Much ado about coffee.

Here’s the thing, I’ve never really given much thought to if there was a right way, or a wrong way, to make coffee. Some water, a couple spoonfuls of ground beans, press the ‘on’ button – we’re good to go. Or so I thought.

My husband is a man who loves his coffee. More and more he’s gotten into researching different brands and flavors almost as intensely as if he were mulling over a vast wine selection. We do live in Seattle after all. With quality cafe’s and pop-up shops on nearly every city block, it is quite literally the coffee mecca of the united states.

It was only a matter of time before we crossed over from casual consumers to bona fide enthusiasts. The following tips are a mix of various tidbits we’ve come across over the years and our own personal experiments. Lessons my husband and I have learned in battling coffee that perhaps came out ‘too watery’, ‘too bitter’, or just plain bad.

1 – Start with good coffee. This seems like a no brainer but it’s true. Good brewed coffee comes from good beans. We usually like to search out something local (which isn’t very hard here), go with a medium roast, and lean towards flavor combinations we know we like. Seattle brands we enjoy are Caffe Appassionato, Zoka Coffee Roasters and Tea Co., and yes, even Starbucks (without opening a can of worms, you have to admit there’s a reason this place is so popular).

 

2 – Make sure your machine, whatever kind it is, is clean. I’m not sure I really need to explain this one further.

3- If using disposable coffee filters, use cone shaped filters over the tissue paper ones. I don’t know the science behind this, I just (as Nigella would say) do as I’m told. We use Melitta Bamboo cone filters, which have a sturdier texture and happen to work great for the next tip.

 

4 – Wet the filter with a little bit of water before placing in the machine’s basket. This helps keep the grounds moist from the start and, I assume, helps to avoid the ‘burnt’ taste that some coffee can take on during the brewing process.

5 – More is always better. Follow the brewing directions on the coffee package, if any, but when in doubt, always go with more. This almost always ensures you’ll come out with a decent cup while too little will simply give you brown water.

Once you’ve done your thing and the coffee is done………

1 –  Do like the British! (or at least the one British person I saw partaking in this). I like to first pour some whole milk (or half and half if I’m feeling I need to start my day luxuriously) into my mug or cup and then add my coffee. This way, the hot coffee warms the milk instead of the milk cooling down the hot coffee. Genius!

2 – Want to sweeten up that morning beverage without adding tons of sugar or calories? A helpful tip is to use a little bit of sugar and then sprinkle a dusting of cinnamon and/or nutmeg into your coffee. Spices are always a clever way to add flavor without adding fat or calories. (Again, starting off with good coffee also applies here. If you like the taste, you won’t want to mask it in a ton of sugar or syrups).

3 – Didn’t finish the whole pot? Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. This comes quite in handy the next morning for whipping up a quick iced coffee. Especially refreshing in the summer months and my obsession when the warmer weather starts rolling in.

 

So there you have it. Feel free to let me know how any of these tips work for you guys and share your own brewing tricks or techniques. Happy brewing!

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