How to make the perfect cup of coffee

Tips on making coffee from a recent Food News and Views interview.



In a recent interview on my Food News and Views WDNA 88.9 FM radio show with Acumen Coffee CEO, Christian Sotomayer, we talked about his coffee company and what makes a great cup of coffee.  Here are some coffee tips:

How to make the perfect cup of coffee:

  1. The perfect cup of coffee starts with the best, healthy mature beans. All beans look alike. The only way to be sure you are selecting best quality beans is to either trust your retailer to sell the best beans or know the names of the blends that are most selective.
  2. For the freshest ground regular coffee, grind your own beans just before use. Grinding beans at home is fine for drip regular coffee. Ground coffee has more surface area than beans and will deteriorate quickly.
  3. Store coffee in  an air tight container in an area away from light or in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.  Freezing coagulates the natural oils contained in coffee beans. Those oils must emulsify producing the body and satisfying flavor of coffee; this cannot occur if it is too thick.  It takes too long for the oil in frozen beans or ground coffee to defrost and soften.
  4. For automatic drip coffee, use 1 1/2 tablespoons per cup plus 1 tablespoon for the pot.
  5. Use hot or cold water to make coffee. The starting temperature of the water doesn’t matter, because the water is heated to make the coffee.
  6. Coffee is best drunk at body temperature. If it is too hot, the full flavor cannot be appreciated.
  7. Coffee should be made just before servings. It can be kept in a thermos for about 20 minutes.  It should not be kept on a warmer burner or it will become too acidic or sour.
  8. If you make ice coffee, brew the coffee and pour it over ice. If coffee is made and kept in the refrigerator, the flavor will change and it will become bitter.
  9. Use a French press or automatic drip coffee maker to make the best regular coffee. The secret to using a French press is to let the coffee sit 3 to 4 minutes before plunging the strainer.  This allows the sediment to fall to the bottom of the carafe eliminating the finer grinds from your cup of coffee.  A percolator does not make the best coffee. The pressure of a percolator super heats the water, making the coffee bitter and woody.
  10. The best espresso is made in an espresso machine that makes a 1 1/2 ounce cup in 25 to 30 seconds. Beans for espresso cannot be ground at home.  It must be finely ground and need special blades.  The espresso machine uses high pressure, but low temperature, 186 degrees F.  It should have crema or foam on the top.
  11. Espresso made from Arabica beans has a richer flavor and lower caffeine content than regular drip coffee. It takes only 30 seconds to brew so less caffeine is extracted than in drip coffee which takes 5 to 7 minutes to brew.
  12. There is no need for lemon peel in espresso. It is used to counteract the taste of over-roasted, bitter espresso.  The oil in the peel blocks the bitterness.