The Art Of Brewing

The perfect cup of coffee is that which give you the taste, aroma and flavor that you prefer. You can use any brewing method but use it in a way that it extracts the desired components that make coffee a widely preferred drink. If you are looking at some level of perfection in the drink that you are so fond of, it is imperative that you acquaint yourself with the art of brewing coffee to achieve the desired aroma and taste.

Coffee brewing is an art and a science in its own right. The six basic methods of brewing coffee are basically a mode of arriving at the desired permutation and combination of the variables, such as, temperature, water addition, and the separation of the brewed liquor from the coffee sediments that settle at the bottom.

A lot depends upon the quality of the beans, where they come from, the way they are roasted, and also the type of grinding used. Robusta coffees are considered to be inferior in taste than Arabica. Freshly roasted beans are more likely to give a good aroma and flavor. If you are buying your coffee at a grocery store, it will be a good idea to check the expiry date on the packaging. Using a home roaster can be quite cumbersome; it will suffice to understand that the color of the coffee changes with light to heavy roasting. A light roast brings out lesser flavors and the heaviest roast, in a way, destroys the flavors. The medium roast that gives beans the color of cinnamon is considered to retain the flavor and the aromatic oils of coffee to the greatest degree.

The importance of the grind should not be underestimated. Coffee can be grinded manually, or by blenders, or the more sophisticated burr grinders, to give a coarse, medium or fine coffee powder. Whereas coarse grind is suitable for slow brewing methods, the medium for everyday use for more than one brewing method, the fine grind is recommended only for faster brewing methods, such as espresso and moka. The blades that you use determine the fineness of the grind.

It is always better to grind beans yourself, not trusting the local store for it, because a) it defeats the very purpose of buying whole beans, b) you can never be sure as to how long back the beans were grinded.

The Turkish or Greek brewing method is more or less a primitive method of brewing. It involves boiling of coffee and sugar together in a pan of water without separating the grounds. It will give you a pungent, thick and muddy taste that is not accepted by the western palate.

Concentrate brewing, on the other hand, is a Latin American favorite that is making inroads into the commercial dispensation of coffee in the US. This method involves brewing large quantities of coffee with very little water to give a concentrate. This concentrate form of coffee is stored and used to make coffee by mixing water. If you want a cold beverage, letting it sit for a day gives out a better taste. However, this brew will give you little aroma, lesser acidic taste, and a subdued flavor.

Percolating was once the most popular method of brewing and considered to be the most practical. It is, however, like disgracing a wonderful drink that coffee is. Boiling water that continuously passes through coffee often ends up boiling coffee liquor to an extent that it gives a thin, bitter, and a tarry cup of coffee.

Auto-drip coffee makers became virtually synonymous with coffee making.. There are two factors in this technique that you need to be aware of. The paper filter, especially the bleached one, passes on a distinct smell to the brew and the hot plate sometimes overheats the drink: both have the potential of ruining the drink. Instead of a paper filter, you can use a gold plated re-usable filter and a thermos or quickly removing the carafe from the hot plate can take care of the overheating problem.

The most popular brewing method that gives control over time and temperature is the French Press. The French Press gives a superb flavor as it allows perfect extraction time and releases the essential aromatic oils that often remain trapped in filters. For a perfect French Press, place freshly ground beans using a coarse grinder at the base of the glass, pour hot water and shake. After four to five minutes press the plunger to separate the grounds from the extracted coffee.

Espresso is a difficult method of brewing coffee. The Moka or stovetop coffee maker is a poor man’s espresso that gives an imitation of a genuine espresso brew, which only an espresso machine can give. For an espresso brew use fine grounds and mix the correct quantity of water and coffee. The machine pours steam at a high pressure in the mixture that produces the crema that an espresso is known for.

Whichever brewing technique you use, a standard rule for brewing coffee is that you brew it for 4-5 minutes using 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of filtered water. Some minerals can adversely affect coffee flavor: to extract the correct flavor of coffee, it is better to use only filtered or bottled water.

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