While it’s true that preferences to coffee can be subjective, there are certain criteria or principles that allow you to consistently churn out great tasting cups. Whether you’re ideal cup be of the sweeter softer arabica variety or the stronger caffiene-rich, robusta, as long as you keep in mind these 6 fundamental principles, you’ll produce great tasting cups of coffee every time.
Buy the best you can afford
There are coffee beans and there are coffee beans, and like good wine or cheese the price often reflects the quality. Ideally the beans should be roasted in the past few weeks and be sustainable. In addition the latest trend is for them to be lighter roasted. With darker roasts you simply don’t get all those layers of flavour. It’s akin to taking piece of prime Wagu beef and cooking the heck out of it!
Grind it just before you brew
Although coffee does contain a lot of flavour it’s very delicate and perishable. This means that when exposed to oxygen all those delicious flavour compounds quickly expel. So like any decent café should do, grind it just before you brew it and it will taste so much better.
Store it properly
Coffee should always be stored in a cool place away from the sunlight and moisture. For this reason airtight containers are the way to go. It’s better to store your ground coffee in a cool dark cupboard rather than the refrigerator as the moisture created within is going to spoil the flavour and ultimately your cup of coffee.
Get the coffee to water ratio right
Back in the 1950’s an American MIT professor by the name of E E Lockhart carried out a large survey across several thousand coffee drinkers and asked them about their preferences. He published his findings in the form of a ‘brewing chart’ which is still very much used today. He noted an optimal coffee-to-water ratio of 17.42 units of water to 1 unit of coffee. The great thing is that this measurement is unit-less, so you can use grams, ounces, stones, kilos, or even tons if that’s your preference. It’s a great starting point that will get you in the zone and then you can adjust it from there depending upon how you like it.
Get the technique right
Brewing great tasting coffee is all about the technique and like a good cake, if you add an ingredient in the wrong order then it’s going to come out different (and probably not as good) as the time you made it before. So keep it consistent.
Use quality tools
Finally look to use quality brewing and coffee making tools. Whether your machine of choice is a bean-to cup, espresso or bulk-brew coffee machine you’re undoubtedly going to get better results from higher quality machines.
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