The Perfect Cup of Coffee

Coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, OR

Some of you have asked me how to make the perfect cup of coffee.  I’m here to tell you that it’s not rocket science, but it does involve a few key factors.  Thanks to my friends Anton & Luke who founded Smoltz Roasters in Mississippi I learned the best way to get the best home brew possible.

Anton & Luke of Smotlz Roasters (This photo: http://www.smoltzroasters.info)

Beans

First, you should always buy whole beans.  The BA Foodist in this month’s Bon Appetit recommends buying ethically sourced and artisanal roasted beans with a ‘roasted on’ date and only buying what you will use during the week.

Storing

Second, you should NOT store your beans in the freezer.  Anton & Luke informed me when they saw my cheap $10 3lb bag of Costco ground coffee in the freezer that this was exactly the opposite of what I should be doing.  Beans or grinds stored in the freezer can absorb flavors of the various foods in your freezer, which in my case included fish (eek!), beef, chicken, and indian masala veggie patties.  Gross.

Freshness

Third, you should always grind your coffee with a burr grinder just before use.  Anton & Luke informed me of the ‘Rule of the 15’s’, which is that green coffee lasts 15 months, roasted coffee lasts 15 days, and ground coffee goes stale after 15 minutes!  This was a rude awakening for my sad bag of pre-ground coffee that had been sitting in my freezer for 3 months.  It also made me realize that even grinding coffee before bed and setting the auto-drip maker on a timer for the morning was always going to produce stale coffee.

Grinders

My burr grinder

The other piece to this is that in order to get the most even grind in your coffee beans and thus the most even taste you should use a burr grinder.  Anyone who has watched a blade grinder has seen the way the beans jump around before they hit the blade, which results in an uneven grind.  I use the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grinder.

Brewing

For the best results you should use a French press.  Unlike a drip coffee maker, the French press allows the flavor and oils of the beans to stay in direct contact with the brewing water rather than be trapped in a paper filter. Also, unless you are making over 8 cups of coffee, an autodrip coffee maker is not going to have time to heat up the water enough to properly extract the flavors from the beans.

Water

Lastly, the water that you use should always be filtered for the most pure taste.

Proportions

This is stated on most bags of coffee but for the best taste I use 2 tbsp of ground coffee per 6 oz of water.

Sounds a little more involved than it actually is, but once you have it down you’ll be on your way to a great home brew.

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5 responses to “The Perfect Cup of Coffee

  1. Yay!! Now I can make coffee that I enjoy drinking… rather than just to crack me out for insane studying. Thanks for posting this!! 🙂

  2. I’m all for a great cup of jo. Considering I can”t even spell before I have one. That looks like an amazing grinder. Thanks for the post. B

  3. I find myself coming back to your web-site only because you have lots of awesome insights and also you happen to be at this a while, which is very impressive and tells me you know your stuff.

  4. Good!!! Bookmarked this page that has this amazing content. Will come back to see if there are any updates. You, the author, are a master. Thanks

  5. Brilliant article bro. This unique is just a totally nicely structured posting, just the important information I was hunting regarding. Cheers

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