Making show stopping coffee doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. But just like anything else, the more time and care you put into the process, the better the final product will be. It’s a pretty simple formula:
[The Right Beans + The Perfect Grind + The Precise Ratio + A Warm Mug = Java Nirvana]
We’re not asking you to drop a stack of cash on a new coffee maker. But with just a few simple, cheap upgrades—you can turn your automatic drip warhorse into a lean, mean, café quality, coffee makin’ machine. And the best part—you can enjoy the fruits of your labor right at home, in your horrible Star Wars pajamas. Or if you were wearing those Star Wars PJs to the café anyways, you can definitely enjoy that coffee with considerably less shame. Either way, we’d have to say that’s a win.
Let’s get to it!
Freshly Roasted & Whole.
This probably shouldn’t come as a huge shock, but the coffee you brew with has a pretty big effect on the cup of coffee you’ll be drinking. And it’s not just the beans themselves, however, we always recommend buying the best beans your budget allows for. Yet, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, things you can do to improve your coffee game is to make sure whatever beans you choose are freshly roasted and whole bean. So unless you’re buying your beans from a company who you can be certain is roasting and packing them fresh (*ahem* Six Shooter, cough, cough), you’d do well to pass on those big bags at the grocery store. And here’s the truth Big Coffee doesn’t want you to know—OK, it’s not really a conspiracy—but those bags of roasted coffee on the shelves can be two or three months old. Not a good foundation for a good cup of coffee.
On Demand & Consistent.
Beans lose flavor pretty much the minute they’re ground. Actually, you have about 30 minutes, so don’t freak out. But anymore time than that, and you’re just wasting flavor, and I’m sure there’s plenty of people around the world who’d be glad to have your flavor. Smh. Beyond being freshly ground, your beans need to be ground consistently. And in the case of coffee beans, consistency means the same particle size. Uneven, or inconsistent grinding gets you variation in your grind size, variation gets you over extracted, bitter coffee. The only way to reliably get that perfect grind is by using a Burr grinding mill. These machines basically grind circles around the standard blade models and are available in manual or automatic models, with many manual mill models being priced under that $20 dollar sweet spot.
Toss it in the garbage.
Here’s a scoop for you coffee heads, it’s time to ditch the scoop. For the best results, you need to be measuring your coffee by weight, not volume. It’s not a big investment, but it’s a very easy way to increase your coffee brewing consistency, and ultimately yield yourself a better cup. A general purpose, digital kitchen scale will more than do the job here. The “golden ratio” for coffee brewing is 1:20. And for all my ratio heads out there, that’s one part coffee to 20 parts water (aka 7.5g coffee to 150 ml water). And you guessed it, that spoon sitting in your drawer, that may or may not even be a teaspoon, isn’t going to cut it. Plus having a scale around the house is good for you know, weighing other stuff.
Skip the sink, go filtered instead.
Tap water? Seriously? Ugh, stop being so basic. Water from your faucet is likely full of minerals, minerals which will cause the coffee not bond with the water, leading to a weak as hell cup of coffee. So what can you do? Simple. Use better water. A very easy way to do this is by lightly filtering your water, such as through a water filter pitcher or even just from your fridge’s water dispenser. But be careful with using overly filtered water. While it’s better than straight up tap water, its lack of ions can lead to over extraction. Plus, in the long run, it’s not great for your coffee machine because it can cause excess wear and tear.
Can you feel the heat?
Last but not least, how you drink your coffee matters, too. So whatever vessel you choose to carry the perfect coffee you just made, make sure you do yourself a favor and warm it up first. There’s two great reasons to do this, besides that cozy feeling you get with a warm mug in your hand. Ohhh, wrap me up in a blanket, and let’s binge some flix, baby. Seriously though—a warm mug, tumbler, or thermos, will keep your coffee hotter, longer. This is because the heat from the coffee won’t be transferred to the cold mug. Secondly, pouring hot coffee into a cold mug “shocks” your coffee, and on top of making it lukewarm, it can also make it bitter. Simply pour hot or boiling water into your cup and let it sit for at least a minute before use. The water doesn’t have to be boiling, in fact, hot water from your sink will do the trick just fine. So don’t get bitter, get better—coffee that is.
Adding any one of these coffee hacks to your daily routine will certainly net you some serious coffee gains. But adding all five—well now, that’s the stuff legends.