The 7 Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers for a Fresh Cup Every Time
The Nespresso VertuoPlus is our top pick because it brews high-quality coffee and espresso from recyclable capsules.Single-serve coffee makers are extremely convenient and easy to use, especially if you typically brew just one cup at a time. Plus, you'll never need to drink coffee that's been sitting in the pot for hours.
Ah, coffee...my favorite morning ritual and source of caffeine. As co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee & Tea and a frequent contributor to Fresh Cup Magazine, I've given coffee a good deal of thought.
Brewing a great cup of coffee seems easy, but how often does yours taste like it does at a local coffee shop? (Never?) The good news is, unlike other culinary endeavors, making good coffee is more about technique than splurging on gadgets. A bold and delicious cup is attainable at home if you avoid these common mistakes.
Many commercial drip brewers never reach the ideal temperature (195 to 205 degrees) for perfect coffee. Water in this range extracts the most flavor from the beans. Switch to a French press or pour-over method (Chemex or a ceramic filter), where water just off a boil is poured over ground beans and steeped for three to four minutes. These generally cost around $30, which is cheaper than the average electric brewer.
The 7 Best Espresso Machines for Coffeehouse-Quality Drinks at Home
The Breville Bambino Plus is our favorite because it can be used by espresso novices and aficionados alike, without taking up too much counter space.The thought of making espresso at home might be daunting, but dedicated fans of those small shots of concentrated coffee (and gateways to all sorts of specialty drinks including lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos) find it super satisfying. Making your own espresso drinks can help you avoid an extra stop in your morning routine, and it's also much cheaper in the long run than regularly paying cafe prices.
Mistake #2: Using beans that were ground a long time ago
Buying pre-ground beans is a no-no. The minute coffee beans are ground, they start to release their nuanced flavors. The longer you wait to brew, the more the flavor will have diminished. Grind whole beans in the grocery aisle or do it yourself at home: Invest in a low-cost blade grinder or spring for a burr grinder for an even finer grind. Power it up while the water is heating up. (For bonus points, amp up the flavor by adding spices to your beans.)
Think about it. If you pour hot liquid into a container of a lower temperature, it won't stay hot for long, right? Prolong your sipping pleasure by pre-warming the cup. The best part is that the water is already on its way to boiling-just pour some of the water into the cup, leave it in there while the coffee's brewing, and empty it before filling with coffee. It's also a good idea to rinse out your French press or pour-over with hot water before adding grounds.
Can You Use Ground Coffee the Same Way You’d Use Instant Coffee?
Experts explain the pros and cons (including those related to your health) of using ground coffee as instant coffee and offer a better alternative to try.Picture this: You slept through your alarm, you're running late to work and when you desperately reach for your instant coffee fix, you realize that you've run out (argh). But wait, you have some ground coffee in the back of the cupboard. Still, there's no time to brew a pot. If only you could heat up one quick cup.
Those dainty china teacups you pull out for a tea party or the super-functional Corelle coffee cup you've had for years are going to drop in temperature quickly, leaving you with (gasp!) room-temperature joe. A thick-walled cup maintains the coffee's steaming hot temperature for longer. Try to find a diner-style white coffee mug with a thick wall. We also like sipping from sturdy, handcrafted ceramic mugs.
Video: Hot or Cold Coffee? The Never Ending Debate (Buzz60)
This is getting into coffee geek territory...but again, who wants to drink subpar coffee? Ideally, you want to use beans that have been roasted within the last three weeks. The easiest way to ensure this is to know the roast date. Coffee roasters who sell their beans on site will often label the bags with this info. If you grab a bag of local beans at your grocer or farmers market, check the bottom of the package-they often stamp the date there. (In the meantime, want to up the flavor of a dull cup? Try dunking a cookie.)
4 Restaurant Chains With the Most Craveable Menu Items in America, According to Customers
Spooning your recently roasted and carefully ground beans into the filter by eye is a habit you'll want to break now. Measuring grounds allows you to control the strength of the cup. A good rule of thumb is to use eight heaping teaspoons for a 34-ounce French press (standard size). This will result in coffee that is bold and assertive—but not as strong as espresso. Love coffee? Treat yourself to a coffee subscription box.
How one takes his or her coffee is a matter of personal choice, but we always recommend trying to get the most flavor for your sip. Many coffee shops have those little brown packets of raw sugar (aka turbinado sugar). This sweetener simply tastes better than white sugar. In terms of milk, we like to splurge and use whole milk or half-and-half. Nonfat milk can water coffee down. Really want to indulge? Make one of our best-ever coffee cakes and have an amazing morning.
Mistake #8: Using an incorrect coffee-to-water ratio
Ever taste a cup of coffee and think, wow, that’s really weak? Perhaps there is too much water—or not enough coffee—for the proportion to work. Convention is to start with two heaping tablespoons of coffee per cup and then modify future brews if needed.
It’s tempting to use tap water because it’s free and you just flick on the faucet, but you really will taste a difference when you switch to filtered water or bottled spring water. That’s because these elevated waters are free of minerals and are not acidic. Otherwise, tap water’s impurities will affect the taste of your morning brew.
Mistake #10: Leaving old grounds in the filter basket
If you’re only an occasional coffee drinker, make sure that you remove the used grounds directly after brewing. If they sit in the filter for a few days, they can get moldy and you’ll need to thoroughly clean the machine before using it again.
Mistake #11: Storing your coffee in the wrong place
There isn’t one right place to store coffee. But you do want to find a spot free of humidity. This can mean using a container with an air-tight lid (such as a mason jar) or storing a bag or can of coffee on a shelf or back of the pantry (and, nope, not your freezer: it's humid in there).
Why Coffee Tastes Better from a Café, According to an Expert
Coffee at home tastes good, but why does it always taste better when it's from a café? We had the co-founder of Verve Coffee Roasters tell us why. Plus, we offer a few tips on how to up your coffee game in your own kitchen.Whether you take your coffee with two sugars or none, or prefer it iced instead of hot, there's something special about enjoying your caffeinated beverage at a café instead of at home. But it's not just in your head that drinks made by a barista taste so good. There are more factors than you might think that go into making every cup of coffee.
Like everything else in the kitchen, your coffeemaker needs to be cleaned regularly. Wash the carafe, filter basket and lids in soapy water after every use. And at least once a month run a brew cycle with equal parts water and vinegar. Get full instructions on how to clean a coffee maker here.
Up Next: For a perfect cup of coffee, use a French press. But this cylindrical carafe, plunger and filter can do more than brew a beautiful light roast. We found plenty of French press hacks!
The post 12 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Brewing Coffee appeared first on Taste of Home.
Here's how to get a free cup of coffee this week .
Here's where to nab the steamiest deals and freebies for National Coffee Day.We celebrate coffee every day, but on September 29 the nation celebrates National Coffee Day. It's a great day to find freebies and discounts on your favorite beverage at restaurants across the country.