The right brew for that perfect cup of coffee

You don’t want to always go to a café or barista for a good cup of coffee. Sometimes you just want to brew an excellent cup at home. Ever since I started making my own coffee at home, I can’t get myself to pay `200 for one outside. And home made even tastes better.

Published: 30th September 2012 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th September 2012 12:30 PM   |  A+A-

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You don’t want to always go to a café or barista for a good cup of coffee. Sometimes you just want to brew an excellent cup at home. Ever since I started making my own coffee at home, I can’t get myself to pay `200 for one outside. And home made even tastes better.

Now the definition of an excellent cup varies from people to people. It depends on how much of a coffee lover you are. Are you satisfied making an instant cup of coffee or are you the one who really likes to get into the skin of it. Like buying your beans, roasting them, grinding them and brewing them. With a recent poll I did, only 1 per cent of people around me actually take the trouble to understand the art of fine coffee making. Now you don’t have to be a coffee connoisseur to brew your own cup from scratch. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to creating strong and great tasting brews and falling in love with coffee making.

Beans: Great coffee starts with great coffee beans. That doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive beans you can find. They need to be fresh—fresh beans equals to better coffee. Check the date of packing on the coffee beans you buy and make sure they are in an airtight packet. Contrary to what is believed, coffee beans should not be stored in a freezer/fridge. Coffee tends to absorb aromas from surrounding food, and freeing will alter oil properties affecting the taste. It is best to store the whole coffee beans once the packet is opened, in an airtight container, in a cool, dry and dark place. Buy already roasted beans, or if you like buy them green. Buying them green will require roasting them at home.

Grinding: Freshly ground coffee makes a world of difference, as beans start losing flavour immediately upon reaching the grinder. You will need a coffee grinder for this. Grind the beans right before you brew, and pay attention to the coarseness of the beans, as different filter shapes require different textures. For example, mesh filters require a coarser grind, while paper filters require a finer grind, and espresso requires grinds that are almost of a sugar-type consistency for optimum flavour. The four basic grinds of coffee are coarse, medium, fine, and very fine. The grind is determined by how long the beans are run in the grinder. Coarse: grind 5-10 seconds, Medium: grind 10-13 seconds, Fine: grind 15-20 seconds, Very fine: grind 25-30 seconds.

Water: Coffee is over 99 per cent water. Better the water tastes, better will be your coffee. I don’t know about you, but my tap water is undrinkable. Even if you think your water tastes fine, there may be things in your water that alter the taste of your coffee without you realising. For a truly perfect cup of great coffee, you need filtered, distilled, or spring water. The ratio of coffee to water depends on how strong you like it. Two tablespoons of coffee in 180 ml of water is the standard if you are using a French press, which will take about three-four minutes or soaking coffee in boiling water. You are going to have to try this out for yourself till you find what suits you best.

Once you have figured out the basics feel free to venture into making different blends, by mixing coffees from different countered and using different roasts.  Make different kinds of lattes, warm and cold, espressos and cappuccinos. The varieties are endless and the results absolutely unmatchable. Just pray you don’t turn into a coffee snob.

kajaltejsinghani@gmail.com

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