A Pressing Issue: Coffee
So many Americans drink it, but so few make it properly. There is a Mr. Coffee in just about every home and it makes me shake to the bone. Where there is evidence of a Mr. Coffee, awful coffee is sure to follow. There are four sins with this brewing technique:
- The beans
- The water
- The grind
- The filters
The first sin against coffee starts in the store. Many people buy Folgers and Maxwell House both of which are rancid to the last drop. Both of these ubiquitous brands use the cheapest beans possible and are ground god only knows how long ago. Grinding coffee in a factory sets the sails for Stale Town long before you get the coffee home.
Additionally, people do not treat their beans with respect. They like to be cool, in the dark and away from moisture! The Mr. Coffees of the world think nothing of leaving a bag of coffee exposed to the elements in their pantry. Nasty.
The second sin comes with the water. Many people get their water from wells, and wells by nature have many impurities and minerals that can alter the taste of your coffee. It’s like drinking pennies.
Rule of thumb: if you do not want a mineral, taste, or odor in your water: you do not want it in your coffee. Use filtered water! You can use a carbon filter, or buy bottled, it doesn’t matter just STOP USING TAP WATER.
Every brewing technique has a different grind coarseness. Espresso has a very fine grind, and a coffee press (cafetière) has a very coarse grind. Pre-ground coffee falls in the mid-grind range, which allows for faster extraction. This is all fine and dandy, but there isn’t enough time for the coffee to properly steep. Again, nasty.
This can make the coffee bitter and flavorless. You wouldn’t pour water through a teabag, would you?
Sin four: Paper filters will be the death of a good cup of coffee, even if you followed the aforementioned steps. A paper filter pulls all the oils out of the coffee, and it adds a chemical residue and ‘papery’ taste to it. Those oils are what brings a spark to your cup; they have a rich and nutty flavor, making your cup more dynamic.
If you insist on using a Mr. Coffee, switch to a “gold cone” or another mesh filter.
Now that you know your sins: atone!
Throw out that machine and buy a coffee press. They are cheap, cleaner, and make a great cup of coffee! Next, buy a burr grinder and a scale. Do not buy a blade grinder! They create an inconsistent grind, which is bad news for good coffee. Lastly, never forget the four sins against coffee and you will be well on your way to a great cup!
Now, I can tell you all the “proper” measurements, but in reality, you need to find what works for your taste.
What they say: 250 ML of water to 8 grams of coffee.
What I do:
270 ML of water to 25 grams of coffee ground at a fairly coarse grind. I keep it on the finer side because I want it stronger and I like the ‘mud’ at the bottom of my cup.
- Boil your water
- Pour the water over the grinds
- Put the top on the cafetière
- Let the coffee steep for 3-5 minutes.
Next, aerate with a wooden spoon (not metal), or carefully swirl the cafetière. Then, press!
Lastly, pour and enjoy!
Note the difference: the coffee is more complex, bolder, and has a helluva lot more flavor.