At eightpointnine.com, we’re passionate about people drinking good coffee whenever they drink it. Coffee drinkers shouldn’t settle for poor coffee just because they’re not at a fancy cafe. Below are four simple ways you can improve your cup of coffee without spending a bomb - and a fifth that costs a little more.
1. Use a filtration system
Our water is full of TDS (total dissolved solids) that affect the flavour of our coffee. Remember, coffee is 97% water, and so it makes sense to think about this as a vital ingredient. We’re used to just filling the kettle from the tap, even if we have a Brita filter or something similar, but water from the tap is really, really bad for making coffee with. Using a filter of some kind is important for getting a rounder flavour to your coffee, and, as an added bonus might keep your kettle alive for a while longer. (The former applies to all, but water quality varies hugely by area. If you live in London, you’ve tasted your water: consider the above to have been written in upper case.)
2. Keep your coffee locked away
There are many different myths behind storing coffee. One is that they should be frozen, an even more prevalent one is that they should be refrigerated. To the former, the real problem with freezing is that it involves subjecting the coffee to temperature changes, which damage the coffee. To the latter, never, ever keep your coffee in the fridge. The main enemy to freshness is moisture, which is one thing your fridge is built to produce. Keep your coffee in a cool, dark place, preferably in an airtight container (I use Kilner jars). This will help your coffee stay fresher for longer.
3. Weighing in
Making coffee is like making a meal, and like any meal there is a recipe to follow. At eightpointnine, we’ve calculated that the ideal amount of coffee is 8.9g per 160ml. Your tastes might differ from this, and every coffee requires a differing ratio of coffee to water, but if you want to make a truly balanced cup of coffee, it’s worth bearing this ratio in mind at least as a ballpark figure.
4. Avoid boiling your coffee
Boiling water is, well, boiling and this heat can have a detrimental effect on your the taste of your coffee. Water that is too hot can lead to overextraction, which means that your coffee will taste too bitter and lose a lot of subtleness. Water should be ‘off-boil’ before it comes into contact with the grinds, so maybe just leave the kettle for a minute or two after it’s boiled. In addition, if you’re using an espresso machine, there is sometimes a tendency to over-texture the milk, for a ‘hotter’ coffee. This can just be your personal preference, but it also has a negative effect o the coffee, which has already been subjected to searing heat and pressure in the espresso machine.
5. Use a grinder!
This is the only tip on here that will cost quite a bit of money, but if you’re serious about your coffee it’s definitely something you should consider. It doesn’t matter whether you’re ordering the finest eightpointnine blends, or just a supermarket brand, coffee always tastes better if it’s been freshly ground. It’s more than just freshness though, most grinders let you set the coarseness of the grind. This gives you control over another factor that can affect flavour. If your coffee is too bitter, it could be enough to just make your grind a little bit coarser, and this will make it more to your tastes.