10 Essential Tips for Making Great Coffee at Home

Perfect-Coffee-Cover

Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez went to college together, served in the Marines in Afghanistan, then, after returning home, stumbled upon the world of specialty coffee and began “an obsessive quest to brew the perfect cup.” That quest resulted in the publication of an interactive digital book designed for the iPad. Perfect Coffee at Home ($4.99) uses illustrations, interactive graphics, videos and a soundtrack to make the tutorial “an immersive experience.” But you don’t need to foot the bill or have an iPad to improve your coffee making skills.

Over at The Atlantic, Haft and Suarez gave some free advice last week, publishing an article where they, among other things, enumerated 10 essential tips for making coffee. They boiled things down to this:

  1. Buy good coffee beans. Preferably whole beans, sustainably farmed, and roasted within the past few weeks.
  2. Grind your coffee just before brewing. They say, “it’s the number one thing you can do to improve your coffee at home.”
  3. Store your coffee properly. Keep the coffee in an airtight container, away from sunlight. Try to avoid freezing the beans, unless they’re going to linger for more than two weeks.
  4. Use a good amount of coffee, and the right proportion of coffee to water. The ideal is what they call “The Golden Ratio,” 17.42 units of water to 1 unit of coffee.
  5. Find the right grind size for your coffee beans and aim for a uniform grind.
  6. Control the temperature of your water. Keep it somewhere between 195 and 202 degrees. Boiling water can sour the coffee.
  7. If you get really skilled, you can agitate the coffee during the brewing to control the taste.
  8. Focus on technique. And once you learn the right technique, make sure you’re precise and consistent.
  9. Use quality tools. Buy the right bean grinder and coffee maker. Make a good investment in your coffee drinking future.
  10. When experimenting with the brewing process, adjust only one variable at a time so you can accurately track results.

The Atlantic article offers more detail than what we’ve highlighted above. So we’d encourage you to give “How to Make Perfect Coffee” a read. You can also find short video primers on the Haft & Suarez YouTube Channel. If you have your own great coffee making tips, definitely share them with us in the comments sections below. We want to know!

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  1. Bart says . . . | August 26, 2013 / 7:57 am

    Keep water between 195 and 202 degrees, so it doesn’t boil? I’ve tried, but my water keeps boiling and evaporating at 100 degrees (Celsius).

    Keeping it between 90.6 degrees Celsius to 94.4 degrees Celsius seems to work better.

  2. Chris says . . . | August 26, 2013 / 9:43 am

    “… The ideal is what they call “The Golden Ratio,” 17.42 units of water to 1 unit of coffee.” Is this by volume, or by weight?

  3. Margaret Rose STRINGER says . . . | August 26, 2013 / 1:06 pm

    All wonderful. But how in the name of all the gods does on control the water temperature ANYWAY?!
    Too much mystique in the fine art of coffee brewing. Too much open to argument that’s never resolved. Everyone with a different opinion.
    The day I find all the experts agreeing on anything will be a truly red-letter one.

  4. Ben says . . . | August 26, 2013 / 10:04 pm

    I drink bulletproof-coffee… I’ve been a coffee drinker for a long time but this stuff is just out of this world. I get such a smooth flow of energy that just gets me in the mood to get things done. Somehow it really calms my mind and super-focuses it. Whereas other coffees I just get the jitters and can’t think straight worth a damn. If you want some of the best coffee on the planet, get bulletproof-coffee. If you want to read about why its so amazing, check out this link. Read about their MCT oil as well if you want even more of an energy boost.

    https://www.onnit.com/bulletproof-coffee/?a_aid=Solstice

  5. Mahlon Boehs says . . . | August 30, 2013 / 4:17 pm

    Amen to buying quality beans. Don’t buy the cheapest brand at the supermarket because the beans matter!

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