Even a drip coffee machine can brew a cup with an artisanal flavour. There are several techniques that can quickly improve the essence of your coffee, no matter how fancy (or basic) your coffee machine is.
Here are 7 tips for making your drip coffee taste a whole lot better.
- Buy fresh, whole bean coffee
A cup of coffee is only as good as the beans you start with.
If you’re buying bags of preground coffee, you’re making it wrong. Instead, start with fresh, whole beans. There’s a reason most coffee companies don’t give the date for when the coffee was roasted; the stuff you find on the shelf in the supermarket has probably been there for months. Coffee reaches its peak flavour just days after it has been roasted and should be consumed within a month of its roast date. To find fresh coffee, check local coffee stores. Some roast on the spot or source from local roasters who roast in smaller batches, which typically means fresher coffee.
- Properly store beans
To keep the coffee, you buy fresh for more lasting, make sure you’re storing it properly. While a vacuum sealed container with a one-way valve is recommended by many, a standard Mason jar will suffice for most people.
- How and when you grind matters
Grind your coffee immediately before brewing for maximum flavour.
Experts say coffee begins to lose its flavour within 30 minutes of being ground. This being the case, it’s best to grind on the spot, just before brewing a pot.
Grind size and consistency matter quite a bit, as well. Grind too coarse and you will have a weak pot of coffee. Grind too fine and you will over-extract the coffee and it will taste bitter. Most drip coffee makers call for a medium to medium-fine grind.
- The right way to measure your coffee
Measure coffee by weight instead of volume.
Making better coffee is all about eliminating variables, and one way to do that is to use the same number of coffee per unit of water each time you brew. Using a digital scale to measure takes just a second and lets you to better compare how much coffee and water is used each time.
- Pre-infuse your grounds
Chances are, your drip coffee maker skips a crucial step.
Most automatic coffee makers don’t properly prepare the coffee grounds for full extraction. Manual pour-over cones call for a preinfusion or the so-called “bloom.”
To pre-infuse your coffee, insert a filter into the hopper and add your coffee grounds. Then use a kettle to preheat roughly 50 millilitres or quarter-cup of water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Slowly pour the heated water over the grounds, making sure to thoroughly wet all of them. Let this sit for approximately 45 seconds before starting the coffee maker.
- Brew at the right temperature
Many automatic drip machines don’t reach optimal brewing temperature.
Another step many automatic coffee makers skip is reaching optimal temperature. The desired brew temperature for drip coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Newer, high-end models sometimes have a manual temperature adjustment, but older, cheaper makers do not.
To make sure your coffee maker gets hot enough, run it without any coffee in the hopper and use a thermometer to measure the temperature.
- Use the right water
The quality of the water you use is another often overlooked aspect of brewing coffee. Using hard water that’s full of minerals won’t bond well with the dissolved particulates from the coffee, leading to an under-extracted, weak coffee. Not only that, this higher mineral content is what also leads to buildups in your coffee maker, such as lime deposits. This will require you to descale your coffee maker more often.
You want water that’s roughly in the middle of the spectrum, with a mineral balance of approximately 150 parts per million. You can achieve ideal water for your coffee brewing by using distilled water and adding capsules from Third Wave Water, but for the casual drinker, lightly filtered water will suffice.
Cool veg cheese sandwiches slightly and halves them.