When purchasing coffee, always ask when it was roasted. Many common misconceptions exist when it comes to judging the freshness and optimum time to experience a roasted coffee at its peak of perfection. Generally coffee is best if used a day or two after roasting, and if kept in an air tight container, flavor should not diminish significantly until after seven to ten days. Old coffee beans may appear very oily, will have little or no aroma, or will take on a somewhat unpleasant aroma.
Never grind more coffee than you will use for immediate brewing. Once the beans are ground, the flavorful oils are exposed to the damaging air. As these oils dissipate, so will the flavor of your coffee. Once ground, coffee will begin to lose its flavor almost immediately. Different methods of brewing will require different grind consistencies. Typically, coffee used for drip brewing should be ground to a consistency similar to granulated sugar. The complete drip cycle should occur within four to six minutes. If the drip cycle is completed in less than four minutes, grind your coffee finer. If the cycle takes longer than six minutes, grind your coffee coarser. When using a French press, the coffee will need to be ground extremely coarse. Espresso requires an extremely fine grind...almost powder-like with a slight grittiness. The key to the proper espresso grind is the extraction time. After the proper dose and tamp, one ounce of espresso should be extracted in approximately 25 to 30 seconds. Like drip coffee, if the one ounce extraction occurs in less than 25 seconds, grind your coffee finer. If the extraction occurs in longer than 30 seconds, grind your coffee coarser. Talk to you local coffee professional for additional information.
Never store your coffee in the refrigerator. Coffee will absorb flavors and aromas from other food products in your refrigerator. Freezing coffee can also have a damaging effect, and we do not recommend this practice unless you will not use-up your supply of coffee for a prolonged period of time [two weeks or more]. Coffee should be stored in a clean, dry, airtight container, in a cool, dark place.
When making brewed coffee, allow 2 to 2 1/2 level tablespoons for each 6 ounces of water [3 tablespoons for 8 ounces]. For espresso, allow 7 to 8 grams for a single shot, and 14 to 16 grams for a double shot.
You will want to grind or have your coffee ground to a very coarse consistency for this method. If your grind is too fine, you will over extract your coffee and a bitter flavor may result. It will also be difficult or impossible for you to push the plunger down in your pot if the grind is too fine. Now here is an application for your French press that you probably don't know about. Heat a cup of milk [non-fat works best] in a sauce pan on your stove or in a microwave. It should be heated just until it is too hot to put your finger in it. Don't overheat or you will scald the milk. Next, pour the milk into your clean, empty French press. Insert the plunger, and pump the plunger up and down like a butter churn for several minutes. The milk will expand and increase in volume by three or four times, creating beautiful frothed milk for cappuccinos and lattes.
It is an old Italian secret to mound the coffee grounds high in the filter basket of the Moka pot before screwing the two pieces together. Do not compact the coffee! To ensure a tight seal, be sure to wipe the rim of the bottom of the pot with your finger to remove any grounds. When the top half of the pot is screwed on, the grounds will be compacted by the filter screen. You should end up with a dry, compacted puck of coffee grounds at the end of brewing.
Be sure to use a filter, which is designed to fit your filter basket. Bleached white paper filters are most common, however unbleached brown filter papers are usually available. Permanent gold-plated wire mesh filters also work very well and are environmentally friendly.
When selecting a machine for home, look for one that will drive the water through the coffee with the aid of a pump vs. a steam driven machine. A good pump machine will usually cost $200 to $1,000, but the investment is worth it if you are serious about enjoying tasty espresso. It is our opinion that a steam driven machine [the typical $49 model] will not produce a palatable product. We suggest you use a Moka pot if you have a limited budget to invest in equipment. Beautiful milk froth can be created for cappuccinos with a plunger pot. (See French Press)
Coffee is a seed of a berry. A common myth alleges that coffee was originally discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi. After watching his heard of goats become frisky after eating berries from this unknown bush, he ate them himself, and found these berries gave him a renewed vigor.
Coffee has been studied for more than a century. For every report that alleges a potential health risk, another may discredit or show benefits. It is generally agreed that pregnant women should limited their coffee consumption. Did you know that drinking a cup of coffee can help calm an acute attack of asthma? Coffee has many positive effects.