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Brewing Coffee

It's easy to make a great cup of coffee.


Mexican Coffee

Mexican Coffee | Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Perfect first thing in the morning, as a midday pick-me-up, or capping the evening alongside a sweet dessert, there's never a bad time for a coffee break. Use these tips to get the next pot started!

Easy as One, Two, Three
Once you know the basics, it doesn't take much to brew perfect coffee; as a matter of fact, it only takes three things:

  • Filtered water: the fewer impurities in the water, the less competition for the true flavor of the coffee.
  • Correct proportions: regardless of machine-type, use two tablespoons of grounds per eight ounces of water, and then adjust to your taste from there.
  • The right grind: it differs by machine, but generally the more time coffee grounds spend in contact with water, the courser the grind--and vice versa.

Learn more about grinding and storing beans at home:

Hello, How do You Brew?
Personal preference reigns when it comes to coffee makers. No single brewing method is necessarily better than another; each machine simply operates differently and might lend itself to a particular need more than another. Let's look at the most popular types and find out what each does best:

Automatic Flat-Bottom & Automatic Cone: it makes sense to look at these two side by side because they are very similar brewing methods: water pours through the coffee filter and basket into a pot. Aside from differences in brands, these machines differ only in the shapes of their baskets (indicated by their names).

Best for: brewing multiple cups of coffee at a time with little fuss.

French Press: this is a manual brewing process where grounds are soaked in hot water. Using a French press is very easy, but there are a few things that aren't automatically initiated by a "start" button--use these steps for brewing:

1. Spoon grounds into carafe (two tablespoons per eight ounces of water)
2. Pour water just off a boil into carafe, getting all the grounds wet (they will rise to the top). Leave at least ½ to ¾ of an inch of room between the carafe's rim and top of the grounds/water.
3. Let grounds soak for four minutes.
4. Press filter through grounds to bottom of carafe, then pour.

A French press brews the fullest-flavored cup of coffee, thanks to its stainless steel filter. While a paper filter soaks up the coffee's natural oils (where much of the flavor is held), the press' filter allows the oils through. But without a paper filter, there will be a little coffee sediment at the bottom, so leave that last sip in the mug.

Best for: brewing one to four good-sized cups (depending on size of carafe) of full-flavored coffee that will be served right away.

Automatic Gold Cone: this machine is similar to an automatic cone, but uses a gold-plated stainless steel filter instead of a paper one. The gold cone allows the coffee's oils to flow through the filter and, as with a French press, it produces a fuller-flavored coffee (though still not as full as a French press).

Best for: brewing many cups of fuller-bodied coffee at a time with the least fuss. It's a happy compromise between the desire for French press flavor, and wanting the convenience of an automatic machine.

Now, the only question is, how do you take your coffee?

Watch this video that shows a step-by-step guide to brewing French Press:

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