TIP OF THE DAY: Brewing A Good Cup Of Coffee | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures TIP OF THE DAY: Brewing A Good Cup Of Coffee | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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TIP OF THE DAY: Brewing A Good Cup Of Coffee

The secret to brewing the best coffee starts with fresh-roasted beans. But water and brewing method come into play as well.

Two generations ago people purchased “coffee” at the grocery store; one generation ago brands proliferated at the supermarket as people debated preferences for Chock Full O Nuts, Eight O’Clock Coffee, Maxwell House and other brands.

In 1959, the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia upped the ante, convincing millions of Americans that coffee from Colombia was the best. It created the character of coffee grower Juan Valdez, a fictional coffee grower. Television and print ads explained how Juan worked hard all year to grow coffee good enough to be selected by the export agent “El Exigente” (The Demanding One). [Factoid: Carlos Montalbán, brother of actor Ricardo Montalbán, portrayed El Exigente.]

Today, we’re asked to go beyond country choices (Costa Rica, for example), to the regional choices (the Terrazu area of Costa Rica), and even the particular estate where it is grown (such as La Minita).

It’s a long road to produce a good cup of
coffee. Photo by Joan Vincent | IST.

But while country, region and estate do provide coffees with specific flavors, they are relatively meaningless in terms of the quality of the final brewed coffee. How the beans are handled after they’re harvested makes the difference. You can prepare a bad cup of coffee with beans from a top estate.

The water-to-coffee ratio, appropriate grind, proper brewing equipment, method of brewing and filtration are all important.

So what do you need to know?

  • Get to know the good roasters in your area (ask at specialty coffee shops). You want beans that are roasted and immediately delivered to retailers.
  • Grinding the beans right before brewing doesn’t make the coffee better, unless the beans are freshly-roasted. Don’t buy more coffee than you’ll use in a week: The best coffee isn’t made from beans roasted a month ago. Even if you have the beans only a brief time, they must be protected from moisture, light and air in airtight containers.
  • Good-quality beans demand good-quality water: Water comprises 98% of a cup of coffee. If the water from your tap has chemical flavors, install a water filter.
  • Spend extra for a good brewing machine. Read reviews. There are plenty of them online.


Finally, check out these eight steps for brewing professional-tasting coffee.


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