Brewed Coffee

How to make a perfect cup

Brewing great coffee isn't difficult, but you have to mind the details.

How We Brew Our Coffee

Watch Major Cohen of Starbucks cover the fundamentals of brewing.

Five elements of great brewed coffee.

Cleanliness:

Keep your grinding and brewing equipment clean. Ground coffee goes stale within hours. If you're grinding whole bean coffee, clean the grinder after every use to avoid imparting a stale taste to your next batch.

Freshness:

Air is the enemy of coffee, so grind beans just before you brew. Protect beans and ground coffee from exposure to light, heat, moisture and other strong aromas. Don't hold brewed coffee on a warmer; if you must hold it, pour it into a preheated carafe.

Proportion:

Use at least 2 level tablespoons for each 5- to 6-ounce cup.

Grind:

Use the right grind for your equipment. Rule of thumb: The shorter the contact between ground coffee and water, the finer the grind. A coffee press calls for a medium to coarse grind because of the relatively long steeping time. Electric and manual drip models require a fine grind, with an even finer grind for espresso.

Water:

Coffee is 98 percent water, so water quality is critical. Start with cold, freshly drawn filtered or spring water, not chlorinated water straight from the tap. Ideal brewing temperature is around 200°F, not right off the boil. Bring water to a boil, then let it rest for a minute or two. Never re-boil water for coffee.