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Hey folks! I’m 70 years old and so saying I’m a “long time” coffee drinker is an understatement. I’m obsessed with good coffee, and its just gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. Luckily, my OCD has resulted in some great tips and tricks I can share with you.
I’ve got a few little “tools” that have helped me out immensely on my quest to make the perfect cup of coffee at home, which I should tell you about. I have these items in my kitchen and they give me the best results.
On the left here we have the Conair Cuisinart Brew Central DCC-1200 12 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker, which is practically my best friend when it comes to making coffee at home.
I looked long and hard for the best coffee maker out there, and after a few missteps, I came across this machine and I haven’t looked back since. Turns out that most people agree with me as it has thousands of reviews on online saying the same thing.
I’m not going to go into all the specifics about why this particular coffee maker is my favorite (read a full review on it here), but, suffice it to say, you will need a coffee maker or brewing method of some kind if you’re going to be brewing at home and this one is the one for me – it really helps when it comes to making the perfect cup of coffee in my house.
You can get this machine right now for about $80, and based on the value for the price, I have to say its my top choice. That said, it isn’t all there is to making that perfect cup of coffee!
You’ll also need some excellent whole beans, and a good quality burr grinder. Having your own coffee grinder is key in my opinion. No grinder? No superb cup of coffee, my friend. Why? Because there’s nothing like grinding the beans fresh out of the bag, to get the best taste. I could put it in more scientific terms, but that’s the gist of it.
For the beans, I go with Kicking Horse, which makes for a nice, strong brew. Again, it’s a popular brand that you can’t really go wrong with if you’re just starting out. You can try out different beans, of course. Everyone has their preference.
So about that coffee grinder…there’s so many options and they can get really expensive as in hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, so my recommendation here is to get something that isn’t too expensive, but is guaranteed to give you good results.
The Capresso Infinity would be my choice if you’re looking for a coffee grinder that ticks off all the boxes for what makes a coffee grinder great.
First, its a burr grinder, and that’s something that really factors into making the best possible cup of coffee. Its got a lot of great features, and its not too expensive either.
Making That “Perfect Cup”
I basically look at five main factors to get my perfect cup, and here they are.
#1 – The Water
A cup of coffee is 98% water so the water you use better taste good to begin with from the tap or the coffee taste will be a flop. Filtered water is the answer. You need something that will remove the chlorine and the calcium at least. I was in luck. My coffee maker had a filter built into it that did just that.
Water isn’t something that a lot of people think about when it comes to coffee, for some reason. I guess its just easy to overlook it. If you don’t use that particular coffee maker, another easy option would be a good old Brita filter, or you can go all out and install something under your sink like an RO filter. Probably overkill just for a good cup of coffee but then again if you are using brown tap water to make your coffee, what hope to you have for ever making a decent cup?
#2 – Grind Freshness
Yes, of course the water we use is important but the coffee beans supply the flavor and that’s what its all about, really. Grinding coffee beans fresh is the most important thing on this list. No fresh ground beans, no awesome flavor. I’ll say it again and again.
If you buy beans and let the air get at them, they’re going to lose freshness quickly. Generally, most people who grind their own beans still tend to have beans or grinds left over after they brew their coffee. No one buys just enough coffee beans for one pot at a time. That’s just crazy. So once you grind those beans, and you have left overs, they need to stay fresh, which is where a coffee vault comes into play. If its airtight, that’s perfect – just what you’ll need!
I recommend the Friis coffee vault, because its what I use and it does a great job keeping spare grinds or beans fresh after they get exposed to the oxygen in the air and then they’re still fresh for the next time.
#3 – Grind Size
Making the perfect cup of coffee that will blow people away with how great it is isn’t the easiest thing to do. It takes practice. How you grind those beans is critical to that perfect cup.
If the coffee is ground too fine for the brew method you’re using, it can make the coffee too bitter. If the coffee beans are ground too coarse, the water will just pass by the beans and no flavor! You need to match the brewing method you’re using (French Press, drip, espresso) to the grind size (coarse, medium, fine).
Here’s a great article teaching how to grind for the perfect cup of coffee, depending on your brewing method. This will take practice, but it doesn’t take long to see (taste) the improvements. As I mentioned, I’m a 70-year-old guy, so I’ll be the first to tell you that life ain’t easy, pilgrim!
#4 – The Proportion Of Coffee Grinds To Water
I have to be very precise and add the amount of coffee that corresponds to the number of cups I want to make. Many coffee baristas recommend 2 rounded tablespoons (25 ml) of coffee grounds to every cup of 6 ounces (175 ml) of water.
Well, I played around with that ratio until my coffee tasted the best for me. I use the RSVP scoop shown above which is just a great little product and helps me get the ratio right. I also read this article on how to measure out your coffee scoops, which really helped.
#5 – The Flavor
There are over 130 types of gourmet coffee flavors available. Often times you can get them in pod form to go along with a single serve coffee maker of some sort, but I think that defeats the whole purpose of this article, which is about doing the grinding and brewing yourself.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t try some tasty flavors of beans. Maybe you would fancy Cupid’s Kiss or Vienna Strudel. I wasn’t that fussy at first, but now I must tell you I’m quite picky, and I often look at where the coffee is coming from and I buy things based on the part of the world the bean comes from, and even down to a few specific farms that I like. I’m not so hung up on the “flavored” coffees anymore.
Speaking of flavor, have a look at this flavor wheel to get an idea what kinds of flavors you might come across when drinking your perfect cup of home brewed coffee.
The way I drink coffee now, I feel like I’ve come so far in terms of “refining my palette”, as they say. Now that my tastebuds have the ability to detect quality and a wide range of flavors, there’s really no going back.
When exploring the flavors of various coffees with different origins, I basically took a trip around the world to try the different beans, from Peru, to Ethiopia, to Jamaica, and the list goes on and on. Different beans from different regions certainly don’t taste the same, I can tell you that! I recommend doing the same if you want to become a true coffee expert!
Here are some general tips for what you’ll taste in certain beans from around the world …
Sumatran coffee – bold and earthy
Yemeni – heavy floral
Guatemalen coffee – bold, heavy, spicy
Colombia Excelso – rich, balanced, full
Malawi – smokey
If you want even more of an education, watch this…
I am just one coffee-drinking man, so how can I have all the answers? Still, I hope you found something of interest in this article, and it helps you in some way along your journey to create the perfect cup of coffee at home! Good luck, and thanks for reading.