Ah Java, that elixir of the Gods. If you’re a fellow devotee of the mighty bean, then you feel me. Life is simply too short for a crappy cup of coffee. But there is hope. You can actually make the best coffee you’ve ever had, yourself, at home, with just a little guidance. Not only does it taste great, but it’s also way cheaper than going to your local Starb#@ks.
Awesome Coffee 101
#1. Toss your automatic coffee maker in the trash, (or rather, recycle it) and get a French Press. I know it may seen drastic, but they are simply incapable of creating a tasty cup of joe. Why? The main reason is the water temperature. Most machines do not get the water hot enough and cannot regulate the temperature as it pours through the grinds. (It is also my humble opinion that the filter alters the taste of the coffee.)
#2 The Beans. Quality beans are of the utmost importance. Always choose freshly roasted beans. This means you may have to make an extra stop at your local roasters, but it is oh so worth it, trust me. No more stale old bags of grocery store coffee for you! Always get whole bean coffee, and grind it yourself, right before you brew. Buy only a pound at a time (unless you have a huge coffee-swigging family) and store your beautiful beans in an airtight container, no need to freeze them. (Denver-Alert! See below for my favorite source of great beans, and how to get them at a big discount! For you out-of-towners, they ship, too)
#3 The Grind. The most important purchase you can make for great tasting coffee is a burr grinder. Be sure and grind your beans fresh, right before you make your morning cup. Why a burr grinder? Frankly, blade grinders suck. They provide an inconsistent grind, and tend to over-heat and even burn the beans. The more even the grind, the better the coffee. I know, burr grinders are more expensive, but essential. You can find good deals on them used on Ebay, and if you’re lucky like me, you’ll find a good one at the thrift store for $7.99…
#4 Good water. Use filtered water, it really does make a difference.
Now that you have the Awesome Coffee Basics, let’s get brewing…
First, gather what you need. French Press, fresh beans, burr grinder, filtered water, tablespoon measure, and a timer. (there are fancy coffee timers out there, but a decent kitchen timer will do the trick)
Start your water to boil on the stove, then grind your beans in your burr grinder. Be sure and double-check that it is set to the “french press” setting.
Measure about 8 tablespoons of fresh grounds for a typical 32 oz French Press. (you can adjust this to your taste)
When your water starts boiling, turn off the burner and let it sit for just a second. Don’t pour boiling water over the grounds. (and don’t let it sit longer than a few seconds or it will cool off too much). Pour the hot water steady, slow and even to fully saturate the grounds. Don’t fill to the top, but to the bottom of the “ring” on the press. (Otherwise you’ll just make a big mess when it’s time to plunge).
Start your 4-minute timer. After about a minute, stir it gently and put the top on. Don’t push the plunger down just yet, you have 3 minutes to go…
At four minutes, it’s time to push down the plunger. Move slow and steady until it reaches the bottom.
Now it’s time to pour and enjoy your delicious coffee however you like. (I like it with a little agave and half n half, my man drinks it black) Be sure and pour right away, don’t let your coffee sit in the press or it will turn bitter. If you are not planning to drink it all right away, pour the extra into a carafe to keep it warm.
Now it’s time for our DENVER-ALERT! The Best Beans in Town (in my opinion) at the Best Price. PABLO’S. Pablo’s has two Denver locations, one at 6th and Corona, and the newest location at 13th and Pennsylvania. I’ve been getting all my beans there for about 3 years now. Both locations sell their awesome fresh-roasted beans, roasted daily less than a mile away. (www.pabloscoffee.com)
Here’s the Secret to getting a great deal on beans at Pablo’s. Two things. One, Tuesday is 20% off pound o’ beans day. That makes it about $12 instead of the usual $14 for a full pound of bean-y goodness. Two, ask for a bean punch card (you have to ask, they don’t have them out on the counter) When you buy 6 pounds, you get the seventh pound FREE. (they also have cup punch cards, if you just can’t resist getting a brewed cup, or my favorite, the Americano, while you’re there.) If you buy all your beans on Tuesdays (I do!) and use your punch card, it comes out to roughly $10.30 per glorious pound of beans after you average in the freebee. Can’t beat that for fresh roasted beans. They have many great varieties of beans. I’ve tried many of them and have not ever been disappointed, but I do usually go back to the Danger Monkey blend. It’s a good one, I highly recommend it. And speaking of Pablo’s…
WIN FREE COFFEE FOR A YEAR!! (Denver-area Only)
Pablo’s has generously offered an awesome prize. One pound of coffee per month for a year, FREE! (that’s about a $168 value!)
WE HAVE A WINNER!! Congratulations Anna Newell Jones! You’ll be enjoying fabulous Pablo’s Coffee for the next year, gratis! Enjoy, and thank you all who entered the contest!
NOTES: There are many other ways to make a good coffee, including the Aeropress, Chemex, and of course good ‘ol espresso. If you want to explore these other methods, try the Stumptown website for some great tutorials: http://stumptowncoffee.com/brew-guides/ or ask the folks at Pablo’s or your favorite local roaster for their recommendations. For good notes on methods and equipment, check out : www.home-barista.com and www.coffeegeek.com
Disclaimer: Marie Vlasic and the Year of Living Fabulously are receiving NO COMPENSATION from Pablo’s Coffee for this blog or the contest. (I actually just really love their coffee). Denver has several good coffee roasters, you can check them out here: https://www.google.com/search?q=Denver+coffee+roasters