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How I Make the Perfect Cup of Colombian Coffee?
I am not a coffee expert. I cannot tell you all the differences between varieties and the countries of origin. No one would call me a connoisseur. So why am I writing this article?
My friends come to my house, drink my coffee and tell me it’s the best they’ve ever had. So, I decided to write down what I know about coffee and how I make it. I hope you find it useful.
A good cup of coffee must have three things: quality coffee beans, good water, and a good brewing process. Mess with any of these three factors, and you have a cup of hot, nasty, bitter brew. No wonder so many people tell me they don’t like coffee.
Most of the coffee I drink in the USA (I live in Colombia most of the year) is weak and bitter. This is a direct result of letting accountants rule our lives.
Remember a few years ago when you stayed in a hotel and made coffee in your room? They had a little filter pack that you opened up and put in the coffee maker. Some accountant thought that if manufacturing could only take a teaspoon of coffee, no one would know the difference, thereby saving his company thousands during the year. Another accountant did the same two years later. Then it happened again. Now, I have to put two packets in the coffee maker to get a good brew.
This same process has happened in restaurants, airlines and offices. Many companies use these same types of packaging for their industrial drip coffee makers. Most of the cups of coffee I get in the US are so thin that I can almost see the bottom of the cup.
Now, this leads to a vicious cycle. This hot, bitter water that most establishments sell as coffee causes many to proclaim, “I don’t like strong coffee. It’s too bitter.” So they cut down the amount of coffee grounds they put into their coffee makers. And the result is even worse.
So, the first rule of getting a good cup of coffee is to use enough coffee. This takes some experimentation. Add enough coffee to get a rich dark brew.
That brings me to the second point about coffee. Brands are different. Some are bitter, some are smooth. My favorite is Colombian coffee. The domestic Colombian brands are the best. They are not as bitter and seem to have less caffeine than the American brands, even when they say 100% Colombian. There is one exception, Community Coffee. They don’t have nationwide distribution, but if you live within a thousand miles of New Orleans, you should be able to find it.
These domestic Colombian coffees, “Oma” and “Sello Rojo”, can be brewed dark and rich without becoming bitter.
I am amazed that people will spend fourteen dollars for a small package of ground coffee from some exotic location, and then fill their coffee maker with tap water. What do they think?
Spring water or reverse osmosis water is best. But tap water filtered through a DA filter is fine. Be sure to check your filter to see that it is removing chlorine as well as solid and bacterial debris. A Berkey filter that removes all of the above plus fluoride is the best.
Some of you up north may have good tap water, but here in Texas, a filter system is mandatory to get a good cup of coffee. I have a water softener and filter here north of Austin.
A drip type coffee maker can make a drinkable cup of coffee, but the percolator, french press, and espresso machine are so much better. The acquisition cost and cup cost of the individual cup coffee makers put them out of the running.
For me, a percolator is too slow and undersized. You wait several minutes to get two cups of coffee. The espresso machine would take up all the space on my counter, and cost too much. Yet, like the percolator, there is not enough.
The French press gives me a liter of great coffee in a third of the time of the percolator, and it’s cheap to buy. Most places charge about $40 for a french press, but IKEA has them for $16. One coffee company gives them out for free to sign up to their coffee subscription service.
For those of you unfamiliar with the French press, it works like this. You put coffee in a glass beaker. Add hot water. After you stir the grounds to get a good brew, you place a plunger in the top of the beaker and slowly press it down.
The screen at the bottom of the plunger allows the malt to pass through and squeezes the grounds to the bottom of the beaker. Now your coffee is ready to drink.
I like to add a little bit of natural sugar. This little bit of sweetness is like the driver of the intense coffee flavor.
If you must use a drip coffee maker, replace the paper filter with a fine screen. You can find them in many places, but Target seems to have the best for the cheapest price. And remember. Use plenty of coffee.
I’d love to hear how your experiments go.
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