8 Important Steps For Brewing Great Coffee

You can improve your coffee by following as many of these steps as practical. The steps are not arranged in any particular order of importance, as they are all important. For those on a budget, we suggest first following the "most inexpensive steps (like uh....free!).

1.) Water Quality - A cup of coffee contains about 98.5% water. If you don't drink your water right out of the tap, don't use it to make coffee with! There are many opinions on the subject of whether filtered, reverse-osmosis (RO), or water run through softeners is acceptable or not. Reasons given for not using RO or distilled water is that the coffee molecules need to "have other molecules to adhere to" (simply put). Our opinion is that if the water tastes good and clean by itself, it will make good coffee. So in the end, we recommend mineral, filtered, or R-O water. We have also used softened water and noted nothing objectionable in the cup. If you want the very best choice, use mineral water.

2.) Grind the coffee right before using it. As you've probably read, coffee will de-gas for a period of 24 hours or so after roasting. Immediately after grinding the beans, the coffee will de-gas even more, giving off it's remaining protective C02. Coffee will tend to become noticeably stale after just a few minutes after grinding it. This is the simplest, cheapest way to improve your coffee. If you don't own at least a blade grinder, get one, they're cheap!

3.) Use a burr grinder for grinding. Whether you're grinding for espresso orFrench-press (press-pot), a burr grinder will make a big difference in the taste of your coffee. The reason for this is that a burr grinder creates a more uniform coffee particle size than a blade grinder. A blade grinder literally smashes the coffee beans into many different sizes of granules. The high-speed spinning blade also imparts heat to the bean resulting in "instant staling" and a bitter cup. Proper brewing extraction requires uniform particles, otherwise you'll wind up with a mixture of over and under extracted coffee. Also remember this; just because brewing methods such as press-pot use a coarser grind, does not mean it's okay to scrimp on the quality of the grind. Here is a link to one of our low-cost grinders. It will not work for espresso, but will make a big difference in your coffee's taste for other brewing methods. For a good espresso grinder, click here. Drip brewing is certainly the most forgiving of all brewing methods. Because of this, a blade grinder is an acceptable form of grinding. If "best quality" coffee is the goal, you might want to try a French-Press, or look into getting a home espresso machine.

4.) Buy your coffee from The Lost Dutchman Coffee Co.Whether you buy our green or roasted coffee, it will always be of superb quality. Guaranteed.

5.) Use the correct grind and amount for the brewer and brewing method used. Assuming you follow step 3 (above) or equivalent, if the coffee tastes bitter and makes the sides of your mouth curl up, the grind may be too fine or too much coffee may have been used causing over-extraction of the coffee due to longer contact period with the water passing through it. If the brew tastes weak and watery, the grind may be too coarse or not enough coffee used in the brewing process.

6.) Make sure brewing equipment is clean, Clean, CLEAN! Nothing more needs to be said here. Our Urnex brand cleaners will help you keep your equipment clean.

7.) Use correct amount of coffee when brewing. A general rule of thumb is to start with 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 oz cup. Adjust concentration to suit individual tastes. Up to 3 tablespoons of grounds per 6 oz cup is not uncommon.

8. ) Use white filter papers for filter-brewers. The use of dioxin, a carcinogen, has not been used for whitening since the 1980s. The use of brown "unbleached" papers tends to impart a rather cardboardy or "baggy" taste to the coffee and may contain some undesirable chemicals of their own, including tars. Some people like using the gold-mesh filters that often come with drip brewers. While they won't filter out the oils that help create an intense cup (that's a good thing), they tend to let fine particles pass through, which ultimately may wind up in the bottom of your cup. This is another good reason to use a burr grinder that will grind the particles coarse enough so they don't pass through the mesh filter.

9.) Roast your own green coffee beans. Besides ensuring fresh coffee, home-roasting permits the coffee-lover to roast to their personal desired roast level. Not only that, but you can experiment with creating your own blends, or even a "melange" (coffee beans roasted to different levels of darkness).

Happy Brewing!

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