Coffee is a bit of a passion for the team here at Elua. When done right, coffee is one of life’s small pleasures, something equivalent to a good wine or cheese but with less calories. We’ve learned a lot about how to make good coffee over the years and wanted to use this blog post to share our experiences with you.
- Good Water. While this may seem biased, a good cup of coffee really does start with good water. There are only two ingredients in coffee; coffee and water. Chlorine is great for bleaching your whites or scrubbing your cutting board with but less so when added to your coffee. If you can taste or smell chlorine in the water you are using to make your coffee with now, then you have an easy opportunity to improve your coffee. The Finecel 3-Stage Water Filtration System from Elua is certified to remove 97.5% of the chlorine found in municipal tap water while also removing over 51 other contaminants such as cysts, lead, mercury and VOCs such as Benzene, none of which you want in your cup of coffee.
- Freshly Ground Coffee. Moving on to the second ingredient in coffee… good quality and freshly ground coffee is a must. The difference between a cup of coffee made from a 1 kg can of factory ground coffee and freshly ground whole bean coffee is like the difference between a plastic wrapped slice of processed cheese and a 10 year old white cheddar from Quebec. Buy small amounts of beans and grind each morning with a burr grinder. Don’t get tempted by the $20 rotary blade grinders marketed for coffee and spices as these often produce an uneven and burnt grind. If on a budget, check out the beautiful line of hand cranked coffee grinders from Hario which start at $30.
- Good Coffee. While you don’t need to buy premium coffee beans picked from the clouds or digested by cats or elephants for $500 per pound, you will notice dramatic improvements when buying from a respected roaster, especially one who roasts to order. This means that they roast your beans 12-24 hours before shipping your order for maximum freshness. Some of the best coffee beans in North America can be purchased for less than $12 per pound. Our favourite roaster is Red Bird Coffee. Jeff at Red Bird Coffee sources some amazing beans and is a very talented roaster.
- Brewing Method. Once you have good water and freshly ground beans from a reputable roaster, how to brew a good cup of coffee is where there is lots of room for fun and exploration. From pour over to espresso to French press to vacuum pots or even mocha pots, all of these methods make superb coffee. And while each has some basic guidelines and tips and tricks, they are quite simple and easy to find online. Instead of telling you which will work best for you, I’d like to tell you some methods which you should probably avoid. These would be coffee percolators, drip coffee makers which use flat bottom basket style filters and any type of automatic drip brewers which can’t get the water up to the optimum temperature for brewing which is 190 F.
- Filters. Lastly, coffee filters are more important than you might think. Unless you are using a mocha pot or French press, good quality paper coffee filters really can make a better cup of coffee. Equally important to a good coffee filter is rinsing it out with hot water immediately prior to use. Try rinsing out a filter and smelling the water which has been ran through the filter. Rinsing helps get rid of fine paper particulate and paper odour while also pre-heating your favourite mug. To make your coffee more environmentally friendly, try a good quality, reusable metal or fabric filter. Organic cotton is the best but does require storage in a jar of water between uses to prevent the oils caught from the coffee from going funky.
Even if you can only incorporate one or two of the tips above, I promise that you will enjoy a better cup of coffee. Incorporate all 5 and you are on your way to becoming an official coffee connoisseur, wowing your family and co-workers while truly enjoying one of the small pleasures of life.
Have a good coffee story to share? Tell us what your favourite brewing method is or what the most perfect cup of coffee you’ve ever had was and what made it so special.