All About Making Great Coffee

Wow, was I amazed when I did a Google search on “making great coffee” … the number (massive) of sites that have people willing to tell you how to do something is awe-inspiring.

I make coffee in a retail style drip coffee maker. We buy Starbucks whole beans and use a Bodum Bistro electric coffee grinder. The water is filtered by a counter-top model from Brita and is just our local (Palm Springs) tap water. Nothing fancy and nothing to “rocket-scientisty” to this.

I like using a mid-priced coffee maker and realizing that it has a useful lifespan of a year or so, depending on brand and local water. After that the heating coil (in spite of the cleaning feature on most of them) will be coated with the rocky stuff from the water and not heat properly. Throw it away and buy a new one. The limitations or features I choose are to have it work. I prefer glass carafes over the thermal ones. My choice used to be the other way around, but the thermals don't always keep hot and I take the glass carafe off the coffee maker as soon as it has finished brewing and put it on the granite counter (if you don't have stone or tile, then use a trivet). As the coffee cools, I just “nuke” it to reheat in my cup.

I get respectable and decent good coffee. I don't get great, fantastic or spectacular. For that, the requirement goes up to having a great espresso maker (notice there is no “x” in espresso – it ain't effin' expresso). And as an affordable alternative, the “French” press.

Let's talk a bit about caffeine and how that works. For some of us, the level of caffeine is not important and for some it is. As a general guideline, the more roasted a coffee bean is the less caffeine remains. So the massively oily Italian roasts will have much less (sometimes even less than a mild roast de-caf) of the caffeine. Another thing to bear in mind is that coffee has a large number of volatile oils that will add or subtract flavor … much like chocolate and so the darker roasts will have less of these flavors.

Experiment and see what “floats your boat” in terms of the beans, the grind and the method. Add your favorite sweetener if you choose and your favorite “lightener” – mine is regular Half-n-Half (not that fat free abomination).

And, in the end, it is all up to you to get what you want. I get what I want and expect everyone else to do the same. Drink it up and enjoy.