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The definitive guide to making great coffee at home

coffee-at-homeWith great coffee comes a hefty price tag. At $3 per cup, you’re looking at an expenditure of almost $100 per month if you drink coffee every day. That’s the equivalent of a nice dinner with wine or monthly dues for a membership at the gym. If you’re looking to save money but still indulge each morning with a cup of delicious brain-stimulating joe, try making the perfect coffee right in your own home. The quality depends on the method but also whether you use one of the best coffee makers or a cheap one.

Drip Brewing Coffee

This method brews a single cup using a coffee grinder, a filter cone, made most commonly of bee house, porcelain, or plastic, and a paper filter. First wash the paper filter under water to ensure that paper fibers do not end up in your coffee. Second, heat some water and rinse the filtercone with it, so the filtercone is “preheated.” Third, grind the coffee beans to a medium to fine grind. Fourth, measure the correct ratio of coffee grounds to water. As a rule of thumb, use eight grams of coffee grounds per five ounces of water. Fifth, heat water to just off the boil, approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour enough water to make the grounds damp and wait about 20 seconds for the grounds to bloom. Slowly and evenly pour the hot water from the center of the grounds spiraling out towards the filtercone. Leave the coffee to brew for approximately two minutes and thirty seconds. Lastly, remove the paper filter and filtercone and add milk or sugar to taste.

French Press Coffee

For this method, you will need a coffee grinder and a French Press. For use with a French Press, the coffee beans must be ground to a medium to coarse grind. Because the French Press uses a mesh filter, the grounds must be large enough to avoid passing through the mesh filter into the brew. The coarser grind requires a longer brewing time. First, grind the coffee beans. Second, measure the correct ratio of coffee grounds to water and place into the French Press. Use eight grams of coffee per five ounces of water.  Third, heat the water to just off the boil, about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and slowly and evenly add it to the coffee grounds in the French Press. Gentle stir the water so that the floating grounds sink to the bottom of the French Press. Place the lid of the French Press on top with the mesh filter against the lid. Wait three to five minutes before slowly pressing down the mesh filter to the bottom of the French Press. For finer grounds, the wait is closer to three minutes. For coarser grounds, the wait is closer to five minutes. Pour the brew into a mug and add milk or sugar to taste.

Cold Brew Coffee

My favorite kind of coffee, the cold brew process requires a coffee grinder and a French Press. Rather than using hot water to brew the coffee, the cold brew uses extended time to extract the flavors of the coffee grounds without the bitter acids. This makes for a deliciously balanced and smooth brew. Those suffering from stomach acid issues or those who live in hot climates will especially appreciate the cold brew method. First, grind the coffee beans to a medium to coarse grind. Using the ratio of one cup of coffee grounds to three cups of water, fill your French Press accordingly. Stir the grounds in the water and cover the French Press so that the brew does not absorb any other scents or flavors. Leave in your fridge for up to fourteen hours. Take the French Press from the fridge and remove the cover. Place the lid with the mesh filter on top and slowly press down the mesh filter to the bottom of the French Press. Pour the brew into a mug and add milk or sugar to taste. Because the cold brew method requires a higher amount of coffee, the resulting brew will contain a higher caffeine content. Enjoy your cold brew for up to two weeks, as long as you keep it covered and in the fridge.

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