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The Secret to Brewing A Great Cup of Coffee
The secret of a good cup of coffee lies in respect for the machine and the bean. That is to say you need to start with good coffee, absolutely fresh pure water, and a scrupulously clean coffeemaker and then drink what you brew.
It is so simple that it is amazing that there is so much terrible coffee around. But there is. Trust me, I know. I am a total coffee freak. I need at least one cup of coffee in the morning in order to even begin to function. Two is better.
And I don't just want coffee. I want good coffee not instant or left over and heated up. I cannot bear those awful little packets of instant served up in motel rooms or the viscous blend that is poured out of the Bunn coffee pot at the local greasy spoon....It tastes about as appealing as used motor oil, and is usually just about as hot.
Instructions for Perfect Coffee
There are those who swear by percolator coffee, those who like their Java filtered and dripped ,and those who prefer the French Press. Good coffee can be made by every method. The important thing is to keep the machine clean as a whistle. Coffee exudes oils and these must be washed completely away each time the pot is used. That's one reason why I like to use an old fashioned Melitta manual drip pot with an easy to clean cone .
There are fancy expensive electric brewers that can be preset at night to automatically grind the beans and brew the coffee at what ever hour of the morning you want. They are wonderful, but a little scary and a pain to keep clean. Purists say that grinding the beans the night before is a no no. You grind just before you use and not a moment sooner. I wouldn't know but I suspect they have something. Thus most programmable coffeemakers which call for you to grind the beans and fill with water before you go to bed, and preset the thing to brew your coffee the next morning, are out of the question.
Call me a curmudge, but I like the ritual of pouring the beans into the grinder, grinding them, fitting the paper filter into the cone, pouring in the coffee and then the boiling water. It is part of waking up for me. It just feels right.I wouldn't want a machine to do it for me either the night before or in the morning. So there.
OK, so you have your perfectly clean pot of choice. Now you need premium coffee beans. Don't stint here. Buy good coffee and don't mess with flavored coffees. No Vanilla or Hazelnut please. Flavored coffees tend to be made from lesser beans with the flavor masking the inadequacies. Get decent whole bean coffee and keep it in a vacuum sealed canister. Do not, repeat do not, store it in the freezer or refrigerator. This will destroy the oils in the beans and ruin the perfect taste of your coffee. You don't have to go all gourmet to get good coffee, by the way.
Like wine, coffee differs in taste depending on where it is grown and what the conditions are. The kind of bean, the location and conditions and the roasting all make a difference. You can try light, medium and dark roasts and see what works best for you. Usually the roast and a description of the coffee and it's taste will be on the package.
Experiment with beans. Your local supermarket will have a variety of premium brands of whole bean coffee. The good old Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company is still churning out Eight O'Clock coffee, one of my favorites, as it has for over one hundred years. Check the link to their website to see which supermarket in your area carries it. Both the quality and the price are excellent.
The last, and perhaps most important, ingredient is the water. Use filtered water. Municipal water in most places is full of chlorine and a lot of other impurities, including chemicals and heavy metal traces. Well water is often hard and full of minerals which will affect taste. Use a charcoal filter to filter your tap water whether it is from a municipal source or your own well, or use bottled water for your coffee. It makes a difference. It really does.
With the perfect ingredients, it is possible to make a perfect cup of coffee even without a coffee maker. You can do it in a saucepan. It's called boiled coffee and it's how they did it back in the day on the farm when nobody had ever heard of a coffeemaker: certainly not one that could be programmed the night before to grind and brew the morning coffee. Here's how it's made.
Put several cups of water in a saucepan. Add several tablespoons of freshly ground coffee. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Let it boil gently for five to ten minutes, depending on how strong you like your coffee, strain through a cloth strainer and enjoy.
Coffee Is Good and Good For You
So now you know how to make the perfect cup of coffee. For years they said that coffee was bad for you and I felt guilty about loving it so, but now things have changed. Coffee has been rehabilitated. It is good for us. It helps older people stave off memory loss, helps students concentrate and recent studies have shown that coffee evidently lowers your risk for diabetes and colon cancer, enhances your mood and even may cause you to get fewer cavities in your teeth.
According to WebMD.com
"Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more healthful than it is harmful," says Tomas DePaulis, PhD, research scientist at Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies, which conducts its own medical research and tracks coffee studies from around the world. "For most people, very little bad comes from drinking it, but a lot of good."
How times change. Seems like only yesterday they were telling us how bad coffee was for us. Never mind. I don't care. My limit these days is three or four cups in a day and I can't handle coffee at night anymore-- but morning just wouldn't be the same without it. I'm glad the research now says coffee is good and I'm even gladder that I know the secret of a really good cup of coffee and now, if you've read this far, so do you. So drink up and pass me the cream would you? I like just a splash in my morning brew.