Seven Coffee Mistakes You Might Be Making

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If I made a list of the things I love it would have to include, of course, many things geek such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Sci-Fi in general, Apple, Google, Comics, D&D and a whole lot more. Another prominent item on that list would have to be coffee.

In truth, I’m kinda obsessed with it. Not just drinking it but with the whole process of bringing it from bean to cup. I’m also obsessed with getting the best cup of coffee I can at home.

Turns out, there’s others like me.

In fact, one of them has written a list of the seven mistakes people make when preparing coffee at home. Yes, this is a list of bad things you should stop doing so your coffee doesn’t suck.

Here they are (with my notes as applicable):

1. Dirty Equipment: Make sure all parts of the machine have been rinsed thoroughly and no coffee or soap residue remains. (I clean my stuff daily).

2. Old Beans: If you can’t remember when you bought your coffee, it’s time to buy some new beans. Only buy as much as you will consume in 1 to 2 weeks. (I get my beans fresh from these guys, these guys or these guys.)

3. Pre-Ground Coffee: Coffee that has already been ground is more susceptible to oxidation. Grinding your beans as close to brewing as possible ensures freshness. (You’ll need a grinder for that. I use this one).

4. Wrong Size of Grounds: Each brewing method requires a different size of grind. Coffee that has been ground too fine is often bitter, but if ground too coarse it may be weak. Check the machine’s manual to find out which size is ideal. (Again, get your own grinder and RTFM).

5. Wrong Coffee-to-Water Ratio: For every 6 ounces of coffee, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds. Using more, your coffee may be too strong and taste bitter; use less and you’ll end up with watery, weak coffee. (To measure, I use this. Or, you could weigh your ground coffee with one of these).

6. Improper Water Temperature: If the water is too hot, you can scald your coffee, and if it’s too low, the flavors will be mellow. The water should be around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, or just before boiling (water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit). (I use one of these and let it get just to the point of boiling, then I turn it off, wait a few second, then pour).

7. Impure Water: Tap water often contains minerals that can alter the flavor of your coffee. Use bottled spring water or filtered drinking water. (I don’t have a sophisticated walter filtration system at home, yet. I just use Arrowhead drinking water. It seems to work well).

While we’re on the subject, my current preferred method of making coffee at home is the French Press. This one, to be precise.

Yes, it takes a bit of time and you need to clean up a bit after, but it’s so worth it if you do it right. Of course, for the real coffee geek, the next step is to start making espresso at home. I’m going to do that after the move. But that’s a topic for another time.

Until then, go make some great coffee!

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