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Brewing the Perfect Cup

If you're unsure how to brew the perfect cup of coffee at home or which coffees will compliment certain foods, then you are in the right place!

Choose an article below.

Brewing the Perfect Cup
Brewing Coffee in a Percolator
Which Coffee to Serve?

Brewing the Perfect Cup

We always get the question: "How do I make the perfect cup of coffee at home?" It is quite simple; you just need the right technique and tools. To brew the perfect cup of coffee, follow these six simple steps:

    1.   Start with fresh roasted, specialty coffee. Keep coffee in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain freshness.

    2.   Use fresh, cold water. If your tap water is distasteful due to hardness or treatment, consider using bottled water.

    3.   Use the correct grind for your brewing method. If unsure, consult the manufacturer's instructions.

    4.   Although coffee use will be dictated by individual taste and brewing method, we recommend beginning with one tablespoon of coffee to 6 ounces of water.

    5.   Be sure your coffee maker is clean. Residues of stale coffee oils will interfere with good flavor.

    6.   Use a brewing method (such as manual drip, plunge pot, vacuum pot, or high-quality electric drip) that will produce temperatures of 195 - 205 degrees. Never boil or reheat coffee. Serve the beverage as soon as possible, as it will retain optimum flavor and aroma for approximately 30 minutes after brewing.

There you have it, six simple steps to achieve the perfect cup. Good luck and great brewing!
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Brewing Coffee in a Percolator

Nearly any coffee expert will tell you that a percolator is about the worst possible way to make coffee. Because the water is heated to a boil in order to perk, it's really too hot for the coffee. It gets over extracted, and you end up with the bitterness and acidity that made coffee a 'grownups only' drink. That said, there are still people who prefer perked coffee to any other kind. Taste is, after all, a matter of taste. In addition, those enormous coffee urns are still the best way to make lots and lots of coffee for a crowd.

A coffee percolator consists of five parts. There is the pot, into which you put your coffee. There is the stem, a hollow metal tube that fits into the bottom of the pot. In non-electric percolators, it has a flat, round bottom. There is the filter basket, which slides onto the tube and holds the ground coffee. There is the filter basket cover, a round perforated lid that fits on top of the filter basket and makes sure that the water showers the entire basket of coffee evenly. Finally, there is the coffee pot lid, which often has a glass bubble in it. The glass bubble just might be the most fun part of the entire contraption. It lets you watch the coffee splurting up from the tube and splashing inside before it spills back down onto the lid.

Percolators come in two distinct types - electric and non-electric. The electric type include coffee urns that can make up to forty cups of coffee at a time. Stovetop percolators are great for bringing along on camping trips. Both can actually make decent coffee despite their horrible reputation, if you follow a few simple guidelines.

    1.   Keep all parts of the percolator clean. That means washing the entire thing with dishwashing liquid and hot water every time you use it. To clean inside the stem, use a pipe cleaner or a long, thin brush.

    2.   Use freshly ground coffee. Obviously, this may present a problem if you're on a camping trip with no electricity miles from nowhere. In that case, carry your ground coffee in a vacuum container with a lid to prevent the from getting at it and spoiling the flavor.

    3.   Disassemble the percolator. Put the coffee stem in place.

    4.   Fill the percolator with water to below the line on the stem where the filter basket will rest.

    5.   Put the filter basket in place. Add one heaping tablespoon of coffee for each cup of water in the pot.

    6.   Fit the basket lid into place inside the percolator.

    7.   If you are using an electric percolator, plug it in and turn it on. The coffee pot is now on its own until it's done perking. If you are using a stove top percolator, put over a low flame to heat the water. As soon as the first splurt of coffee hits that little glass bubble, turn the heat down.

    8.   Watch the pot carefully. As soon as the pot stops perking, remove it from the heat.

    9.   This is the most important part. Being careful not to scald yourself, remove the lid of the percolator and remove the entire filter stem from the pot. If you leave it in there, the steam from the coffee will continue to condense, drip over the spent coffee grounds and drip into your coffee.

    10.   Fill your cup and enjoy.
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Which Coffee to Serve?

Serving the perfect wine with a special mean is an art that is required for today's entertaining. But what about the coffee you are serving? Your coffee should compliment your food in the same way wine would. A Kenya coffee that sizzles with your breakfast bacon will fizzle when paired with a rich and sweet dessert.

As a general rule of thumb, South American and Hawaiian coffees are mild and smooth in flavor. These coffees pair well with lighter meals, light desserts and seasonal meals of spring and summer. African coffees are generally richer and more full bodied which lend themselves to hearty, but not heavy meals and desserts that are rich, but not chocolaty or gooey sweet. Indonesian coffees are the perfect fit for those sinfully rich or extra sweet desserts that need a very full bodied and deep flavored coffee to match the intensity of such a dessert. Dark roasted coffees like French Roast, Full City Roast and Espresso are not only ideal, but also necessary for anything that is chocolate.

Breakfast is a special time for coffee and the one you drink will set your mood for the rest of the day. With traditional bacon and eggs, we recommend Kenya AA or Colombian Supremo. These coffees have full flavor and snappy acidity needed to "finish" the eggs and bacon. Lighter breakfast foods like muffins, fruit or waffles will taste even better with a cup of Guatemalan coffee.

Desserts are the important finale to any great meal; selecting the right coffee will enhance your dessert and bring a satisfying conclusion to a very special evening. Light desserts, such as simple cakes, cookies, souffles or fruit filled pies will be complimented by well balanced and medium bodied South American coffees.

Sumatra Mandheling and Ethiopian Harrar are the perfect partners for your Holiday desserts like pumpkin pie, pecan pie, mincemeat pie or plum pudding. Any dessert with a liquor in it like tiramisu, Italian rum cake or Irish Whiskey cake will be also enhanced with Sumatra Mandheling, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe or Celebes Kalossi. These coffees additionally have the interesting and unusual taste profile to detract your guests from noticing that they are eating that much-maligned fruitcake.

Any form of chocolate is the richest and most decadent form of dessert. For these types of desserts, you need a coffee with a strong, powerful flavor. Dark roasted coffees and dark roast blends are a must for any kind of chocolate dessert. The more chocolate a dessert has, the stronger the coffee you should serve. A light chocolate drizzled eclair would pair nicely with a blend of 1/2 French Roast and 1/2 Mocha Java Harrar. However, for killer chocolate cake, nothing but espresso could stand up to such intense flavors. Chocolate truffle cakes and tortes are complimented perfectly by a full city or cafe roast Sumatra. Slightly lighter chocolate desserts like a mousse or chocolate souffle would be enhanced by a lighter French Roast.

Coffee can be a dessert by itself by adding liquors, spices, cream and whipped cream. We suggest that you always use at least a full-bodied African or Indonesian coffee with the ideal coffee for these recipes being a dark roast or dark roast blend. Liquors will automatically water down the flavor of any coffee so be sure to brew whatever coffee you use to an extra strong strength.

Whatever coffee you decide to buy to accompany your meals and desserts, be sure you store it properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator, grind it just before brewing and never let your brewed coffee sit on the warming plate for more than 20 minutes. Use the proper amount of coffee; at least 1 tablespoon for each cup. This amount will give you the rich, full flavor experience each coffee has to offer, and your evening of wonderful gestation will linger in the memories of your guests with that last, wonderful cup of coffee.
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