Introduction: How to Make the Best Coffee Period!

I'm not a foodie, but I love good coffee, and I can never get it better than I can make it. I feel, I have a no nonsense method which doesn't cut corners but is still quick, easy, and less expensive than buying an inferior cup at Starbucks or Dinky Donuts. So, let's make coffee. I could use one right about now!

Step 1: Start With Good French Roast

I use a fair traded french roast bean. This is about 10$ a pound. Cheap compared to buying individual cups. Notice the dark color and, here's what's important, it actually looks and feels sticky and oily.

Step 2: Grind Fine

The finer the grind the better the flavor. An auto drip pot with a gold filter will do a good job on sediment.

Step 3: I Think This Is a Table Spoon

It doesn't say. It's a coffee scoop. I make my scoops heaping. I err to the side of more grounds. Something a Keurig machine is pretty stingy about.

Step 4: "Gold" Filter

I don't think it's really gold, but it filters beautifully, and doesn't involve throwing away a sopping paper doily filled with hot, wet, spent grounds each time. You can compost spent grounds, btw.

Step 5: One Scoop for Five Ounces of Water

Plus one extra scoop at the end! Be generous.

I love the water from my well in the woods. Cold and clean. So much better than NYC tap. I can taste the difference at my parents place when I follow the same recipe. Water makes a difference. We do leave the pot setup at night and just hit power in the morning. So, room temperature H2O is OK.

Step 6: Auto Drip

I like this Bona Vita because it doesn't have an annoying unset blinking clock. I really like how easy automatic drip makes everything. It pours hot, slow and methodically while I put on long underwear, etc.

Step 7: Thermal Carafe

This is GIGANTIC. Use thermal energy to keep coffee hot ALL DAY. (I'll show you my travel mug in a second). Heating elements kill coffee in minutes. They're what gave auto drip machines a bad name.

Step 8: I Love the Cap on This Carafe

Complete seal. Easy Pour.

Step 9: I Use a Thermal Travel Mug

Screw on cap is idiot proof. This product has fallen off my Suburu multiple times and not spilled. Grande size stays hot AND FRESH all day. (Unless I finish it by 9:00 AM!)

Step 10: But Nothing Beats a Nice Pottery Mug

It tastes better when you're not drinking out of metal or paper. This one was made by my friends from Z-Pots in beautiful Brookline, VT.

Step 11: Can't See Bottom

Needless to say.

Step 12: Accutriments (Pollutants)

Coffee snobs call these things pollutants but I like organic half and half. Stacia like's this Turbinado sugar. Normal half and half and sugar won't hurt the taste. There's one kind of half and half that goes bad quickly, though. Beware of the kinds that come in plastic containers.

Step 13: Color Is Important

Light brown color shows me that it's to my taste!

Step 14: Yup, It's Good

Not too difficult. I have saved time and still had great success, grinding a pound at a time on the big grinders at the coop. I'll use it quickly though. Coffee stores well in the freezer for longer terms. You can buy french roast beans in the bulk section of any good supermarket.

Most important is the dark and oily quality of the bean, the fineness of the grounds, a high ratio of grounds to water, and thermal storage.

Let me know that this is the best instructable ever at dseiden@gradschool.marlboro.edu

Comments

author
MikeB22 (author)2015-03-23

How about a cup of Joe? It's true Dan, home brewed cannot be replicated. Why even the days when I used a beaker, filter, and laboratory funnel beat any stuff out there now. And how about those great "pour-overs" from the 'Bucks...(total dirty water and no flavor...but that's another story.) Good work on the basics of home coffee......nice clear photos....think I need to make some home brewed right now..... Mike B.

author
eckyeckypikang (author)2015-03-22

French press. All day, every day. Yes it takes more effort & attention... yes it depends on a number of variables to produce the best cup of coffee... but once you make it a habit, there's nothing better. No piece of ecologically insane technology will ever replicate the quality you get when you take your time and pay attention to the basics.

Quality bean
Quality roast
The right grind
Clean water
Temperature
Proper water to coffee ratio
Proper steep time

After about 3 months I stopped even noticing the time it takes. 5 years later I can do it in my sleep. And nobody else can touch the coffee I make...

Try it and really take the time to get used to it.

author
dseiden (author)eckyeckypikang2015-03-23

Yes, Sir Knight who formerly said "nih". I believe there are people with more gifted palettes than me but this is a common sense approach that I think makes a high quality cup. No fine dining establishment I've been to ever has beaten my cup (for me). Every time I mess with a french press I end up drinking clay. Any pointers on it's use would be appreciated. I've heard that it's the choice of the top brewers but my results have been poor.

author
K0JEG (author)2015-03-23

Most drip coffeemakers don't get the water hot enough for ideal, efficient brewing. The water temp should be slightly below boiling (200 deg F). I use a Bunn maker that heats up the water in a reservoir so it's always hot (use a timer to shut it down when not in use), then when you want coffee you pour new water in the top and it pushes out the hot through the drip plumbing.

But you don't need to go through all that. For years I used a Melitta cone drip maker that did just fine. Just pay attention to the water temp. Either way, you'll use much less coffee and get a better brew.

author
caitlinsdad (author)2015-03-22

Hmmm, I wonder who calls 5 oz a cup of coffee? The water reservoir should be able to hold a gallon of water. My mug holds 16 oz.

The first time I had a cup of coffee made with a French Press brewer, I could swear I was drinking a cup of hot chocolate.

author
dseiden (author)caitlinsdad2015-03-22

Hey, Thanks for the comment. I make 30 oz of water and use seven scoops of coffee. This makes two travel mugs plus a little.

I haven't had great success with a french press. Hot chocolate as in good or as in thick?

author
caitlinsdad (author)dseiden2015-03-22

Keurigs are just a marketing gimmick. My $10 paper filter drip coffee maker makes a better cup of coffee than that.

I had a small glass Bodum french press from a gift. It was too messy to clean up so I stopped using it. It does extract the best flavors and doesn't filter out the essential oils or the body of the brew. I think I had a batch of some good beans I ground up in the blender that were real chocolately in flavor. I would be leery of thick coffee. I am not an espresso person.

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