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The Perfect Brew

Do you obsess over brewing a perfect cup of joe - dedicate your coveted counter space to housing your new siphon pot? Install a four-cup ceramic pour-over bar in your office? Trade-in your kid's tuition for the best Marzocco has to offer? Somehow, I doubt it. If you're anything like me, you simply want to wake up to a satisfying cup of coffee without all the fuss. And for all the fancy equipment, it's no secret that the most important ingredient of all is the coffee itself.

My morning ritual is fairly simple. Yes, I do a bit of timing, stirring and temperature control, but once practiced repetitively, it's more instinctual than premeditated. Here are a few basic methods with instructions for brewing that perfect cup of coffee, every time.

Pour Over Method

Pour over coffee

Pour-over is all the rage recently. It’s slow, steady and delicious. There are many lovely baskets and filters on the market, but I find my simple Melitta Cone does the job quite nicely (and inexpensively). Below is the common ratio for coffee grounds/water, beginning at a 1/2 cup baseline. If you plan on making more, increase the ratio proportionately.

Ingredients:
7 grams (about 1 tablespoon) coffee beans, ground fine (12-16 seconds in a blade grinder)
4-ounces cold, preferably filtered, water (about 1/2 cup)

Equipment:
Coffee grinder
Pour-over filter basket and filter

Process:

1. Boil water.

2. Place filter in coffee basket and rinse with hot water. Set the cone with the moistened filter aside.

3. Warm coffee mug or carafe with hot water.

4. Put grounds into moistened filter and place filter over warmed coffee cup or carafe.

5. In a circular motion, pour hot water over the grounds, covering them by 1/4-inch. Be sure the grounds become evenly saturated. Let this sit for about one minute.

6. Continue brewing the coffee by pouring the remaining water, again in circular motion, in a slow, steady stream.

7. The coffee should filter in about 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. Once the stream of coffee slows to a drip, your cup of coffee is finished brewing and is ready to drink.

French Press Method

french press coffee

I love French press, it’s fast, easy and delicious. The coffee doesn’t stay hot for very long, but as they say, drink up! Below is the common ratio for coffee grounds/water, beginning at a 1/2 cup baseline. If you plan on making more, increase the ratio proportionately.

Ingredients:
7 grams (about 1 tablespoon) coffee beans, coarsely ground (6-8 seconds in a blade grinder)
4-ounces cold, preferably filtered, water (about 1/2 cup)

Utilities:
French press

Process:

1. Boil water and then let it cool for about 45 seconds.

2. Fill the French press halfway, making sure you saturate the grounds.

3. Let the coffee bloom (the grounds look like they’re trying to escape and become a thick layer).

4. After 1 minute, stir the grounds in the pot.

5. Pour the remaining water into the French press and set a timer for 4 minutes.

6. At 4 minutes, gently plunge the filter down and decant immediately. The longer you let your brew sit in the grounds, the more acerbic, bitter and caffeinated it will become.

Japanese Style Hot-brewed Iced Coffee

Japanese style iced coffee

This method insures a delicious and smooth cold coffee. It’s fairy easy, although slightly time-consuming. It’s a similar method to the pour-over, but the coffee is directly brewed over ice. You can buy a pour-over system, or create your own at home using filters and a basket from your own coffee maker. Japanese style iced coffee is perfect for summer days or coffee cocktails. This recipe serves 8-12; feel free to cut it in half.

Ingredients:
4.25-ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) medium-fine coffee grounds
Ice cubes to fill about 3/4 of a 64-ounce carafe (approx. 1 tray)
4 cups cold, preferably filtered, water

Utilities:
64-ounce (8 cup) carafe or wide mouth mason jar
Pour-over filter basket and filter

Process:
1. Boil water.

2. Fill carafe or mason jar about 3/4 of the way with ice.

3. Place the filter inside of the filter basket, wetting it first with hot water, then discarding the water. Add the grounds.

4. Pour boiling water slowly over grounds in a circular motion.

5. Wait about 20 seconds

6. Continue to pour boiling water slowly over the grounds in a circular mtion, watching the brewed coffee as it drips into the carafe and melts the ice.

7. Stop when you reach 64-ounces, including the melted ice.

8. Serve over ice.

Note - You may need to stop pouring and allow the water to process through the filter. The entire process takes about 5 minutes. If your grind is too fine, it will take up to 10-15 minutes.


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