Because so many people need a steaming cup of Joe to help them stay energized, it’s no surprise that more than 50% of all Americans drink coffee and that office workers drink about four cups a day. In fact, 89% of office workers believe that having coffee improved their entire day, according to one study.
Even though so many people like coffee, there is a definite art to it that some people miss. While it’s easy to clean out a carafe, place a filter in the brewing basket, add grounds, etc., there two variables that you may have not thought about.
Using the Right Water
When filling up the reservoir, you may have never even considered the type of water you’re using or its temperature. Using the right water can make a world of difference in how well your coffee tastes. Because bottled water products often have contaminants from both factory production and transportation, it is often best to use fresh water from the tap. If you do not have a filter on your tap or hooked up to your main line, then even fresh water could contain total dissolved solids (TDS), or salts, minerals, etc. that can give your coffee a strange taste or smell.
Sometimes, tea and coffee drinkers find that their hot beverages have a flat or stale taste. This issue may be due to oxygen loss, since boiling water can make oxygen less soluble and causes bubbles to rise to the surface. A product that uses activated oxygen injections can help with this issue, since it not only kills germs, but creates a fresh taste. Since water starts to boil at about 212 Fahrenheit, Lifehacker.com recommends that people brew their coffee between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature will help to stabilize oxygen levels and help coffee extraction. If the water is too hot, you are going to have a bitter cup of coffee, and if you don’t heat it enough, then your coffee will not be as strong.
Lastly, water hardness, or the amount of minerals, can play a role in how good your coffee tastes. For instance, soft water is great for brewing espresso since too many minerals can cause scaling and break an espresso machine. However, you don’t want overly soft water, since water with minerals like magnesium and calcium can enrich the flavor of your coffee.
Grinding the Beans the Right Way
Everyone has their own personal preferences for their coffee grounds, ranging from coarse, medium, or fine. Keep in mind that if you grind too coarsely, your coffee will be weak, and if the particles are too fine, then it may have a bitter taste. There are some other recommendations depending on which kind of brewing method you’re using. For instance, grounds that are going into a French press should be coarse and uniform in their distribution; otherwise, they can cause clogs. Be sure to remove any excess grounds by skimming the top of the carafe with a spoon before plunging the press.
One way to make sure you are getting the right grind size is to use a burr grinder over a blade grinder. With a burr grinder, you have a little more control on grind size. Blade grinders don’t create uniform grounds, so it is easier for them to block water flow in the filter.
Grind size isn’t the only factor when it comes to your beans. When you grind the coffee will affect its overall flavor. According to Cnet.com, coffee will actually start to lose its flavor within half an hour after being ground. So instead of buying preground beans, you should grind your beans before brewing.
If you start considering both your water purity and your grinding methods, your coffee will taste that much better. And if you are like the average office worker and drinking around four cups a day, improving these two variables can certainly add up in the long run.