<![CDATA[Blog]]> http://caffeforte.com/blog/ Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:11:10 +0000 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[6 Tips to Get the Best Cup from an Auto-Drip Coffee Maker]]> http://caffeforte.com/blog/6-tips-to-get-the-best-cup-from-an-auto-drip-coffee-maker/

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Brewing the best cup of coffee is undoubtedly an art. Sipping on a delicious and flavorful cup of hot coffee after you get up is a necessary morning ritual for most of us.

An auto-drip coffee maker is fast and convenient, and is the preferred choice of many. But this is not exactly the best way to make coffee. The auto-drip process does not allow all the flavors to be properly extracted and often results in a below-potential cup.

But the difference is really hard to make out for the majority of us.

Coffee-brewing involves several aspects and if you manage to work out the correct process that gives you the cup you love, then you can be assured that you will never again feel the urge to spend all that money in specialized coffee-shops.

So let’s see what the important things are that you need to keep in mind while brewing the perfect cup.

What Goes into a Cup of Coffee?

The delicious morning cup of coffee consists mainly, almost 99%, of water. You need to get the proportion of coffee to water right. This will ensure your cup tastes best with the right strength, flavor and aroma.

The heat at which your auto-drip coffee maker brews, and how long it takes to do that also affects the taste of the coffee.

The most important job you need to accomplish is to get the right coffee for brewing.

1. Get Home the Best Coffee Beans

It takes time, patience and some effort to purchase the right coffee beans. There are several varieties of coffee beans available but the best ones are rarely available at the grocery store or the supermarket.

Plan a visit to your favorite local roaster. You are bound to get fresh and flavor-packed coffee from him. Coffee goes stale quite quickly. So buy whole beans that are roasted just right.

Coffee experts suggest a medium roast for the beans. Too light and it will result in less extraction of flavors. Too dark a roast will give a bitter taste to the cup you brew. So go for medium-roasted coffee beans.

Also, do not fret if it is proving difficult to locate a trusted roaster in your area. If you want to lay your hands on the best coffee in the world get on the Internet. Connect with roasters directly and purchase the freshest coffee from around the world.

2. Grind the Beans Properly

Coffee tastes excellent when you grind the beans just before brewing. The impact that freshly-ground coffee has on taste and flavor cannot be overstated. It can greatly enhance your whole coffee experience.

Medium to medium-coarse is the recommended grind for auto-drip coffee makers. Your local roaster will be able to advise you regarding the grind if you specify the type of machine you have and whether it is a cone or a drip.

Medium grind is apt if the auto-drip coffee maker has flat bottom filter, and a medium fine grind is suitable for cone-shaped filters.

If you find your coffee lacking in flavor try a finer grind, and if you find it too strong, go for a coarser grind.

3. Water Should 'Taste' Great!

Hard water can destroy any great-tasting coffee. The resultant calcium and magnesium buildup can harm your coffee maker and make it very difficult to clean. Carbon-filtered water will remove the hardness and the unpleasant flavor of chlorine from drinking water and will leave behind all the good trace minerals.

These trace minerals are essential for the aromatic coffee oils to bind to and get transferred to our cup. Without them what we get will be a bland cup of coffee devoid of that lively snap.

Also if you are an avid coffee drinker, using the wrong water for a long time can damage your coffee maker. When the essential minerals are absent, water will pull ions from the metallic parts of the coffee maker and cause pitting of the heating element.

So make sure you use bottled or filtered water for making your coffee.

The thumb rule to getting the ratio of water to coffee right is to use one gram of coffee for 17 grams of water. Or you can think along the lines of one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for six ounces of water.

4. Ensure the Temperature Is Right

Ideally your auto-drip coffee maker should brew at temperatures in the range of 195-205 degree Fahrenheit, and should take no longer than 6 minutes. If the machine takes longer time to reach this temperature or keeps raising the heat further, chances are that you will end up with a bitter cup of coffee.

5. Do Not Forget the Filter

The type of filter you use also affects the taste of the coffee.

