Let’s talk about how to brew the best coffee.
Same Coffee Different Brew
A friend of mine owns a coffee shop that typically ranks as one of the area’s best coffee shops. As it so happens, his roaster is identical to mine; with the same make, model, and year. As I was leaving the coffee shop he gave me some fresh roasted Papua New Guinea coffee to try at home.
The next morning I brewed up a cup using the Aeropress. The Aeropress is basically the poor man’s manual espresso machine. It is notorious for making very smooth and non-bitter coffee. Needless to say, I loved the coffee. Later that day, I had a business meeting downtown.
Let’s Meet For Coffee
As usual, my meeting was held at my friend’s coffee shop. We ordered a cup of coffee. Low and behold they served us the same batch of Papua New Guinea that I had made at home that same morning. I took one sip and about spit it out. It was bitter and burnt; same coffee, same day, different brewing methods. Keep in mind that my friend keeps his coffee shop meticulously clean and he uses the very best industrial drip coffee makers that money can buy. Yet, the coffee was bitter, burnt, and just plain nasty.
The Brew That Is True
Why? As it turns out, brewing methods have more to do with taste than just about any other variable. This is exactly why I keep telling people that the best coffee in town is made in your kitchen!
Whether learning how to brew the best coffee or learning anything else. Here’s something very important. Before you take someone’s advice, you need to understand his or her biases and preferences. I personally detest bitter and burnt coffee. I’d sacrifice flavor for soul satisfyingly smoothness any day of the week. The Holy Grail of coffee brewing is getting both smooth and strong flavor at the same time. Believe it or not, brewing methods can take otherwise mellow coffee beans and make them taste burnt and bitter. Or brewing can bring a mediocre coffee bean to new heights. Brewing makes the difference.
Basic Rules Before You Brew
Use fresh roasted coffee
Use good water
Grind just before you brew
Don’t use a pot warmer
How To Brew The Best Coffee
As I said, I love smooth coffee, that means not bitter and not burnt. In this case, the AeroPress delivers. The AeroPress is basically the poor man’s espresso machine. It’s a large 8oz plastic syringe with a paper filter. The result is soul satisfying smooth. This is my personal favorite method for brewing coffee.
This is perhaps the smoothest and most naturally sweet coffee on the planet. It’s also super easy to make. I make it daily for my wife. Just course grind some coffee, put it into a mason jar, fill it with cold water, shake, and put it in the refrigerator over night. The next morning just carefully pour off the top 2/3 into a mug, leaving the grounds in the jar. Done. Easy Pease. This is fast and easy coffee. The only down side is that it’s cold. But some people like that.
Fill pot with water, add handful of coffee grounds, and boil the snot out of it. Like the percolator, you’re getting every last drop of every chemical out of the coffee, pot, water, air, and fire. This stuff will corrode your innards faster than wet shit through a goose.
Drip isn’t the best, but it is convenient, especially if you’re brewing up a pot for a crowd. The big question is whether to use a gold metal or paper. The gold filter will give you a stronger flavor but more bitterness, where a paper filter produces a smoother cup of coffee at the of penalty of a little taste. The trick is to grind the bean right before brewing. That’s why I use the Cuisinart Grind-n-Brew.
First, I have to say that espresso is a brewing technique. Espresso is NOT a roasting method. It is NOT a type of bean and it is NOT a blend. Anyone claiming otherwise is selling BS. That being said, properly pressed Espresso is intense, thick, and typically very bitter. I can only imagine rhinos and Italians liking this thick sludge. That being said, to-each-his-own.
You have to have big balls to drink coffee this way. I mean, French Press coffee is like a good slap in the face. It’s bitter and strong. If you like that kind of thing, the French Press delivers. This is what I call not just strong coffee but “real” coffee. Nothing is being hidden here.
Nasty, nasty, nasty. The only thing worse than percolated coffee is cowboy coffee. I suppose if you like Folgers, then a percolator would be just fine for you. The percolator keeps passing the same coffee through the same grounds over and over again, thus leaching out every last drop of chemicals.
This is basically a manual drip. Let me start by saying that I like this method of brewing. It’s simple and produces a very flavorful cup of coffee, but a bit bitter. The two big variables are the type of filter and the length of time taken to drip the coffee. A paper filter will filter out some of the bitterness, but also some of the flavor. This is my preference over a metal filter. As for the pour over time, the slower you pour the stronger the coffee.
Turkish coffee is a cross between Cowboy Coffee and a French Press. It’s unfiltered coffee that lets the coffee grounds settle to the bottom. For better or worse, this is one insanely intense cup of coffee. Some people add spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and anise. Others add sugar as well.
How Fresh Is Your Coffee?
As a coffee professional, I know this simple truth. When brewing a cup of coffee, you can do everything wrong, yet produce a pretty darn good cup of coffee. That is IF, the roasted beans are fresh. By fresh, I mean that the beans were roasted less than 30 days ago.
At Lake City Coffee, we roast and ship via FedEx every Tuesday. That way you’re guaranteed the best tasting fresh roasted coffee within 24-48 hours anywhere in the country.
If you’re a coffee lover, then you deserve the best!
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