Saturday, February 07, 2009

How To Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee

The first step in making a perfect cup of coffee is to select your beans. Coffee is grown in three majors regions in the world: Central/South America, Africa, and Indonesia.

Personally, I think that South American coffees have a sweeter taste, African coffees have citrus or floral flavors, and Indonesian coffees have spicier flavors. Find a coffee that you like, but don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things.

Always buy your coffee whole-bean and as freshly roasted as possible. Roasted coffee can stale very quickly. The peak of coffee freshness is about as long as the shelf-life of a loaf of bread. That being said, the best place to buy your coffee is at small, local specialty coffee shops that roast their own beans. Store your beans in an airtight container, but be sure to open it at least once a day to release carbon-dioxide buildup.

Your brewing method of choice is also very important. Most coffee purists (including myself) will tell you that the best way to brew coffee is by using an immersion method of brewing. Unlike conventional drip brewing methods, the coffee grounds are mixed into the hot water and then filtered out. This gives the coffee the highest possible water to coffee exposure possible.

That being said, the method we will be discussing is the French Press. A French Press is a simple device used for immersion brewing that can be found at many stores for a low price, I am using a Bodum French Press which I highly recommend. I will also be using a electric water kettle, blade coffee grinder and Brita filtered water pitcher.

First I will grind the coffee beans. There are two basic types of coffee grinder; blade and burr. A blade grinder works by spinning a blade at the bottom of the grinding chamber at a high speed. A burr coffee grinder has a coffee chamber at the top where the coffee beans move from the chamber between a set of grinding wheels and into the bottom for collection. A burr coffee grinder gives a much better, more even grind that requires less maintenance and cleanup, but they are much more expensive. A blade grinder can be found for relatively cheap, which is why it is what I am using.

For every six-ounce cup of coffee that we will be making, you want to add a level two-tablespoon scoop of whole coffee beans. Grind until you achieve a coarse grind, which is what is recommended for immersion brewing.

Next we want to heat the water. I use filtered water from a Brita water pitcher. I would not recommend using tap or distilled water.

The target temperature for brewing is 190 degrees Fahrenheit. A good rule-of-thumb is that this is about fifteen seconds off of a boil.

Add your coffee grinds to the bottom of your French Press. Pour the hot water on top of the grinds up the level that is marked on the side of the French Press. Stir to mix evenly using something that is not metal so that you do not scratch or chip the glass on the French Press. I like to use a plastic chopstick.

Place the top of the French Press on and left sit for four minutes to brew.

After four minutes has passed, press the plunger down and pour your coffee into your serving vessel of choice.

I like to drink my coffee black with no sugar, but you can add cream or sugar if you would like. Try adding warm milk and vanilla for a latte, premade hot chocolate for a mocha, or frothed milk and sugar for a cappuccino.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

How to Make a Can of Beer Flow Better

First take your can of beer and drink at least ¼ of the beer.

Next take off the top of the can by shifting it back and forth until it comes off.

Next, notice that the top of the tap has two little jagged edges on the top. This is important for the next step.

Next use one of the top edges of the tap and rub it back and forth until it cuts a slit into the top of the can.

The tap should then rest in the top of the can and enjoy your nice delicious cold flowing brew.

Article by ZA.