How to make the best cup of coffee

June 3, 2010 1:43:10 PM PDT
Tips for making the perfect cup of coffee at home!

1. Choose your instrument based on the style of coffee you want to drink

The two most popular are French Press and Automatic Drip:

  • French Press: The best way to control the time and temperature is to use a French press coffee maker. The French press offers unparalleled flavor due to perfect extraction time and delivery of the volatile oils that are often trapped in paper filters. Tip ? Coarse grind your coffee.

  • Automatic Drip: The easiest way to brew coffee is by using an automatic drip coffee brewer. Unfortunately, few coffee machines brew at the right temperature for the correct amount of time.
Tip: Wet your paper filter before pouring medium ground coffee into it. Or, better yet, use a stainless steel or gold plated filter. They're more expensive, but completely reusable.

2. Brewing Tips
  • Keep it fresh: coffee is at its peak 3-10 days after it is roasted.

  • Only grind beans right before use: Once coffee is ground, it degrades rapidly. We suggest a Burr grinder as opposed to a Blade grinder (the burr grinder crushes the beans with a moving grinding wheel as opposed to chopping them with a blade ? you are better able to control the fineness of the grinds and the burr grinder doesn't heat up the way a blade can and scorch the beans).

  • Water: for best results, use filtered water. Don't use tap water that is over-chlorinated or the taste will pass on to the coffee.

  • Cleanliness: Coffee contains oils and these oils that are left behind can grow rancid.

  • Temperature and Time/Serve Promptly - Coffee's ideal brewing temperature is between 199 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Good Measures: A good rule to observe is one tablespoon of coffee, properly ground, per 6 ounces of water.

  • Storage: Keep your beans in an airtight container, out of the light in a dark cupboard in a temperature of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • To freeze or not to freeze: If you choose to freeze your beans, never do it for longer than one month. It's actually the process of freezing and thawing, and freezing and thawing that can harm the quality and flavor notes of your beans. In the freezer store your beans in individual Ziploc Baggies, preferably in one-day to a maximum of one-week portions. This way no condensation or unpleasant frostbite will occur. So once you take them out of the icebox, do not put them back in.
3. Know your roast
  • Light: Also known as the American roast, the beans are roasted to a light to medium brown color. This is used with many everyday coffees to produce a richer, even sweeter flavor that many prefer.

  • City Roast: Also considered a Medium roast, the finished bean has a medium brown color with a slightly oily texture. This is a widely used roast to retain the original flavor character of the bean.

  • Full City Roast: This roast produces a medium dark brown color with an oily texture to the finished bean. Sweetness and acidity wane, the brew becomes heartier in character, more chocolaty.

  • Vienna Roast: Considered the first of the dark roasts and sometimes lumped in with French Roasts, the bean finishes with a dark brown, shiny color and oily texture. Often used for espresso coffee, the original flavor character of the bean is now surpassed by the flavor of the roasting process.

  • French Roast: The heart of the dark roasts, the bean is very dark brown at finish. The brew has a smoky, burnt flavor, very low in acidity. This is perhaps the most popular roast for espresso makers.

  • Italian Roast: Almost black in color, and a brittle texture to the finished bean. Little character of the original bean remains, so this roast, as well as other dark roasts, can mask inferior, low quality beans.

  • Spanish Roast: Also known as Dark French or Neapolitan. These extremely dark beans are nearly black in color with a shiny oily appearance and boast a strong, charcoal flavor. Definitely an acquired taste.
About Scott Pritikin:

San Francisco native Scott Pritikin is a passionate coffee connoisseur who never met a roasted bean he did not want to grind and brew. GoCoffeeGo, founded by Scott and his wife Elise Papazian, is the manifestation of their love of coffee, created so their careers could surround something they enjoy.

When the couple met in 1987, Scott had spent several years as a sous chef at his father's legendary San Francisco hotel, The Mansions.

He and Elise moved together to Los Angeles and worked together in music videos with Scott directing and Elise styling wardrobes. They returned to San Francisco to manage The Mansions until its closure in 2001. Prior to envisioning GoCoffeeGo, they worked in real estate development.

To launch the company, Scott and Elise spent two years secretly ordering coffee from roasters all over the United States; brewing the beans in all possible ways -- from French presses to espresso machines -- then selecting the ones they found to be consistently impressive and high-quality.

The duo then zigzagged across the country to chase down the roasters. Visiting them where they roast, in larger cities like Seattle and Chicago and smaller towns like Leeds, Alabama and Spicewood, Texas, they approached each in person to talk about providing access to their coffees to people across the country via GoCoffeeGo.com.

Scott and Elise launched GoCoffeeGo, the ultimate destination for coffee roasted-to-order in November 2009, featuring the best artisanal micro-roasters in the country, many of whom are current and former Roast magazine "Roaster of the Year" award winners.

They added three new high-profile roasters to the site in March 2010 and plan to continue to strategically expand the offerings. They are committed to creating a Web experience where coffee lovers can have access to the best roasters across the country all on one site with the guesswork removed from the shopping experience.

Their motto is, "Whether you live in a luxury Penthouse in a metropolitan city or a shack in the backwoods, you deserve access to great coffee."

Scott lives and works in the San Francisco neighborhood of Pacific Heights. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music, cooking and eating, and playdates with his son, Oliver.

For more information, visit GoCoffeeGo.


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