Tips for good coffee?

mgguy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 26, 2006
479
1,040
I'm browsing the MR forums and am craving some good strong java. Thought it might be a good topic for a post to share tips for buying, storing, brewing, flavoring, or serving coffee. I recently started using an 8-cup Bodum manual french press coffee maker and I am stunned how much better the coffee tastes compared to drip. It is a little muddy, but the taste is way richer and deeper than I have ever had before. You just put coarse grind coffee at the bottom of the glass cylinder, fill it up with hot water and stir, let it sit for 5 minutes, and then press the filter-plunger down to the bottom to separate the coffee and brew, and then pour.

I also read that it is best not to refridgerate coffee as it loses its flavor faster, which is contrary to what I always thought that freezing is best. I tried it an it does actually taste better storing it in a sealed container at room temperature.

Any other ideas how to make coffee taste better?
 

teflon

macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2007
792
0
^^^^
Hahaha, same here. A good tip is using hot milk instead of water for those ;). Other than that, i rely on Starbucks or Tim Horton's.
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
19,797
4
Tips for good coffee?

Avoid Star*ucks and places like that at all costs.

Get a coffee grinder, use good beans (try several kinds to find a favourite), use a cafetiere (French Press).
 

Frisco

macrumors 68020
Sep 24, 2002
2,475
69
Utopia
I always thought coffee should be refrigerated to keep it fresh?

I never tried a French Press, but I hear they make great coffee. I use a Percolator which makes very good coffee.
 

epochblue

macrumors 68000
Aug 12, 2005
1,671
0
Nashville, TN
A Burr grinder would be a great investment if you're using a French Press, because a Burr Grinder will give you a consistent grind size.

Then there's buying quality coffee. There's plenty of coffee at Starbucks that really isn't that good, but I've found the Verona Blend to be a decent "everyday" kind of coffee and their Komodo Dragon Blend to be wonderful.

Other than that, what matters most with coffee is how freshly it was roasted. The sooner you get/grind/brew the coffee after it was roasted, the better.

Oh, and keeping it in the refrigerator/freezer is bad because those appliances cycle between blasting cold air and being "off." What that does is cause condensation to form on the beans, then that condensation dries, and it basically pulls all moisture out of the beans before you have a chance to brew them. Always keep beans in an airtight container in a cool, dark place....they'll definitely keep longer that way.
 

Frisco

macrumors 68020
Sep 24, 2002
2,475
69
Utopia
A Burr grinder would be a great investment if you're using a French Press, because a Burr Grinder will give you a consistent grind size.

Then there's buying quality coffee. There's plenty of coffee at Starbucks that really isn't that good, but I've found the Verona Blend to be a decent "everyday" kind of coffee and their Komodo Dragon Blend to be wonderful.

Other than that, what matters most with coffee is how freshly it was roasted. The sooner you get/grind/brew the coffee after it was roasted, the better.

Oh, and keeping it in the refrigerator/freezer is bad because those appliances cycle between blasting cold air and being "off." What that does is cause condensation to form on the beans, then that condensation dries, and it basically pulls all moisture out of the beans before you have a chance to brew them. Always keep beans in an airtight container in a cool, dark place....they'll definitely keep longer that way.
Good advice. Thanks!
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
2
Some good links passed around here, methinks (no clue if they're-- the links, are still viable or not but I completely trust the coffee opinions of Applespider and CanadaRAM). Just clicked around, I think I'd spend some good long time at the Whole Latta Love site and the coffeescrew site.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,910
41
Andover, MA
When I have expendable income again, I think I'll go nuts at a place like this. I'd love to try roasting beans myself, and I've already got a burr grinder and a French press, and the vacuum brewers look cool.
 

Lone Deranger

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2006
1,751
1,941
Tokyo, Japan
Buy your beans in green and get a good coffee roaster and a decent burr grinder. Roast small batches of beans that last you 2-3 days max (the smell of freshly roasted coffee in your house is wonderful :D ). That way you're guaranteed the freshest coffee possible.
Don't use boiling water, but water that is just below boiling point. Boiling water burns the coffee and introduces an unpleasant flavour. Use a good mineral water instead of tap water.
 

blackstone

macrumors regular
Dec 12, 2005
213
0
Washington, DC
Here's what I'd say, in order of descending impact on the flavor of your coffee:

  1. Get a good quality burr grinder, and always grind right before you're going to brew your coffee (i.e. don't let ground coffee sit around).
  2. Get good quality beans that have not been roasted to hell. Over-roasting masks a lot of the flavors that would otherwise show up, and (as in the case of Starbucks French roast) can impart an awful burned taste to the coffee.
  3. Don't let your beans sit unused for more than a couple weeks after they've been roasted (and just leave them, as has been said earlier, in a cool dark place rather than the fridge/freezer). For the absolute best flavor, you should use the beans within a week of roasting, but there's not a huge difference between one week and two weeks.
  4. Use a brewing method, such as French press or vacuum, that immerses your coffee grounds in the water for some period of time rather than just pouring the water over the grounds.
  5. As Lone Deranger said, you should use water that is not quite boiling, i.e. slightly less hot than what you would use for brewing a good cup of tea, and that is either filtered or bottled (but I think Lone Deranger's suggested of bottled water is overkill -- you just need the water to be neutral, so that it doesn't introduce any off flavors).
 

question fear

macrumors 68020
Apr 10, 2003
2,273
77
The "Garden" state
Just to chime in: I worked in/ran/trained cafes for years, and the top things to remember are that water should not be too hot, and you shouldn't leave it sitting for a long time. Brew and drink right away or it will lose some flavor (especially with darker roasts leading up to espresso-they can turn bitter if they get too cool.)