Comfort and contradictions: Coffee is both at once familiar and exotic. Of all ancient beverages coffee is the most mercurial. Depending on the alchemy of circumstance, the drinker's mood, and of course the manner of preparation, coffee can be as bright as sunrise or as velverty as evening, or as romantic as wine.
Thing You'll Need:
- Good coffe maker
- Pure water, bottle or filter
- Good fresh whole coffee beans
Firstly the best cup of coffee, of course, depends not on expensive beans or fancy gadgets, but on circumstance: if it is drunk in the company of friends, or on a morning when your worn soul craves it, or in a romantic inn or restaurant, or when it perfectly suits your mood. Such bliss cannot be bought per pound. But circumstance aside there are steps you can take if you have your mind ,heart, and mouth set on getting that perfect cup of coffee. If you like, you can be extraordinarily fussy: or you can rely on just a handful of essentials, perfectly carried out.
FILLTERING VERSUS BOILING: Two basic ways to prepare coffee are filtering - the most popular method - and boiling. Most people who brew their own coffee use paper filters in an automatic drip coffee pot. The idea here is to pour hot water over ground coffee held in a filter, so the grounds stay behind and the drink drips through. Boiling is how the old-fashioned percolator, often scorned these days, makes coffee; and boiling is, of course, how espresso is made, whether i a fancy machine or in one of those hour-glass-shaped pots that sit on a stove burner. The Turks and Arabs make coffee by boiling it, and so did cowboys in the West. in any event coffee made this way tastes stronger, is more bitter and less aromatic, and the body is thicker. Properly done it is luxury.
WATER: The water you use should itself taste good; for this reason, avoid water laced with chlorine or iron or any other sort of off taste. The water should also be cold when you draw it, according to experts. If you are filtering your coffee rather than boiling it, heat the water to just a few degrees below boiling (200 degrees). Any cooler and it can't extract all of the essence from the grounds; any hotter and you will lose some of the aroma and fine taste that filtering preserves. STRENGTH: The ratio of grounds to water varies with individual preference and the fineness of the grind. In general with a fine grind, allow from one to two rounded tablespoons of coffee per cup, a cup equaling about 7 fluid ounces of water. Your taste should be the judge; if you like it stronger; use more coffee and less water. Be careful, though, when making it weak: don't use less water in preparation but instead dilute the coffee after it is made, to avoid bitterness from over extraction.
FRESHNESS: Green coffee beans can be stored for a long time, but once beans are roasted they lose their freshness quickly. For this reason, try to make sure you buy beans that have been roasted within the last week. Beans that been sitting in jars forever may look pretty but will have lost their flavor. As for storing roasted beans at home, whether ground or whole, authorities generally agree that an airtight container is best,but after that they diverge. Some prefer storing in the freezer; others recommend the refrigerator. Both camps will make their arguments. If you use up the beans quickly enough, you won't have to worry about who's right.