Easy Steps to a Great Cup of Coffee

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The upside of being married to a coffee nerd is pretty obvious: I get a really good cup of coffee every morning. Whether it’s my normal decaf or a great cold brew during the summer, G’s coffee game is on point. Here are some things a coffee novice like me has picked up from watching him make a barista-grade cup. 

1.Whole milk is better.

Fat equals flavor. Most likely, I won’t be able to tell the difference between a high quality, organic, grass-fed cow milk versus a generic brand, but skim-milk makes my coffee tastes much less flavorful. 

2.Use filtered water.

Coffee is mostly water, so the better tasting the water, the better the coffee tastes. Straight tap water is fine, but often has a lot of additives and minerals, which can alter the flavor. Using a simple pitcher filter creates a noticeable difference.

3.Timing matters.

Most coffees should brew between 3-5 minutes or else you run the risk of brewing bitter-tasting coffee. We like medium roast coffee and typically let it drip for 3 minutes.

4.Buy good beans.

Great food comes from great ingredients, so this is an important area to focus. Good doesn't necessarily mean expensive and since everyone has different tastes, there's no one right answer. However, if you're seeking a better drink, avoid pre-ground, flavored beans. If you like vanilla, add some vanilla syrup or sugar after brewing your coffee. We're partial to this roaster's African coffees, but there are some fantastic options from all over Central and South America as well as Asia.

5. It's all about the measurements.

Great flavor is found through the perfect balance of coffee:water:temperature. There are a variety of theories/preferences as to how much of each you need, but ultimately, you'll want to measure each component to find your preferred recipe. We use this acrylic stand and scale (shown above) and this electric kettle to gauge the various measurements, but a lot of drip machines have built-in tools that work well.

6.Small details are important.Whether it's adding hot water to pre-heat your mug, or making coffee ice cubes to avoid diluting your cold brew, these small details simply enhance the experience. 

While our process is a bit overkill for most people, here are the steps we take to make a fantastic cup of coffee. We only have one cup a day, so the ritual is worth it.  

1. Fill kettle, heat to 202°F (or just under a full boil.)

2. Measure out 17.5g of whole bean coffee, pour into grinder.

3. Once the water reaches temperature, grind beans.

4. Place a paper filter into a dripper (we use this $12 version), add some hot water to moisten filter.

5. Add ground coffee to dripper, place over mug or carafe, then place mug/carafe on top of kitchen scale.

6. Turn on scale, tare to zero, then add 20-25 grams of water and let the coffee bloom for 30 seconds.

7. After blooming, continue adding water at a slow to medium rate, until you reach 200-250 grams (different weight depends on the type of roast you're using.) 

8. Remove the dripper after 3-5 minutes and enjoy.