Many people who like coffee as much as I do, are always trying to make the perfect cup of coffee at home, yet, for one reason or another they cannot seem to get the same great taste that they get at their local coffee shop.
If want to know how to make the perfect cup of coffee, I will go over what you you have and why each one of them is important . Afterwards, I will show you how to put it all together, using a French Press as an example, as well as give you some tips and advice so you brew a great cup of coffee each and every time.
7 Coffee Gear Essentials for the Perfect Cup of Coffee
When it comes to making the perfect cup of coffee, you don’t need to over think it. With just a few important pieces of equipment, measuring out the right ratios and good coffee, you will soon be brewing coffee that will the envy of your friends and family
1. Fresh Roasted Coffee
It all starts here! Nothing from this point on will make any difference if you don’t start with fresh whole bean coffee that has been recently roasted. I would recommend that you get a single origin coffee from your local roaster or a subscription service like Bean Box or Mistobox and nothing that is too different tasting, like Ethiopia or Kenya, at least at the beginning.
You can expand your horizons on subsequent bags but try and start with something like a Brazil or Costa Rica as they have a broad appeal and are enjoyed by most people.
2. A Good Scale
Everything in coffee is about coffee to water ratio so having a scale that can accurately measure this is invaluable and thankfully not that expensive. I usually tell people to start with a 15 to 1 ratio of water to coffee and then tell them to adjust it from there. For example, if the coffee is too strong then just increase the water to say 17 to 1 ratio and the reverse is true as well
3. Gooseneck Kettle
The next piece of equipment that you are going to need is a kettle but not just any type of one. It should be one that has a goose neck and preferably with an electronic temperature control such as the Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle (found on Amazon) instead of a stick thermometer which can be found on Amazon.
The reason why you should get one that is electronic is because then you can set the maximum temperature you want the water to get to. This is important because for out purposes you do not want the water to be anywhere between 195 and 205.
I always go with about 202 as the temperature will naturally decrease as you are brewing your coffee. This is also below the water boiling point which you want to avoid because if you use boiling water you will burn your coffee when brewing.
As far as the reasoning for the goose neck, this is because you will have a lot more control on how you pour your water over your coffee which may not be as important if you are using a French Press but is vital to a good brew if you are using a V60 or Chemex.
4. Timer for Brewing
You will need a timer in order to do this correctly however any type of time will do whether is your phone or a dedicated one. The reason for this is because you only want to brew your coffee for 4 minutes (unless you are using a Aeropress).
If you brew it any sooner you increase the chance of under extracting the coffee and the reverse is true, if you let it brew longer then you increase the likely hood of over extracting the coffee.
You will also need it because for the first 30 second you are going to add just enough water to allow the coffee to bloom.. What does bloom mean you might be asking?
With fresh roasted coffee the bloom is the part of the coffee brewing process in which the gasses from the coffee are released as the water hits the grinds. It causes the grinds to grow & rise ….well.. like a bloom.
You can usually tell how fresh a coffee is depending how much (or how little) a coffee does this.
5. Burr Grinder
This is was probably one of the most asked questions I got at the roastery. And if there is one piece of equipment you don’t want to save money on its your grinder because if you grind your coffee improperly then you will never get a consistent brew and your coffee will taste differently each time.
Now within in field there are different varieties but that goes beyond the scope of this article but you can read more about it on my coffee grinder post. Suffice to say do yourself and your coffee a favor and get a burr grinder. The burr grinder will grind your coffee beans evenly and this will produce a much better brew.
You can get a manual or an electric. I have both and let me just tell you, although it may be tempting to get the manual (see above) as its much cheaper but your arm will thank you over time when all you have to do is press a button to get the same result. Although if you travel alot and you want brew you own coffee when traveling, then a manual grinder may be what you want to go with.
6. Quality Water
This is the most often overlooked variable when it comes to coffee but yet one of the most important. Here in Florida we have some really bad water compared to most of the US due to a variety of reasons and therefore, for coffee purposes, w.need to use a filter in or to remove many of the impurities that will affect the taste of the coffee.
According to the The SCA ( Specialty Coffee Association) water brewing guidelines state that water should be clean, odor-free, clear with no chlorine.
Therefore, you can use something like the BRITA filter( from Amazon) for simplicity’s sake or if you want to go all out you can get a Berkey Water Filtration system both of which can be found on Amazon if you cannot find one locally.
7. The Right Coffee Mug
Believe it or not the right coffee cup or mug can make or break your coffee. And it would be a shame to have gotten to this point in the brewing process and to lose some flavor simply due to using the right type of drinking cup.
Therefore all though there are many types of cups made of different materials such as Plastic, Stainless Steel and double walled, your best option is to go with a ceramic cup as ceramic is neutral or that is to say it does not absorb or give flavors to your cup of and this way your coffee will taste just the way it should.
Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee using a French Press
Let’s put this all together and use this step by step method for brewing the ideal cup of coffee. For the purposes of keeping it simple I am going to recommend that you use a French Press as it’s the most forgiving and the easiest brewing method that can get you started.
Afterwards you can always try brewing coffee in a V60, Kalita, Chemex or Clever Dripper. I would recommend that you get a French Press made of glass as it’s the best material to use. You can look at the Bodums on places like Amazon or look for something similar locally.
1. Measure Your Coffee
2. Grind Your Coffee
Since we will be using a French Press we are going to want to have course grind so break out burr grinder and grind those 12 grams of coffee coarse.
3. Heat Up Your Water
Heat up 180 grams (180ml) of water and set the temperature maximum to 205 degrees. You should brew coffee between 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit
4. Add The Coffee
While the water is heating up, take your freshly ground coffee and put into the French Press. When the water is hot enough, put in just enough water to cover the grounds maybe a little more, generally about 10% of the total water and watch the coffee bloom for about 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, pour in the rest of your water.
Once you get to 4 minutes brewing time then put the top on the French press and slowly plunge until it stops.
Pour the fresh brewed coffee into your ceramic cup. Try to sip your coffee over long period of time. If you do that, you will notice that as the coffee cools you will get a different flavor each time you take a sip.
If you want to go to the next level you can pour any coffee that is still in the French Press into a coffee decanter . This will prevent the possibility of the coffee continuing to brew and preserve the taste and flavor for your 2nd cup.
Hope this post was helpful to you and that you brew the best cup of coffee every day! Don’t forget to check back often and read our other blog posts for more tips on coffee.