There are a lot of people out there who have reported knowing how to make the perfect cup of coffee, how to perfectly brew your espresso, how to avoid the Starbucks line. In my opinion, most of these people have over-complicated the matter with machinery and manifestos. Today we'll show you how to make a perfect cup to turn your morning from all right to great. And we'll do it for cheap. No buying crazy beans, contraptions or special filters.
Pick Your Beans
Last time you went to the supermarket, I'm willing to bet there were about 50 different bags of coffee to choose from. And so many promises, too. Dark Chocolate, French Vanilla, Italian imports, a few made-up Starbucks terms. And freeze-dried instant? Put that stuff down! You're better than that. You know how coffee smells so wonderful and you think it should taste that way too, only to find it's bland and watery and bitter? Yeah we're going to banish that disappointment. With the right bean, there's no worry. Look for:
- Whole bean (not pre-ground or instant)
- Breakfast blend if you like a lighter flavor or a little extra caffeine
- Espresso or French Roast if you like stronger flavor or less caffeine
- Fair-Trade/Organic if you can afford it (Costco has a great fair trade espresso for cheap)
Get Your Gear
I'm willing to bet that someone you know has a poor, neglected coffee grinder lying around. Grab it up. If not, you can find them for about $10-$15 brand new. Same goes for a French Press, at about the same price. Lastly you will need either a kettle or a pot to boil water in. Whatever you prefer.
Keep It Clean
We like to say that a lot around here, but in this context it is truly vital. That bitterness and weird oily residue you see in your office coffee cup? That's because someone's not cleaning the electric coffee pot very well. Coffee beans are oily, and in time build up gunk and burn bitterness into every pot made. Don't just rinse off your stuff or throw it in the dishwasher. Scrub it out with a sponge and rinse it with vinegar from time to time. Especially if you got your gear second-hand. Your taste buds will thank you.
Brewing Your Cup
- Measure out enough water to fill your french press to the line plus a cup or two more, and put on the stove to boil.
- Put in just enough whole beans into your grinder for the pot. The amount varies depending on pot size and individual taste, but start with about 1/3 cup. I do about 2 small handfuls.
- You're looking for a "coarse" or "medium" grind for a french press. Fine grind is when the beans are the texture of soft sand, and is usually what you'll find pre-ground at the store. If you get that, you've gone too far. Medium grind looks like small gravel.
- Put your ground beans into your press.
- Once the water boils, take it off the heat for a few moments. Give it 10 seconds or so for the boiling to stop, then slowly pour the hot water in.
- Let the coffee steep for 5 minutes.
- Put the top on your french press and slowly press down on the plunger to move all the grounds to the bottom of the pot.
- Pour and enjoy!
I like to add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to my coffee, but you can, of course, dress it however you like.
That's it! The simple, no-frills way to brew an amazing cup of coffee. Enjoy your joe, and until next time... Keep it Clean!