For those of you who may not know me very well, I love breakfast. It has earned the title of being the most important meal of the day, and privately it garners–from me, at least–the title of the best meal of the day.
Breakfast should be our largest meal, since it is what starts our day, with lunch and dinner growing respectively smaller. While that may not be true for most people (myself included…who doesn’t love a full-course meal?) it is true in a scientific way. Anyway, I am going to take the next few installations her on FFT to talk about all of the amazing aspects of brunch.
The first post shall be dedicated to……drum roll, please……COFFEE!
Coffee is the only thing that keeps me on my feet anymore. If I go to long with out it I get caffeine withdrawal headaches, and super cranky to boot. being confined to a college dorm I have to get my morning jolt from my trusty one cup at a time Keurig. Here it is alone in the dark, at midnight. I usually set it up the night before so I just have to hit ‘Brew’ and fall asleep on the couch for another five minutes.
For everyone else who doesn’t have a Keurig, I must assume that you grind your beans and brew them in a more old-fashioned way; you buy the beans, grind them up, then pour them over a filter so they can do their magic. Well, let me tell, you, it isn’t that simple.
You know, for a poor college student who doesn’t eat out much and who doesn’t prepare coffee the way that I wish I could, I may sound like a coffee snob. And you’re right! I am a coffee snob, but that just means if you want your coffee to be the best cup of your life every time, follow my advice. Seriously, it will make or break your morning mug of joe.
The first thing that you need to consider when brewing coffee at home is bean storage. Coffee beans aren’t actually beans but seeds, so they can run the risk of absorbing flavor from other foods, or worse, losing their volatile compounds. The volatile compounds are the oils and acids that are locked inside your beans, and they need to be protected. In order to protect them, store your coffee beans WHOLE in an airtight container, vacuum sealed is better, but a glass jar with a screw top lid is good too.
(Oh, and I shouldn’t have to remind you to not buy your beans in bulk, Right? Or to pre-grind them? Because then you run the risk of losing those compounds and flavors before you even get the chance to use them!)
Once you have your favorite type of bean selected, measure out how much you will need with a small kitchen scale. The rule of thumb is to use 10.5 grams of grounds to every 6 ounces of water per cup. For anyone who doesn’t know their conversions, that’s 2 large tablespoons and 3/4 of a cup of water, roughly.
MAKE SURE THAT YOU GRIND YOUR BEANS AT THE LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT
Grind your coffee beans so that they have an even shape and size that resembles sea salt from a table grinder. Add your coffee grounds to your brewer, be it a vacuum or siphon, or a French press or percolator.
If you happen to think that coffee at home always tastes too bitter, Do Not add extra water. By changing the ratio of more water to the same amount of coffee you run the risk of over-extracting the flavors and oils from the beans, making it taste even more bitter. Instead, add a sprinkle of sea salt to the coffee grounds to help cut the bitterness. Our tongues receive signals from the brain when we eat salt that then causes our bitterness receptors to be blocked, making natural flavors more enhanced.
When you are pouring the water, make sure that it is fresh and filtered. If you happen to have chlorine added to your water then I suggest boiling it for a few minutes to kill any residual chemical. Also, it may sound silly to say that water can get stale, but it’s true. When water is stagnant it loses its aeration. Because water is a partial gas, it needs those gasses to dissolve the chemicals inside the coffee grounds that you are so desperately searching for! So, avoid letting water sit in your coffee maker overnight. I know how hard that may be for those of you who rely on the alarm function on your coffee maker to start your day, but if you save grinding until the last possible minute, then you can save pouring the water too!
Once your coffee is brewed, drink it as soon as possible. The heat from the hot plate at the bottom of your percolator break down the chemical flavor compounds, making your coffee taste stale, or even burnt or weak. Don’t let your friends think you can’t make coffee–just brew enough coffee for enough cups to be enjoyed immediately, and make more when the need arises.
I sincerely hope that you have learned a thing or two about the delicacies that make up our dear companion coffee. If you are trying to save money, then quit the daily latte at your local coffee shop and make it at home. I promise that this method will make you a cup so good it will all but erase that whipped cream topped confection that dare call itself coffee!