Such Great Taste in Coffee
How to Make Great-Tasting Coffee
Water Quantity and Quality
Beans, Grounds, and Pods
- As a rule of thumb, you should use 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per cup of coffee you’re preparing. Most coffeemakers mark each cup approximately 6 ounces, not the American 8 ounce liquid measure. (Why? A “cup of coffee” is based on the Old English teacup that many hotels and tearooms still use today.)
- Coffee is mostly water, so the quality of the water you use plays a key role in the taste of your coffee. For the best-tasting coffee, you should use filtered tap water or bottled water. Never use distilled water because it’s missing minerals that add to water’s taste and aid in extraction.
- Four things reduce coffee’s freshness: oxygen, moisture, heat, and light. Because less of its surface area is exposed to air, whole bean coffee typically stays fresh longer than ground coffee. Grinding your coffee beans every time you brew can preserve freshness.
- The most common types of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is more expensive and is considered better tasting. However, most coffees are a blend of both coffee varieties because Robusta adds depth to coffee flavor and improves the crema on espresso.
- Taste two or three types of coffee at a time to find the one that appeals to you most. As you experiment, compare each coffee in terms of aroma, body, and acidity. The aroma of coffee will give you the first sense of how it will taste. Body is the weight or thickness of the coffee on your tongue. Acidity is the “tangy quality” of the coffee and it can range from low to high.
- To get the best results, look for coffee beans that were recently roasted and grind them every time you make a pot of coffee. You can also purchase coffee pods that are filled with pre-ground coffee.
- When in doubt about freshness, look for a “use by” date on the package or follow the online recommendations of your coffee brand.
How To Store Coffee
- The coffee filter you select matters as much as the water or type of coffee you brew. Which type of filter you choose is a matter of preference, but in general, you should purchase the best quality that you can afford.
- Paper filters trap more sediment (which some people find bitter) and let you use any type of grind. Permanent filters require a courser grind, allow more coffee oils to pass through, and produce a stronger cup with more body.
- Coffee begins to lose its freshness immediately after it is roasted. Exposure to oxygen, moisture, heat, and light will reduce coffee’s freshness even further. For that reason, most coffee companies advise you to store coffee in an airtight, opaque container and keep it in a dry, cool (not cold) place.
- Coffee can be stored in the refrigerator if precautions are taken, but keep in mind that coffee can take on the aroma of the food around it. Never store coffee in the freezer.
- Test Kitchen Tip: It is better to purchase coffee in smaller quantities or in an amount that is proportionate to how quickly it will be used.