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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!