5 Ways to Make Better Coffee at Home
1. Experiment with taste.
Coffee is a lot like wine—the soil, altitude, and growing region can actually change the body, taste, and mouthfeel of the finished product. Generally speaking, African coffees generally taste fruitier, brighter, and more acidic, while South American coffees have fuller body, and taste sweet, nutty, or chocolatey. Experiment with various growing regions to see which ones you like best. There's even a fun little book where you try 33 different cups of coffee and record your favorites for future reference.
2. Don't ever put your coffee in the freezer.
Coffee cherries, like most fruits, are made of water. Even after the roasting process, two to three percent water remains in the beans. When you freeze your beans or grounds, that water turns to ice and can zap them of all their aroma and flavor. As you may already know, coffee grounds are a great way to get rid of funky smells because they soak up odors. Translation? That salmon you have in your freezer is also being absorbed by your coffee. Store beans in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for the best brew.
3. Grind size and brew time matters.
To achieve the coffee shop flavor and aroma you love, buy whole beans and grind them just before brewing. The way you grind your beans and brew your coffee ultimately affects the taste, so it's best to have a plan of attack. For espresso or Turkish coffee, stick to a fine grind; use a medium grind for drip brewers; for Chemex or pour over, medium-coarse grind is best; and always use a coarse grind for French press. If you're frequently making coffee at home and want the most accurate grind size, invest in an automatic Burr grinder.
4. Test your water.
Water hardness and pH can negatively affect the way your cup of Joe tastes. For the best brew, every time, use filtered water. It may sound a little fussy, but your taste buds will thank you for taking the extra step.
5. Store your coffee the right way.
Ever noticed that your coffee bag has a little valve on the front? It's there for a reason—the valve allows carbon dioxide to escape and prevents oxygen from entering. Once coffee comes in contact with oxygen, it begins to stale and lose flavor in less than 60 seconds. Store your beans in an airtight container and only open right before brewing.