Expert Tips For Brewing Great-Tasting Coffee at Home

(ARA) - Have you ever brewed a cup of coffee at home and wished it tasted as good as the cup you get from your favorite cafe? A lot of steps go into making the perfect cup of coffee, but they are all simple ones you can follow at home.

"Baristas use a set of quality standards to handcraft the best, most consistent cup of coffee every time," explains Jason Simpson of Starbucks. "With the right brewing knowledge and a little bit of practice, anyone can make a great cup of coffee in their own kitchen."

Automatic drip and espresso machines are two of the most commonly used brewing methods. However, most coffee enthusiasts prefer using a coffee press at home, as this method helps to highlight the full flavor of the coffee. "Brewing a coffee such as Galápagos San Cristóbal from the Starbucks Reserve collection with a coffee press lets its distinct herbal, cocoa and spice flavors shine through," Simpson says.

According to Simpson, the recipe for a great cup of coffee brewed through any at-home method includes four basic fundamentals:

* Proportion: The general rule for making coffee is to use 2 tablespoons (10 grams) of ground coffee for each 6 ounces (180 milliliters) of water. Too few grounds results in over-extracted or bitter coffee while too many grounds will result in coffee that does not achieve its full flavor.

* Grind: A grind that is too fine will trap water and result in a bitter brew, while a grind that is too coarse can leave coffee weak and without distinguishing flavor characteristics. Different brewing methods and filters require different grinds. Generally, a coffee press requires a coarser grind whereas an automatic drip machine works best with medium ground beans. If you're unsure of which grind to use, ask your local barista for a suggestion.

* Water: Coffee is 98 percent water, so the quality of water used when brewing greatly affects the final taste of coffee. Always use clean, fresh water that is filtered or free of impurities. Water should be heated to just off boiling (195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 to 96 degrees Celsius) as it does the best job of extracting the coffee's full range of flavors at this temperature. Water that is too cool will mute the flavor and dull the coffee's aroma.

* Freshness: Always store coffee beans or grounds in an airtight container at room temperature and try to use within one week. Storing coffee in the refrigerator or freezer can result in unwanted moisture from condensation and is not recommended for daily use. Coffee should be ground fresh each time it is made in order to maintain flavor and freshness of the coffee beans. Brewed coffee should always be stored in a thermal carafe and never left on the burner or reheated.

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