The absolute BEST way to brew coffee
I recently shared an Instagram story that revealed the fact that I do not own (nor do I want to own) a coffee grinder. This was met with a wide range of reactions from my friends, ranging from scolding to affirmation to bemusement ("But Clare, you own an ICE CREAM MACHINE!") to making an entire video tutorial for me to illustrate that it is not, in fact, too much trouble to grind your own coffee beans. (The tutorial came from Emma, whose family runs a really fantastic coffee shop in Minneapolis called Wesley Andrews. So she knows her stuff.)
Here's the thing: I drink coffee every day. When I'm making it, I'm still in the process of waking up. I hate creating unnecessary dishes to clean and I hate having too many things on the counter.
You can peruse the internet all day long to find out all the strategies to brew the "best" cup of coffee you can imagine. Make sure your beans are freshly roasted, grind just what you'll need to brew for that cup, weigh your ingredients, pre-moisten your coffee filter.
But guess what? The true "best" cup of coffee is really just whatever process works best for you and whatever tastes good to you.
Is my method sacrilegious? Potentially, but I like the process and I like the product. Why would I change it?
Here's what I do, which is the best method for me.
I buy pre-ground coffee from the grocery store. Sometimes I buy local brands like Peace Coffee, sometimes I buy Starbucks brand, and sometimes I buy beans from a local coffee shop which I have them grind. (I do try to get fair trade and responsibly-sourced coffee as much as possible, but that's about ethics not about how the coffee is brewed or how it tastes.) I do have some level of standards, so I'm proud to say I've never purchased coffee grounds that come in a large, red, plastic tub. Since we're living in a global percolator (see what I did there?!), I don't get groceries very often so sometimes I find myself with an extra bag of coffee grounds. I store this in the freezer.
I use a pour-over, which might seem kind of fancy. However, the reason I use a pour-over is because it takes up less space than a coffee machine and I find it easier to clean. (I've also never really understood the ratio of coffee to water you're supposed to use in a coffee machine.)
This one is from Crate & Barrel and was kind of a splurge but we needed something insulated. Another great and cheaper option is the classic Melitta pour-over, which I also have and use for my travel kitchen (more on that later).
My pour-over has a metal filter, which some may say is superior to paper filters. However, I don't like the taste of coffee brewed in just a metal filter and I've found that it lets sediment through, so I put a paper filter inside the metal filter. I do not pre-moisten the paper filter.
I add about 6 tablespoons of coffee grounds to the filter and then add a sprinkle of kosher salt on top.
Then it's time to add the water. I have a Zojirushi water heater that keeps water just below boiling in a tank and dispenses it on demand. This is definitely the most extra aspect of my coffee routine. This means that I have hot water on-demand any time I want it, and never have to wait for a kettle or coffee maker to heat the water.
I dispense 12 oz of water into a measuring cup, which is half the amount of water I'll end up using. I don't do this for any reason other than it fits in my measuring cup and it makes the math simple. Then I pour about 6 oz of that water over the grounds to wet them (aka "blooming"). I think technically you're supposed to let it sit for a while. Sometimes I do that, and sometimes I don't - it depends on whether I feel like it or not. Sometimes I think I notice a difference in taste, but I can't be sure.
Once that water pours through, I add the second 6 oz. Then I dispense another 12 oz of water from the Zojirushi and pour it over the grounds, going in a circle along the edge of the filter. This makes two 12 oz cups of coffee. (The ratio I use is 3 Tbsp ground coffee to 12 oz water, and I have no clue where I learned that.)
Once all the water has gone through, I add a splash of whole milk and enjoy my coffee. Cleanup is minimal - I rinse out the pot and let the filter and grounds dry out a little before composting them and rinsing the metal filter. I wash the whole setup with soap maybe once a week. (Is that gross?)
How many coffee faux pas did you count during this process? How do you brew your coffee?