In recent years, coffee has taken the world by storm with coffee shops on nearly every corner. But $5 a pop can add up fast, not to mention the calories in coffee shop drinks. Learn to brew the best coffee at home and you’ll enjoy warming up with the perfect cuppa all winter long. Plus, moderate coffee consumption has been shown to actually be good for you.
There are a lot of coffee maker options for the home brewer. Single-cup machines, like Keurig, can be a good option if you are a light coffee drinker and just need a quick way to make a cup on your way out the door in the morning. Traditional drip coffee brewers are often preferred for households with multiple moderate coffee drinkers. Jodi Conachen, General Manager of Communications for Community Coffee, prefers a French press.
“If you have the time, a French press provides a great tasting cup of coffee. Use course-ground beans so the strainer can keep grounds from getting in the finished drink,” Conachen said.
What type of coffee you choose is mainly a matter of taste. Light coffees, such as breakfast blends, tend to be less bitter. Medium-roast coffees, which is where most house blends fall, are a good option if you want a stronger coffee flavor that fits any mood or time of day. Coffee aficionados may prefer dark roasts, like Columbian beans and French roast coffees.
If you’re enjoying coffee with food, say an after-dinner coffee with dessert, Conachen recommends this simple pairing guide:
- Light roasts (Breakfast blends and blondes): donuts, croissants and fruity desserts
- Medium roasts (House blends): most pies, such as pecan, chocolate or fruit pies
- Dark roasts (Columbian, Sumatran): rich chocolates, mousses and crèmes
Whatever coffee you choose, Conachen says, “Read your brewer’s instructions. Generally, two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water will create a great flavor, but different brewers may have different specifications.”
Too much coffee can make you jittery, but don’t despair if you’ve had all the coffee you need for the day yet still crave its tasty tang. English breakfast teas have been enjoyed as a hot morning beverage for centuries. Earl grey tea is another classic favorite. Yerba mate has increased in popularity in recent years, with a flavor that is dark and has hints of tobacco. Be aware that these coffee alternatives may contain caffeine, so if you are trying to avoid jitteriness, look for decaf options of these teas.
You can also cook with coffee. Try adding coffee grounds to spicy dry rubs for meat and vegetables. Or, replace some liquid in a chocolate cake recipe with strong coffee. A little coffee can also add robust flavor to soups and sauces.
And remember, when you pour that first hot cup in the morning, take a moment to enjoy the aroma.