Truth is, brewing your own coffee can be easy. Brewing coffee at home may appear intimidating at first; all these fancy devices used by coffee shops may scare you off. Figuring out how to grind your beans just right looks difficult. Good news, it isn't hard.
Here are 5 steps to brewing better coffee at home:
Coffee beans stay fresh for about 2-3 weeks. After that, they start to go stale, lose their flavor and taste bitter. Big chain coffee brands (looking at you, Starbucks) and grocery stores have supply chain processes that result in their coffee being roasted months before you even buy it! If your beans come from your local neighborhood coffee shops, they will have been roasted within the last few days, or perhaps even that same day! This ensures that your daily brew is fresh, flavorful and even healthier than the alternatives.
Most swirly grinders that you can buy for less than $20 will grind your beans into uneven sizes. If you brew your coffee using non-uniform coffee grounds, you'll end up getting coffee that's both bitter and sour. To get your beans ground just right, you need a coffee grinder that pounds your beans into evenly sized pieces. If you want the very best, check out an industry favorite and our personal choice, the Baratza Encore. If you're brewing on a budget, this manual grinder will do the trick.
You can cheat this step and have your local coffee shop grind your beans for you if you're not quite ready to dish out the money for a grinder. Just keep in mind that ground beans go stale quicker than whole beans.
Before you grind your coffee, make sure you know what level of grind you want, depending on your preferred brewing method.
You may think boiled tap water does the trick. The problem with tap water is that it is filled with various minerals it has absorbed from the pipes it has been sitting in. Thus, when you try to brew coffee, the water is resistant to absorbing coffee from the grounds because of the tap water's mineral composition. Filtered water gives you more room to absorb the coffee, thus producing a better brew.
When brewing, you ideally want your water to be 200 degrees Fahrenheit. If feeling fancy is your thing, you can get a kettle with a thermometer to ensure precise temperatures. This is the safest route, as you're sure to brew at the proper temperature. Otherwise, you can boil a pot of water and let it steep for a minute or two before using the boiled water for brewing. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so you'll want to let it cool down ever so slightly before you start making your morning brew.
As with all the other steps, you can be precise and buy scales to perfect your coffee to water ratio. If you're just looking for a decent morning cup of coffee, you can ballpark this step. Adding one and a half cups of water to four tablespoons of coffee grounds will turn into one, well-extracted cup of coffee.