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Part 1 of Coffee Brewing 101

Aug 20, 2008
The beauty of using the coffee filter method to brew coffee is that you can opt to make a full pot, or a single cup of this popular early-morning, kick-start beverage. Here are some tips to help turn you into a world-class barista (that is coffee snob talk, for a person who serves coffee).

Coffee filters may be made from paper or metal, but the most commonly used filer is made of regular processed paper, or unbleached paper. The unbleached paper is the better choice as it will have fewer chemical additives, like bleach.

1) Start by choosing a quality coffee bean; that is a bean, not pre-ground coffee. The best coffee is made from freshly ground beans. All supermarkets give customers the opportunity to grind their own beans. Take advantage of that. Or, if you can, use a small bean grinder at home. These are available from any kitchen store or kitchen department in the larger stores.

Buy only as much coffee as you will use in a week; if necessary, store freshly ground beans in an airtight container. But NEVER, not ever, freeze your ground coffee. This will actually harm the beans flavor, not preserve it.

2) The grind quality matters very much: a fine grind (like that used for espresso) makes for an intense coffee flavor, while the medium to coarse grinds make for a weaker brew of coffee. There is usually a suggested grind on the supermarket machines indicating which quality you should choose for filtered or drip coffee.

3) Use the correct amount of grounds when making coffee, too little results in brown water; too much makes a sludge that is nearly undrinkable. A common rule is to use one LEVEL tablespoon per cup (usually defined as an 8 ounce cup, not a 6 ounce cup). You can alter this depending upon the strength of your coffee bean type. Some milder roasts may be too mild, so an additional half a tablespoon may be in order.

4) If you are making a pot of coffee, the universal rule is to fill your coffee makers reservoir with COLD water. I know, it sounds ridiculous since the water is going to end up hot anyway, but apparently there is some property to cold water that makes for a better cup of coffee.

If you are making a single cup of coffee, then the opposite is true; the water must be freshly boiled before being poured over the grounds.

As to the water source, remember that your tap water is filled with chemicals; you may want to opt for purer bottled water.

5) Tips to alter the flavor of brewed filtered coffee? Try adding a pinch of salt to the grounds, or crush some clean egg shells, and add those top the grounds. Both of these compounds have been used for nearly one hundred years, to change the taste of coffee; it is believed that these additives will reduce the bitterness in your final brew.

Oh, be sure all your coffee-making equipment (especially any metal filters) is clean. Coffee oils can build up over time, making for a very bitter brew, no matter how many of the above tips were followed. A mix of hot water and vinegar is perfect for this job. Just be sure to do several hot rinses after using the vinegar wash.

And there you have it; you are now a graduate of Coffee Brewing 101: The Filter Method. Now go and reward yourself with a steaming cup of perfectly brewed java.
About the Author
Before buying a coffee maker,check out the award winning Presso at Presso America. Focusing on the area of coffee makers, and espresso makers, Anthony Sastre writes articles for Presso America
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