Paper filters are popular. They are affordable and can be disposed after use. But paper tends to absorb and retain the aromatic coffee oils, and thereby takes the punch away from your cup. Some paper filters also lend a ‘papery’ flavor to the brew. Test a few brands and choose one that is best suitable for you.

Unbleached cotton cloth filters are also popular. But they need to be washed and cleaned after each use. Otherwise they will leach rancid coffee oils on subsequent use. Cloth filters also tend to absorb coffee oils and hinder the brew from carrying all the flavors.

Metal and plastic filters are great in that they do not steal flavors from the brew and help you enjoy the full taste.

6. Do Not Let the Coffee Burn

Once you are done with the brewing remove the pot from the heating element and pour the hot coffee into a thermal carafe. This will help it stay hot without turning bitter.

Conclusion

An auto-drip coffee maker will give you a most enjoyable cup, provided you get the ingredients right. Clean equipment and freshly-roasted beans ground just before use almost always will get you a piping hot and delicious cup of coffee.

 

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Mon, 01 Dec 2014 06:05:45 +0000
<![CDATA[9 Rules for Making Great Tasting Coffee in a Coffee Maker]]> http://caffeforte.com/blog/9-rules-for-making-great-tasting-coffee-in-a-coffee-maker/

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For me, a good cup of coffee implies one that is not too strong, not too sweet and not too creamy. If, like me, you too are a connoisseur of an impeccably good brew, I’m sure you take your cuppa very seriously and spend a lot of time balancing its look, taste, texture and the aroma in perfect harmony before you sit down and sip it.

Whether you prepare coffee manually or in a machine, everything eventually boils down to its taste. Coffee machines have enabled us to experiment with this beverage and alter its elements to suit our palate. They infuse the flavors accordingly time and again with minimal supervision and deliver what we like to drink the first thing in the morning – the perfect cup of coffee!

There are, however, several things you can do to make machine-made coffee taste better. In this post, we look at how to make delicious coffee in a coffee maker.

1. Use the Best Equipment

Let’s face it - the kind of equipment you use to brew your coffee has a lot to do with the kind of coffee it churns out. Using high-quality equipment could hold the key to the best coffee you’ve ever had, which is why coffee-lovers frequent those renowned chain restaurants with their huge, shiny, professional coffee-making machines.

You may want to think about getting yourself a coffee machine as well. Pick one based on its ease of use, the amount of time it takes, the taste it adds, and the maintenance aspect. Whichever you pick, ensure that you use it properly.

2. The Temperature of the Water Matters

One might think that plain ol’ tap water would be good enough for making coffee, but the reality is that it can actually ruin your pot of coffee, thanks to its own flavor and added chlorine. People who appreciate really good coffee would know better than that. Using filtered or bottled water should help.

Do not make the mistake of using soft or distilled water as it is important that you keep the water’s natural minerals intact.

The temperature of the water used also goes a long way in determining the taste of the finished product. The proper brewing temperature can be anywhere between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit (or 45 seconds off a full boil).

The good news is that most good coffee makers take care of this aspect on their own. Water hotter than that can extract the coffee compounds in a way that leaves it tasting bitter.

Once brewed, coffee should be consumed as soon as possible as it cannot retain its best flavor for long. Heating, boiling or prolonged warming will turn even the best coffee into a bitter and unpleasant mess.

3. Buy the Best Coffee Beans

(Image credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Coffee_Beans.jpg)

Guess what’s the most important component of making good coffee? The coffee itself. When you use it, it should be fresh and aromatic. Typically, coffee stays fresh for two weeks, if refrigerated in an airtight container. It tastes best, however, when it is freshly ground.

Do check the best-before date on the package when buying coffee beans. Buying them can be quite tricky for amateurs as they vary greatly in character depending on their variety, origin, and roast. You can look at this as an opportunity to experiment.

The beans should be whole and roasted within the past few weeks. Lightly roasted ones are a very safe option. With darker roasts, you may have to be careful as they might look and taste like they’re burnt.

