Three Steps to Better Coffee

Three Steps to Better Coffee
Good Coffee, Really Good Coffee, even Exceptional Coffee at home? Three steps and simple tools to better home-brew.

I never set out to be a coffee snob. Since I frequent a Starbucks, especially in the warmer months (February through November), I’ve can say that’s a step down. My personal theory, and in part this is borne out by academic research, SBUX is the lowest tier of acceptable coffee, maybe half a tick higher than the convenience store swill.(1)

I can think of one or two 24-hour Starbucks stores, and that helps make their case.

I’ve only been using a French Press for the last dozen years. Off and on, maybe longer. As extraction methods go, it’s one of the top three. For easiest, least problematic coffee extraction with the highest aficionado rating and minimal fuss? French Press is the way to go.

What makes a French Press so efficient is the coarse grind of the beans. The “blade” coffee grinder is fine for some spices, but coffee? The problem with a blade grinder is that it produces a fine dust with a few big chunks, very uneven. I used blade grinders for years, unaware of a better option. Having the coffee ground at the store isn’t even worth considering. Fresh grind the beans to unlock the flavor.

Best grinders are “burr grinders” rather than the blade. The one I use allows for a “coarse” setting, and there’s no dust, flakes, just perfectly minced beans.

The perfect roast, and the best beans? I prefer a dark roast, slightly more acidic and somewhat less caffeine. French, or preferably, an Italian Roast bean.

For several years, I exclusively drank Kona, with Kona Peaberry being worth its high price, coffee grown and harvested on American soil. When I was buying from a specialty roaster & coffee shop, I would see the sacks of green Kona beans, really from Hawaii. To this day, it’s still a favorite. The brand is much diluted by varietals and splashy marketing that has little to do with the source of the beans themselves.

Single source beans, recently roasted, that’s the best one can hope for.

Start with the beans, grind them fresh with a burr grinder, then run them through a press pot, best coffee?

Fresh Roast Beans
Burr Grinder, coarse grind
French Press

Perfect Coffee at Home – Michael Haft & Harrison Suarez

    (1) The best of that is invigorating and disgusting at the same time, harsh brew marinating on the burner for hours, cooking down to a sludge-like consistency. Usually means fishing is involved, and that’s a good thing.

    French Press
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  • Liebe Oct 27, 2013 @ 21:24

    I find the absolute best coffee is what I roast myself in my air pop popcorn popper. Then I grind in Dad’s old coffee grinder and consume. I got hooked on home roasting last february.

    Is it local if the beans are coming off the boat in Oakland?
    -Your Little Sister