The beauty of coffee is that it's a no-bar-to-entry sport: You'e got options on how to make it! And our favorite coffee-making tips and gadgets are here to show you the way.
Pick—and store—your beans.
- We're all about strong food foundations here at Food52, and coffee is no exception: Great coffee starts with great beans. But we use them as more than just morning pick-me-ups: Here are a bunch of other great uses for your grounds.
Left: The beans we use for our office coffee. Right: A sampler of single-origin blends from Driftaway Coffee.
- Resist the urge to freeze or refrigerate your coffee: The drastic changes in temperature can rob you of subtle aromas and flavors. (It will, however, ensure that your beans grind evenly—if that matters to you!) Instead, store in pretty, airtight containers, safely set away from heat and humidity. You can also store it in its orginal bag; just make sure it's sealed shut.
- Weigh it out. Different beans have different densities, so a scale is the best way to guard against the crushing disappointment of weak coffee.
Left: Our favorite wooden-topped Mason jars, for storing beans (and everything). Right: A scale that you can depend on.
Keep things fresh.
- Grind it yourself. While the ease of pre-ground coffee is tempting, the effort of grinding your own is well worth the payoff—both in slight arm muscle toning and a fresher, more flavorful cup. If you really can't see yourself cranking your own, pick up this electric option. Just don't forget to clean it properly when you're done!
- If you want your coffee hot, remember to keep your water temperature below boiling to avoid scorching it.
Left: The cutest hand-cranked coffee bean grinder in all the land. Right: The kettle for your pour over dreams.
Choose your method, then master it.
- For warmer days, make your own cold brew—here's how we do it. (We also, sometimes, rely on these handy cold brew bags.) Once you've got your technique down, try making your cold brew into a float or a cocktail.
Left: An ingenious cold brewer that makes it while you sleep. Right: Lidded, easy-remove ice cube trays.
- Whatever your method, make sure you're doing it right. Master your aeropress, get your pourover just right, perfect your Chemex technique, or become a French Press pro. If you're using a filter, rinse it first. You'll get less paper on your palate and more coffee.
- For hot coffee, remember to heat up all your equipment before you brew. Bonus points for a pre-warmed mug.
Now that you have the perfect cup:
- When the coffee's this good, you don't want to dilute it with anything but the best. Make your own coffee creamer and almond milk, and add some tonic or syrups for added flavor and depth. If you're really feeling adventurous, spike it with cardamom or ladle in a cup of lemonade!
- Have leftover coffee? You're in luck; it's the perfect secret weapon in the kitchen! Brine your chicken in it. Add it to your cheesecake. The possibilities are endless—here's nine more ideas!—especially when you're caffeinated.
This article originally ran two summers ago, but we've beefed it up with tools and new tips so your coffee mugs stay happy.
Have you perfected your coffee technique? Tell us all about it in the comments!