How to CookKitchen Hacks

How to Brew Better Coffee

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Inspired by conversations on the FOOD52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today, we're talking coffee, and how to get a better brew. 

How do you brew your coffee? I use a Chemex (a glass carafe that looks kind of like an Erlenmeyer flask) and Amanda uses a French press. There are practically as many ways to brew coffee -- moka pot, Aeropress, the good old percolator, cold brew, and more -- as there are Starbucks in Manhattan. But no matter how you get your morning cup of joe, there are simple steps you can take to make sure you're getting the most out of your beans.

We asked our friends (and General Assembly office mates) at Craft Coffee for their 5 tips on getting a better brew. Be sure to check out Craft Coffee's 3-month subscription in The Shop!

1. Be Un-Cool

Just when it comes to storing coffee, that is! Don’t freeze or refrigerate your coffee beans. The drastic temperature changes can damage the coffee’s flavors and aromas, and as long as you're brewing coffee regularly, you don't need to worry about storing your beans long-term. This may be a hard habit to break, but trust us, you’ll be doing both your coffee and yourself a favor.

2. Grind Fresh

Sometimes the daily grind isn’t such a bad thing after all. Ground coffee stales quite quickly, so it’s best to grind anew for each brew. The moment you grind, the natural oils in the coffee begin to evaporate. You want to capture that moment! And grinding beans for a pot of coffee doesn't take much longer than bringing your water to a boil. Speaking of which...

3. Go Off-Boil

Brew your coffee using water that’s 195–205°F. Don't worry, there's no need to pull out a thermometer -- once the kettle has boiled, turn it off and wait a minute, just until bubbles stop forming. Boiling water will scorch your coffee, and hey, nobody likes to get burned. On the other hand, water that’s too cool will fail to extract many of the best flavors your coffee has to offer.

4. Give it a Rinse

Paper coffee filters benefit from taking a nice hot bath (don’t we all?). Before you brew, fit the paper filter into your brewer -- whether you use a Chemex, an Aeropress, or a percolator -- and pour hot water through the filter into the brewer to rinse it. Rinsing will both remove the papery taste of the filter and pre-heat your brewer so that it better retains its temperature. Just remember to pour that rinse water out before adding your beans to the wet filter!

5. Try it Black

When you're brewing with really good coffee (whether it's Craft Coffee or anything else) challenge yourself to give it a go without any milk or sugar. We think you’ll be surprised how good your coffee tastes "au naturel" -- we’ve seen some of the most die-hard half-and-half addicts become black coffee converts. It's all in the beans!

Tags: Bean, Coffee, Tips & Techniques, DIY Food, How-To & Diy