Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

We all need water to survive, but nearly all of us need coffee as well. The tasty, caffeine-infused beverage is the third most popular drink on earth, falling in line just behind water and tea. The early morning jolt people get from coffee fuels work around the globe and helps get things done.

Spurred by the growth of Starbucks and other mega-chains, there's now a place to buy coffee on nearly every corner and we've grown accustomed to drinking flavorful coffee anytime the urge strikes. While many people have their favorite coffee shop where they know all the employees, brewing great coffee at home is easier and cheaper than you think. With the right tools & techniques, you can give the big boys a run for their money when it comes to flavor and convenience.

So, without further ado, FoodPair is pleased to present our tips for making the perfect cup of coffee:

1. The Coffee Beans

In the same way that great wine comes from great grapes, a great cup of coffee starts with quality beans. We recommend heading to your favorite local coffee roaster and picking out beans to suit your taste. Tell them what you like or find your favorite by trial and error. When buying from a grocery store, look for Arabica beans, which experts say have the best flavor of commercially grown coffees.

Another key is to make sure the coffee is fresh, so don't buy more than you need each week and store the beans in an air-tight container away from direct sunlight.

2. Get a Coffee Grinder

Grinding your beans fresh every day releases the most flavor. While it's best to grind to the consistency recommended on your coffee maker, the finer the grind, the more flavor the beans will release. You'll need about 2 tablespoons of coffee per cup. Home coffee grinders are affordable- most sell for around $20 and are worth every penny.

3. Use Filtered Water

Since water is the other major component of coffee, it's important not to neglect it. While water from the tap is fine, purified water is better for flavor. So, fire up that Brita or use any filtered water you have on hand.

4. Pay Attention to Temperature

The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is just short of boiling, so aim for 200 to 210 Fahrenheit or 95 to 98 Celsius.

5. Brew it and Stir it

It's important to make sure all your coffee tools are clean before each use, especially the filter. We use unbleached filters and make sure to wet them before each use to remove any dust from the packaging.

Also, once the coffee is brewed, give the pot a quick stir to infuse the flavors. At one of our favorite coffee shops they add an extra step: using two cups for each coffee, they pour each cup of coffee back and forth a couple times to aerate it. This helps remove bitterness and mellow the coffee's flavor.

We're confident that with the right techniques, you'll be making the perfect cup of coffee in no time!

Any other favorite ingredients or dishes you'd like us to highlight? Post them in the comments section or on our Facebook page! And while you're at it, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get helpful updates in your news feed.


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