably best to sit them outside in an airtight container on the counter for use during the next few days.

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How to Make Instant Coffee

Several members of my extended family insist on boiling water in a kettle and making instant coffee every morning.

According to the experts, this is the worst way to drink coffee because of the loss of taste and possible effects to your health.[1]

To get coffee to be instant in the first place, it has to go through a lot of processing to change the grinds, else they would not dissolve in your cup and would simply float to the top. During that processing, a lot of flavor is lost.

The second problem with instant coffee is that people often add water that is too hot which completely obscures the taste. Automatic drip makers heat the water to the appropriate temperature which is why they are a great option.

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee, 8 oz., 3 Count
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How to Make the Best Coffee
Credit: mjpyro

Whatever you do, do not use the dreaded percolator. Yes, you can still find those in stores, but according to the experts, the stuff that comes out of it tastes like swill.

All of this advice should be taken in context. If you are someone that load their coffee with sugar and cream, it does not really matter what you use because that will kill the flavor of the coffee anyway.

However, if you are a serious black coffee drinker and want to try something new, skipping the prepackaged ground coffee or the instant coffee will lead to better tasting coffee that you will appreciate.



Sep 10, 2014 6:35pm
Although I'm not a serious coffee drinker, it's still interesting to know about the correct way of brewing it. I'm more of a tea connoisseur though.
Sep 14, 2014 12:41pm
Oh I agree that a French Press is the way to go. Filtered water is important but also the temperature of the water (just shy of boiling is ideal). Great overview, thumbing and pinning.
Jul 24, 2015 7:26pm
Hey, thanks for writing this article, it's really helpful to know all the simple things you can do to brew a great cup of coffee.
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  1. "Is Instant Coffee Bad for Your Health?." Livestrong. 14/12/2014 <Web >
  2. "What is a French Press." How to Brew Coffee. 8/01/2015 <Web >

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