4. Grind the Coffee Right before Brewing It

Once the coffee beans are roasted, they become perishable and extremely delicate as the coffee compounds tend to start deteriorating rapidly upon coming in contact with oxygen. This has a direct adverse effect on its flavor.

This is why it is always better to grind your coffee just before brewing it as doing so keeps the compounds intact. This is an easy step to improve the taste of your coffee.

5. Don’t Skimp on the Coffee

Some like it strong, others love it mild. But the standard measure for brewing coffee of proper strength is 2 tablespoon per 6-ounce cup.

Stick to this ratio for the perfect brew and do not even think about adding hotter water to extract more cups of coffee as doing so will result in a bitter, repulsive beverage.

6. Time It Right

If you’re using the increasingly popular French press to make your coffee, then I have an important tip for you. When brewing the perfect cup of coffee, getting the timing right is crucial to getting the taste right.

Make sure you pour just enough water to moisten the coffee grounds and allow it to absorb the water before you fill the cafetiere. Let it settle. Stir and then add the plunger to keep it warm. Let it rest for around 4 minutes, stir, plunge, and then pour into mugs.

7. Store the Coffee Properly

(Image credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/Linea_doubleespresso.jpg)

Typically, it is advised to buy coffee beans in small quantities so that you do not have to use it stale. But if you’re left with some which you’re not going to use immediately, put them in an airtight container and store them away from sunlight.

If it’s going to take a long time for you to brew the coffee, store the beans in the refrigerator to make them last longer.

8. Keep the Equipment Clean

It is important to clean the storage containers and the coffee grinders once every few weeks to eliminate any kind of buildup.

Run a strong solution of vinegar or special coffee-equipment cleaner through your coffee maker at least once every month to disband mineral deposits.

Always rinse the equipment carefully before reuse.

9. If You Must Add Milk

A lot of people like adding milk to their coffee, which is absolutely fine. But keep in mind that you add warm milk (as opposed to hot milk) as hot milk will rob the coffee of its flavor. Alternatively, you can also add cold milk to it.

Conclusion

Having a coffee maker at home is great for coffee lovers as it enables them to sip their favorite beverage whenever they please without having to step out of the house. It is important you understand how it works and what goes into using it optimally. The above tips should come in handy the next time you try to stir up a cup of coffee.  

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Sat, 29 Nov 2014 07:11:49 +0000
<![CDATA[How to Choose the Best Coffee Maker]]> http://caffeforte.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-best-coffee-maker/  

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Coffee being an instant energy-booster is used by millions around the world as a stimulant. For some making coffee is a morning ritual. Their morning cup gives them the ‘kick’ they need to start the day. And then there are those who spend hundreds of dollars a year at expensive coffee shops. Fortunately, it is now possible to skip such overpriced coffee, thanks to the modern coffee machines. A quality coffee maker is all you need to brew a perfect cup of coffee at home.

Evolution of the Coffee Machine

Though the discovery of coffee is generally attributed to an Ethiopian shepherd, the first coffee maker was made by one Mr. Laurens of Paris, France in 1818. Much of its history has been lost to the ages. This machine was a rudimentary percolator-type coffee maker in which water was boiled in a lower chamber until it reached the desired flavor and color. The percolator was patented in the late 19th century.

Electronic coffee makers came on the scene in the early 20th century and remained popular until the 1970s when automatic drip coffee machines began dominating the world of coffee-brewing equipment.

Selecting a coffee maker is often like sorting through a morass. There are a myriad of machines and tools available, and each has its pros and cons. While shopping for a coffee maker this is the first thing you need to keep in mind. In addition, consider flavor as well as other features you need along with your budget.

Types of Coffee Makers

A large variety of coffee makers are available in the market to choose from. From single-serve coffee machines to drip coffee makers, the options are numerous. You need to first consider these features when shopping for the perfect coffee maker.

