With over 2 billion cups brewed and consumed daily, coffee is among the world’s most popular beverages. From its humble beginnings in Ethiopia and Yemen, it is now brewed at home and enjoyed at restaurants, shops and in the takeout form to boost our busy lives.
Do you enjoy the coffee you make in your kitchen? Often, it doesn’t live up to the cup we get at those famous coffee shops, and that is why we are willing to pay a premium for their superior elixir. Guess what? You can improve the taste of your caffeinated beverage with a few select ingredients and a little know-how.
This is how to make coffee taste good.
Start with Good Beans
Your coffee is only as good as the beans it is derived from. The caffeinated drink you consume goes through many stages, including:
Do your best to buy the best coffee roasters you can afford. If you are looking to upgrade your drink, buy specialty coffee.
Specialty coffee is next level and something you won’t find on the supermarket shelf. A certified coffee roaster or coffee association grades it. To be considered specialty coffee, it must score above 80%, be hand-picked, mature beans, and have a maximum of 5 defects per 12-ounce cup to get the designation.
Specialty coffee is typically grown at the perfect altitudes, during the correct time of year and harvested at its peak. Roasters then can create custom profiles to highlight the natural flavours using specialized equipment and great care and attention. Once you buy your beans, store them in a location without heat, light, or air.
Bottom line: if you want good coffee, opt for specialty coffee.
Have a Consistent Grind
Now that you are buying high-quality coffee beans, you must grind them to make your coffee. Once beans are ground, they reach their peak freshness and decline there, usually around 2-3 weeks. To have the best cup of Joe, grind the coffee beans and use them immediately.
Consistency is key, but that doesn’t mean all grinds are identical for all applications. The size of your coffee particles should match the way it is prepared, and a general rule is:
- French Press should have a course grind
- Espresso Machines need a very fine grind
- Drip Filters need a medium ground
- Aeropress should use a medium-fine grind
Make sure you take the time to create a consistent size and then tailor it to your brewing style.
Some people make a quick cup of instant coffee with hot water from the tap, but a superior cup is made with boiled water. Two hundred degrees is the perfect temperature, and you can either allow your kettle to boil for around 30 seconds or use a thermometer to get the exact heat. The coffee flavours dissolve best at this level of heated water, and you will extract all the elements and taste. Too high a temperature can lead to a bitter, burnt taste, so keep it between 195F and 205F.
Steeping time and water ratio are vital to a good cup of coffee. Steeping time allows the ground to fully soak and dissolve the flavours and oils, but you must balance over and under-soaking. Too much water will also result in a diluted cup of coffee, while insufficient water makes it too strong. This also is a balancing game and a personal flavour decision. Finally, don’t just use tap water; opt for filtered, reverse osmosis or distilled water with a mineral packet.
You can add different ingredients to enhance the flavour and experience to bring your coffee to the next level. These are just a few ideas to include in your next brew:
Cinnamon is a powerful flavour, and it tastes amazing in coffee. You can also use other baking spices like nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and star anise. Add ground spices to the fresh ground coffee before you brew, not into your poured cup.
People love chocolate, which can be a tasty and healthy additive to your coffee. It makes a mocha you may enjoy from your local coffee shop but create at home. You should opt for a hot chocolate mix rather than a chuck of dark chocolate because it can dissolve fast and may have included milk and sugar in the right balance.
Citrus fruits are another flavour to add to your coffee; they pair well with chocolate. Zest an orange or grapefruit into the grounds and mix well for an even distribution. It will give you a zesty flavour that is sure to please.
The goal of a good-tasting coffee is to use the freshest roasted beans you can get. Then, you can work with temperatures and timing to create an upgraded caffeine hit, even better than the coffee chains can produce. Have fun making your coffee taste good, and enjoy the caffeinated journey.