Making a Delicious Cup of Coffee

Making a delicious cup of coffee is easy if you start with the best beans and follow some simple guidelines. Colombian coffee beans are especially flavorful because they are grown in rich volcanic soil, and are handpicked by Colombian cafeteros dedicated to bringing you premium quality from the crop to the cup.

Delicious Coffee
Delicious Coffee

To help you avoid some common coffee-making pitfalls, Alton Brown offers these tips on

  1. Always start with fresh, cool water.
    • Do use fresh spring or tap water
    • Do use clean water with no detectable tastes or odors
    • Don’t use demineralized water, such as distilled water, which lacks the necessary level of dissolved mineral solids (100-200 ppm) needed to give the water that “crystal fresh” taste

  2. Brew with high quality beans like Colombian.
    • Do use freshly ground beans before brewing to release their fragrant aromatics
    • Do store your coffee beans in an airtight container away from light
    • Don’t let your beans absorb moisture in the refrigerator or freezer because this hastens staling

  3. Preparing coffee in a French Press is easy and fun.
    • Do preheat the glass pot before brewing
    • Do brew with fresh clean water just off the boil
    • Do fill the pot, then give it a quick stir. Cover with the plunger lid, allow the brew to infuse for four minutes, then gently depress the plunger through the grounds for 30 seconds
    • Don’t leave the coffee in the press after brewing – pour it into an insulated carafe, so it doesn’t get cold or bitter
    • Don’t ever re-use coffee grounds, because their desirable, dissolvable flavor solids were extracted during the first brewing

  4. The proper coffee-to-water ratio makes all the difference
    • Do use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water
    • Don’t 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 water to your cup and you will be able to enjoy a less intense, but still high-quality coffee flavor
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Alton Brown

Alton Brown is the host and star of TV's Good Eats. He is also the author of several books on food.

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