Percolator

Percolator coffee machines are making a comeback; the variety, however, is limited especially in the electric models. Stove-top percolators are popular with campers, while electric percolator coffee machines are common for home use.

Pros: Electric percolators have an easy-to-use keep-warm setting. Besides, these machines are durable. The stove-top variety comes with no counter clutter and users can regulate the brewing time, though constant monitoring is required.

Cons: The coffee turns bitter and takes a lot of time to brew. Stove-top percolators need electric cooktop or gas and it is difficult to keep the machine warm.

French Press

Made of glass or stainless steel receptacle, a French Press coffee maker is more popular in European countries. It includes a lid with a plunger as well as a screen filter. Coffee purists are in favor of French Press because of its supreme quality coffee. But the flavor generally depends on the skill of the brewer.

Pros: It allows total control over brewing time and temperature and produces richer, fuller flavor.

Cons: The flavor depends on the brewer’s skills as this coffee maker is non-programmable and not automatic. It needs constant monitoring.

Automatic Drip Coffee Maker

Widely used by Americans, automatic drip coffee makers come with a built-in heater that keeps the coffee warm. Some of these machines also have brew timers, which means you can wake up to a fresh cup of coffee every morning.

Pros: With convenient features, drip coffee makers require less monitoring. They are programmable and fast.

Cons: The price range varies greatly depending on the features and you will also need to purchase filters. There is no option to regulate water temperature, a major issue when brewing different types of beans.

Note: Stove-top drip coffee makers are good options for campers. They have a 12-cup capacity, but are only made by the Coleman brand.

Single Serve

These one-cup coffee makers are known for quick and clean serving but require more patience on the user’s part. Use pre-measured ready-to-use pods, coffee capsules, or K-cups.

Pros: They are convenient and produce great flavor.

Cons: The prices are on the higher side and they are also expensive to operate. Besides, K-cups or pods are harder to find.

Espresso Machine

If you prefer highly concentrated, dark and rich coffee, go for an Espresso machine. This is the secret of an Italian café that serves highly caffeinated experience and the finest flavor and aroma in a cup of coffee.

Pros: Ideal for gourmet coffee and brings out the full potential of the coffee beans.

Cons: They are time-consuming to use and are more expensive than other coffee makers.

Other Factors

Capacity: Consider your family size while buying a coffee machine. If you want to make lots of espressos, go for one with a larger water tank. Single spouts are better for those staying alone and who only need one cup of coffee at a time.

Size and weight: This is an important factor to consider. Decide where you will keep this appliance. If you are planning to travel with your coffee machine, opt for one that is light in weight, smaller in size and easier to carry.

Brand: Being a luxury lifestyle product, it is advisable to choose a premium brand when shopping for a coffee maker. If you are on budget, high street and supermarket brands can also be a good choice as long as you know their features.

Ease of use: This is another important factor you need to consider. We often decide on a particular brand or a product seeing it in a coffee shop. It might look easy to operate there because they have skilled staff handling them. In reality it is often challenging to get to grips with a coffee maker. Go for one that is easy to operate and don’t forget the star rating.

Making Your Decision

To buy the perfect coffee maker it is important to consider the time and effort it would take to brew a cup of hot and flavorful coffee. Price is another important factor. Speciality and drip coffee makers are good options though expensive. You must also consider the maintenance and operation cost of the machine. Finally, remember that sipping on a delicious cup of coffee is a luxury; do not compromise on the features just to save a few bucks.

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Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:08:33 +0000
<![CDATA[5 Tips for Brewing Coffee Using a Manual Coffee Maker]]> http://caffeforte.com/blog/5-tips-for-brewing-coffee-using-a-manual-coffee-maker/

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If the art of brewing a perfect cup of coffee every day entices you more than the thought of having to simply push a button to relish your cuppa right after you wake up, a manual coffee maker is definitely the way to go. You'll miss out on the convenience of an automatic coffee machine, but a manual one will make up for that in more ways than one.

