Coffee Lovers’ Guide to the Perfect Cup of Joe

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Coffee lovers swear by starting their day with the perfect cup of joe. Of course, the term perfect may always be subjective. One person’s favorite brew may be another’s least popular choice. And while others prefer to drop by their go-to coffee shops to get their daily dose of caffeine, there are those who would much rather grind and brew their own coffee beans at home.

If you are among the caffeine-fueled individuals who opt to prepare their own cup from start to finish, here are a few tips for creating your own coffee at home:

  • Decide on your method of brewing. Think with the end in mind. It may be tempting to simply go ahead and plug in your newest coffee-making machine with a built-in grinder, hold off for one second and think of the kind of coffee you want to brew. Different kinds of brewing methods and coffee cups call for varying levels of texture.

For a jolting cup of espresso, you need to grind your coffee beans into a very fine consistency. Espresso and Aero press machine users describe this grind as one resembling salt or flour. An extremely finer and more powdery texture like confectioners’ sugar is used for special coffee brews such as Turkish coffee.

If you will be using a French press or a percolator, those who grind their coffee beans at home often go for a grind that leans towards the coarser side. Think of a grind that is chunky and feels much like the soil that you usually see in a flower pot. Cold brew-lovers, on the other hand, opt for an extra-coarse grind like the size of peppercorns. The rationale behind the less fine texture of the ground beans rests on the mechanism of each brew. Since these methods (French press, percolator, and cold brew) generally require you to have your ground coffee beans filtered, a coarser grind is preferred, as the finer grinds usually pass through the mesh filters. 

Somewhere in between are the medium-ground coffee beans. These beans are preferred by drip, siphon, and Chemex coffee-maker. Flat-bottomed or cone drip coffee makers brew coffee beans best when you put medium-ground coffee beans with sand-like texture. A less-chunky yet medium-coarse grind also works best if you have a Chemex brewer at home. If you opt to brew using a siphon coffee maker, a medium-fine texture (somewhere between kosher and table salt) will do.

  • Choose the right coffee bean grinder. There are two things to consider when it comes to choosing the grinder for your coffee-making needs. First, decide whether you want a blade grinder or a burr grinder. These two differ in how they cut and slice your coffee beans. Like a blender, a blade grinder depends on its blades to make the particles of your coffee beans smaller. While it is a less-pricey option, you might encounter some trade-offs from its blades’ quick-spinning performance, such as inconsistency of coffee grounds’ size. A scorched after-taste can also be noted, as the heat from the blades’ fast rotation can burn the beans in the process.  

Burr grinders, on the other hand, are often the preferred machines of most coffee-making enthusiasts and professionals. Not only do they produce uniformly-ground coffee beans, but they also produce better-tasting and much finer coffee bean grinds. These burr grinders operate by means of two burr discs that crush the beans evenly, at low speeds, eliminating inconsistent cuts and machine heat in the process. However, burr grinders are more expensive than blade grinders.

The second factor is whether to get a manual or automatic grinder. As their name implies, manual grinders leave the operation to your bare hands. Automatic grinders, on the other hand, are machine-operated. The former is smaller in build and is a cheaper alternative to the latter, which is pricey and maybe a bit bulky.

When it comes to operation, manual grinders will take a bit of your time as the grinding speed depends on how fast you can rotate the swivel arms. Automatic grinders, on the other hand, provide you with a convenient way to grind your coffee beans. All you have to do is load them up in the machine and wait for the fine grounds to start pouring.

  • Consider your coffee beans. As they are the ones that will be undergoing the grinding process, the coffee beans also entail careful consideration. If you want the perfect brew, coffee lovers swear by a specific coffee-water ratio for every blend. Therefore, it is important to also measure the amount of coffee beans that you will need. For accurate results, make sure you use a kitchen scale. Digital or not, make sure your scales are well-calibrated and functioning well, for best results.

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