Making a simple cup of coffee

Preparing a great cup of coffee


Always start with fresh, cool spring water or at least use clean water with no detectable adverse tastes or odors. Do not use distilled water, which lacks dissolved mineral solids that gives water that “fresh" taste. Bottom line is that if you taste bad things in your drinking water, do not use it for coffee.


Roasted beans easily absorb moisture in the air as well as inside of a refrigerator, along with picking up any other adverse ‘flavors’. Don’t store your stash in the refrigerator, or the freezer, without doing your homework on the subject.


Brew with fresh & properly roasted high quality beans. Anything over 3 weeks old is considered stale. In fact, coffee begins to stale about 3 days after roasting; it just degrades to a much more noticeable point at around the 21 to 30 day mark. Pre-ground coffee is already stale if you think about it. I would only use it as a last resort when traveling.


Store your coffee beans in an airtight container away from light. Grind your beans immediately before brewing to release their aromatics. Try to capture all the aromatics into your cup of coffee, before the ‘good stuff’ vaporizes into the air. (Within 3 minutes.) What you smell in the air after grinding is the rapid release of the ‘good stuff’. Once you capture the essence in a cup of coffee, you will know it, and seek it from every cup thereafter. I do.


Manually preparing the Pour Over coffee maker is easy and fun. A plastic filter cone holder, otherwise known as a ‘Pour-Over’ coffee maker costs less than $5., yet it can produce a much better coffee than many $100 dollar automatic drip coffee machines.


Start by brewing with fresh clean water just off the boil. Once the water begins boiling, remove from the heat source and wait about 1 minute. Set your filter cone holder on top of your mug, insert a filter, and then grind your beans just before the water begins to boil. The optimum temp to brew coffee is 195F to 205F. 


Water boils @ approx 212F, and that's why its good to wait about a minute, after the water boils.  Use a thermometer if you have one ;-)


The next step is to pre-wet the coffee.

Just pour enough water onto the coffee to fully wet all of the coffee. Then about 20 seconds later, add in water to the upper limit of the filter. 


Depending on your setup, you may need to add in some more water. I like to do a single pre-wet, then 2 additional water pours. Under no circumstance do you want to take less than 3 or more than 4 minutes to fully extract your cup of coffee. Both conditions cause under & over extraction, and either will definitely taste bad.


You will want to adjust the amount of coffee used, until it tastes ‘perfect’. The proper coffee-to-water ratio makes all the difference in the world. Get started in the right ballpark, by using 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water.


Do not try to make "weaker coffee" by decreasing the amount of coffee you use to brew. This only results in a bitter, over-extracted beverage. Instead, just add a little hot water to your cup to dilute the strength and you will be able to enjoy a less intense, but still high-quality coffee flavor in your cup.


Once you refine your Pour-Over method on single cups of coffee, you may move up to the next level, and brew a whole pot of coffee this way. If your filter basket can sit directly on top of your coffee pot (from your nasty old auto drip machine that you are getting ready to pitch into the trash can, anyway), then you can use it to make a whole pot at a time, using the correct amounts of coffee & water. 


You learn these things as a matter of need. I am one of those people that can only drink fresh home roasted coffee. You can improvise, adapt, and overcome any situation when it comes to making coffee, once you understand how a perfect cup of coffee can taste.

What do I use at home? 


I use a Chemex brewer 5 days a week. It's simple, and easy to operate. I even found a vintage 1970's Norelco Ready Brew machine, like new in the original box at a yard sale for a mere $5. It consistently brews @ 198F, at the brew head, and is the exact same maker that the Chemex brand offered.