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3 Main Factors to Get Great Coffee

Coffee can get complicated, but doesn't have to be

This article discusses how to enjoy coffee without diving too deep into the topic.

There are millions of ways to get your coffee. If one chose to they could go down the rabbit hole of all the different types of coffee, coffee makers and accessories that help make the best coffee.

Which is ironic since the most popular coffee distributor sells the cheapest quality coffee, utilizing the cheapest beans (source) and the most commercialized manner – yet people love it.

Can you guess where?

Probably why they ask if you want room in your cup to add cream and sugar to mask the bitter brew.

coffee comic

Who are we to judge?

What choice do we have? We could learn how to make the best cup of coffee. But I don’t want to devote my life to discovering the Holy Grail of coffee. There are naps to take.

I don’t want to devote my life to finding the secret to making the Holy Grail of coffee.

Table of Contents

There is also the contradictions. Many enthusiasts and baristas can’t agree on many things. Like us, we think the famous coffee distributor makes terrible coffee. However, there are an average of 500 customers, per store, a day that disagree.

how to make coffee

That being said, we will try to explain the foundations on what makes a great cup of coffee and how you can make it at home without much fuss.

Law of Diminishing Returns when Making Coffee

coffee benefitsFirst, you have to understand that coffee is a game of diminishing returns. The foundation make the biggest impact.

  • Beans
  • Water
  • Method

After the foundation is set, you’re pretty much good to go.

The more time, money, and effort you put into making that perfect cup of coffee after the foundation will result in relatively minor changes to a newbie.

The more time, money, and effort you put into making that perfect cup of coffee after the foundation will result in relatively minor changes to a newbie.

Want to Know Where to Buy the Best Coffee?

Click below to learn about the 3 main places to buy coffee and the pros & cons of each

 

Main Contributors into Making Perfect Coffee

First and foremost is water. Your cup of coffee is almost 100% water, so you can be 100% sure that it affects the taste of your coffee.

Of course, which type of water you would like to use is completely subjective. Use water that you like most. It can be tap water, filtered, or distilled. Or use $400 a bottle of spring water that comes from 2000 yards beneath the sea off the coast of Hawaii. Whatever quenches your thirst.

How to Decode a Bag of Coffee

Learn how to Decipher What Coffee Companies are Trying to Tell You

 

Beans

Now that everyone drinks coffee, almost everyone lives next to a local roaster. Which gives you the opportunity to buy freshly roasted beans. Freshly roasted beans can revolutionize your cup of coffee.

If you prefer your coffee like Dunkin’ Donuts then go for medium roasts. If you’re more of a Starbucks person then dark roasts are recommended.

When it comes to buying coffee beans there are two important tips that I can share with you:

The reason you want the roasting date on the package is it lets you know they take roasting and freshness seriously. The fresher the better.

The reason why you want whole beans is because whole beans stay fresh longer.

That being said, freshly roasted coffee, even if it’s pre-ground will probably taste better than whole beans roasted a year ago. 

To simplify: Buy the freshest, most recently roasted coffee you can get.

To simplify: Buy the freshest, most recently roasted coffee you can get.

What’s the best coffee grinder for a beginner?

The tips I have mentioned don’t affect your wallet much, but this one does a bit. Buying whole beans and grinding them yourself requires a grinder to break those big brown beans to grainy grounds.

Some people go for the burr grinders over the good old blade grinders, but CooksIllustrated.com did a blind taste with cooks and there wasn’t an unanimous decision.

I bought an entry level burr grinder by Mr. Coffee. Even I, a coffee novice, could notice the grounds were inconsistent by looking at them. I thought it’s going to give me consistent and evenly grounded coffee, but I was wrong. That being said, I couldn’t really tell the difference.

It was loud though, especially in the morning.

Moral of the story: burr grinders can be disappointing if you don’t know what you’re doing.

I’ve heard manual grinders are great too, but I am not a hipster nor a cave person.

I’ve heard manual grinders are great too, but I am not a hipster nor a cave person.

Maybe in the future when I have the budget, and my palate advances, I’ll buy the Encore that baristas and coffee connoisseurs rave about, but for now mine is fine.

Best Brewing Method

The best part about having a coffee grinder is choosing your grind size. Which leads me to the 3rd most important factor when making a great cup of coffee.

Grinding your own coffee gives you the option to choose the coarseness of the grind based on your brewing method. In a nutshell, grinding it yourself helps you discover your favorite brewing method or way you like to drink coffee. 

A big piece of the coffee puzzle.

How to choose the right brewing method?

There are a few main brewing methods. Each have their pros and cons.

coffee is not complicatedOf course, this is over simplified. I realize there are more brewing methods too.

Espresso is especially complicated. At the end of the day it all depends on you and your lifestyle. I recommend doing some research and maybe adding it to your list of things to obsess over on Reddit.

Favorite Method for Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee at Home

My daily driver is a Phillips LatteGO 3200. Does it make perfect coffee? Absolutely not. It makes terrible coffee.

Does it make good espresso? Not really?

Is it convenient? Absolutely! It makes a decent cappuccino in 30 seconds.

Which is why we understand why people love Kuerigs and Nespresso machines. We love the convenience it brings. Starbucks is on every corner. It’s convenient, it’s comfortable, it’s consistent.

That being said, nothing beats a v60 pour-over from my local coffee shop. Even if the equipment was available; patience is not.

Aeropress is a great and inexpensive way to get great coffee. You can buy a manual grinder or order fresh ground coffee from a subscription service to get wonderful coffee at home.

We recommend talking to your local barista, not the chain, and ask them what they recommend.

They are always friendly and helpful. Explain you want to try something new (if they’re not busy!) and would like to try whatever it is you would want.

Looking for the Best Coffee Maker at Costco?

Final Thoughts

This article is just a starter guide to make little improvements in making coffee and not splurg $250+ on grinders and other hardware without knowing what to expect. In my short experience with coffee, anything beyond the 3 main points: water, beans, and brewing method, is simply going too deep into the coffee vortex.

After all of my research on the internet, I was overwhelmed with contradictory information on how to make coffee. This made me realize I like coffee a lot, but others seemed to be a bit more enthusiastic about it than me.

Coffee is important to me, but time is too and other hobbies, like naps, take precedent.

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