A manual coffee machine allows you to brew your coffee with more control and precision. As such, you’ll get coffee just the way you like it. Your cup of manually brewed coffee will also be more flavorful and aromatic than any you've ever had.

Here are a few tips that will help you brew better manually.

Brew Only with the Freshest

Coffee, whether beans or ground, needs to be fresh so you can get the best out of it. Exposure to air, light, and heat can greatly affect the quality of coffee.

You can get freshly roasted coffee beans from your local roaster or specialty shops in your area. Remember to only purchase an amount that will last for a week or two. Coffee beans can be considered fresh even if they were roasted six months back but packed in a vacuum-sealed or nitrogen-flushed bag that you haven't yet opened.

While coffee that has been freshly ground is preferable, you can store a small quantity of ground coffee in an air-tight container in a cool place for a short time. Store coffee beans in the same way.

Always prefer coffee beans to ground coffee as the oxidization process begins the moment the beans are ground. The natural oils and flavor of the beans are released to the surrounding air the moment they are ground.

Grind Beans Evenly

You can choose to buy a blade grinder for your coffee beans. Blade grinders look like food processors and have a flat blade at the bottom that cuts through the beans in a circular motion. They can be used to grind coffee beans if you don't want to spend a lot of money on a grinder.

However, blade grinders are unable to grind beans evenly which can lead to the finer grains of coffee to be over-extracted and the coarse grains to be under-extracted. It is useless to go on grinding the coffee to achieve an even grain as the heat build-up during the process will destroy the flavor of the coffee.

Mill grinders or burr grinders can grind coffee beans evenly and you should definitely get one for yourself. The burrs may slightly shift over time so instead of relying on the numbered dial controls, rub coffee between your thumb and fingers to feel the grind and adjust settings accordingly.

Decide on the Best Size of Coffee Grain

Depending on the manual filter method you use to brew your coffee, you’ll need to decide the size of the coffee grind. If you are using a Chemex filter, a medium grind of about 0.5mm should suffice to prevent hot water flowing through the filter too quickly. This grind size also works for other manual filter methods. For a press pot, start with a coarse grind of 1mm to prevent coffee from passing through the sieve.

You can always adjust the size of the grind depending on the taste of brewed coffee. Assess your coffee- if it is bitter, it is possible the coffee grains are being over-extracted and you’ll need to keep the coffee grains coarse. On the other hand, if the coffee is flat in taste, it might be because the coffee grains are under-extracted. Grinding the coffee fine will help in this case.

Pay Attention to the Water

Filtered water is the best you can use to brew your coffee. Avoid using distilled water as the minerals found in water can actually enhance the flavor of your coffee. As such, you can use tap water but do taste it first. If the water straight from your tap tastes of too much chlorine or other chemicals, avoid it.

Use a kettle that can give you fine control over water as you pour it over the coffee during the extraction process. Furthermore, use the kettle specifically to heat water; you don't want other residue in it that can affect the flavor of your brew.

The temperature of water also plays an important role when it comes to brewing amazing coffee. Cold water will not be able to extract the goodness of the coffee, while very hot water will cause the coffee to lose taste. A temperature of 195°F to 205°F is optimal for brewing coffee. You can boil water and leave it aside for a minute before pouring it over the coffee for best results.

Never use water that has been previously boiled and cooled to brew coffee.

Enjoy Immediately!

Brewed coffee is meant to be enjoyed right away so brew only as much as you will consume immediately. You can pour the coffee into a warmed mug or cup to maintain its temperature. Pour it into a warmed thermos if you intend to consume it about 30 minutes later.

Never leave coffee on the burner for longer than 15 minutes or re-heat it. Doing so imparts a burnt taste to your coffee.

Smell the aroma, sip slowly, and savor the taste of your artwork. Note how it tastes a lot better, and also compare tastes when using different coffee beans, or making minor changes while brewing.

Measure out quantities of coffee and water for your reference every time until you find what excites your taste-buds the most.

Happy brewing!

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Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:17:26 +0000