The 3 essentials to incredible, homemade coffee.

coffee mug

Coffee. Personalized. Gourmet.

Those who simply use a drip coffee machine have yet to experience the grandeur of gourmet, homemade coffee. Spice up your life by trying some of these especially gourmet ways of making your coffee spectacular. Don’t settle for mediocrity.

3 Essentials to incredible, homemade coffee:

1. Beans

To have the best, you must buy them fresh and you must buy them whole. Companies like Intelligentsia, Stumptown and Counter Culture are the newest stage of high quality, coffee shops. Unlike Starbucks coffee, which is roasted dark (almost burnt), these places tend to roast on the medium to lighter side to let the coffee’s real flavor come through. “Roasting super dark is a good way to hide what’s going on with the bean (good or bad).”

2. Grinding

If you care about coffee, you have to grind the beans right before you make it. “As soon as they’re ground, the oils inside the beans are exposed to air, and the thousand different flavor compounds inside start dying.”

The experts at Intelligentcia (which offers coffee classes) say that the biggest thing to change your coffee world is by purchasing a good grinder. A high quality Burr grinder is best—yet these are hardly cheap, running from $50-200. Quality comes at a cost. You want one that’s efficient and can grind slowly; otherwise you’re introducing friction and heat that corrupts the coffee.

3. Brewing Process Options

  • Chemex
    • Besides the $35 Chemex pot, you need Chemex brand paper filters (no, the cheap filters won’t work.) A Chemex pot is one of the simplest ways to brew coffee.
    • You put a paper filter over a carafe, dump in coffee grounds, and pour water over it. There is an art to it, however. 200 degrees is a good fail-safe temperature to brew it, though you can experiment by varying the temperature
  • French Press
    • The French press, while low tech like the Chemex, produces coffee that’s almost “antithetical to the Chemex’s clean profile: It’s got more heft, it’s grittier, it’s a little less defined, but it’s much richer, too.”
    • A solid Bodum press starts at about $30, give or take. The coffee is ground a little coarser here, for bigger particulates.
  • Moka Pot
    • Then there’s the Moka pot. “What makes it special is that it uses steam    pressure to brew coffee, and you make it on your stove, using coffee that’s almost as finely ground as espresso, though not quite. Again, pretty simple idea with a couple of chambers connected by a tube. You’ve got a base chamber, filled with water, into which you stick a funnel-shaped filter filled with coffee.” Start the water boiling and steam pressure will start forcing water through the filter (and the coffee grounds) into the upper chamber.
  • AeroPress
    • We can’t leave out AeroPress, which delivers a super smooth cup of coffee with a superfast brew and extraction time. Plus the apparatus is cheap, under 30 bucks. It’s basically like a giant syringe. Ground coffee (a little finer than drip) is placed in a tube with a paper filter on the bottom, which is placed over whatever you want the coffee to wind up in. After hot water is added and the coffee steeps, a plunger is inserted and pushed down, forcing the brewed coffee through the filter.
  • Drip
    • Contrary to popular opinion, convenience does entail sacrifice in quality when it comes to coffee. 200 degrees is the golden temperature for brewing coffee, and “most drip pots top out at around 180, which isn’t hot enough for a proper extraction. Plus, they probably wet the grinds unevenly, making it worse.”

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