Friday, July 15, 2011

Brewing a Better Cup of Coffee at Home, 4 Factors For Improving Your Coffee Experience

You have gone to the coffee shop and had your best cup of coffee ever. Now you want to duplicate it at home. You try, but it is just not the same.

The following may be some of the reasons.

Keep in mind that there are only a handful of things you can do to make a premium cup of coffee at home. Most are simple should you choose to adhere to them.

First, you need the right equipment. You need a coffee brewer that will extract the best flavor from your coffee beans. Most people buy a $20 brewer from Walmart and think they have the best equipment. After all, it is new. Well, a cheap brewer brewer brews cheap coffee. Also, they think that the more expensive brewers just have more fancy bells and whistles that they just do not need.

You need a really good coffee brewer to brew good coffee.

There are two items to look for when assessing whether it is a good brewer or just junk.

First, it must have a high quality heating element. Coffee at most coffee houses is heated with brewers that have elements that will heat the coffee between 198 and 205 degrees. The cheaper brewer can only heat to 180 degrees. Hot enough for you, you say? Not if you are trying to brew the best cup possible. You need to heat your coffee near the 200 degree mark so that you can pull the great attributes out of the coffee.

Lower temps just will not cut it.

The second item to look for in a brewer is a quick brew time. Your water should only stay with your coffee for three to four minutes. You want your water to pull the best out of the coffee, and not sit with the coffee for longer than four minutes. After four minutes you pull the negative tastes out of the coffee.

I have seen Bunn advertise on the box that they have a three minute brew time. Most customers see this and think "I have one half hour to get ready in the morning and do not care that it is quick". Fact is, it is telling the customer that the water does not sit with the coffee very long, not that you will have a quick cup of coffee in the morning.

That is about all you need in a good brewer. Above this, it is all bells and whistles. If you need a morning timer or a clock, get it. However, it does not help you make better coffee. As a rule of thumb, spend above $75 to get a good coffee maker. For goodness sake, they last 10 years. Bunn, Krups and Cuisanart have been consistent brands. However, beware even with these brands because they too will sell a crappy coffee maker.

The third important factor in making great coffee is in the water you are using. Coffee is 99.00123% water, and therefore, it is a very important factor. If you are using unfiltered tap water, (even if your city does have the best water), stop it. Put a high quality filter on the line under your sink, and do not forget to change the filter regularly. Using an on the counter filter system generally does not cut it. Use bottled water if you cannot have a high quality filter installed. The bottom line is use perfect water.

The fourth and final factor in improving your coffee is to use fresh coffee beans. We suggest that you invest in a burr grinder and grind the coffee just prior to brewing it. This can make a huge difference in the taste. While buying "gourmet" coffee off the shelves at the grocery store can make a huge difference in how your coffee tastes if you are using Folgers out of a can, I suggest you avoid what is on the grocery store shelf, especially the large bins of coffee that are unsealed.

Rather, locate a roaster of coffee in your area. What I am referring to is a place that buys the coffee beans in their green condition, and then roasts them on-site. Not only are you buying the freshest coffee possible, but you are keeping your money in your own community.

I suggest you find a roaster that will tell you the date that the coffee was roasted. Coffee is at its best within 14 days from its roast date. The quality begins to dissipate after this, although depending upon how the coffee is stored, it can last for 30 to 45 days after the roast date. With that being said, buy just enough coffee to get you through one week of home brewing. Generally this is between one and two pounds of coffee for most households.

Finding a coffee roaster that has a big selection of coffees and blends can be difficult. Start with the internet and see what comes up in your area. You never know, you may just start your very own Starbucks from the comfort of your very own kitchen.

The Jackson Coffee Company's story is really quite simple: We have been roasting and brewing really great coffee since September 2006. Our coffee is roasted in small drum roasters in our downtown Jackson store, which is located in the heart of Jackson's business district. We do this because we know that there is nothing better than freshly roasted coffee so long as you're starting with great beans and roasting them with passion.

In 2007, 2008, and 2009 we won awards for "Best Coffee House" in Jackson. We have won every year since opening, beating out the likes of Biggby Coffee, three Starbucks, Bearclaw Coffee, three Tim Hortons, Dunkin Donuts, and 5 other independent coffee houses.

In 2007, the Jackson Chamber of Commerce awarded Jackson Coffee Co. the coveted Brick Award. In 2008, the Chamber awarded us the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. In the March 2009 edition, Jackson Coffee Co. was on the cover of Jackson Magazine, and was the feature article. Our commitment to coffee, as well as the remarkable flavor of our coffees and our commitment to our community, is the reason for our awards. It's what we call "The J Way".

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