How to Make Good Coffee

How to Make Good Coffee


3 minutes of coffee drinking

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A picture of good coffee being made with the pour over method

 

You ever notice how long it takes them to finish your single cup of coffee in your favorite local coffee shop? Sorry, became Andy Rooney there for a second.

But, have you noticed that?

There’s a reason.

I learned this* when I switched from buying pre-ground coffee to grinding beans fresh every day, and switched from a drip coffee maker to the pour over method (and more recently, the AeroPress.)

*Okay, I actually knew it a long time ago, I was just too busy/lazy to try anything new.

Just like slow food compared to fast food, “good coffee” often takes more time than its less sought-after counterpart, “bad coffee.” (We’ll get into how to make that in a future article.)

Cold brew is a good, if extreme example of this.

But even just upgrading your everyday brew gear to a slightly more “personal” method—say, switching from your 12 year old Mr. Coffee drip machine to a simple pour over brewer (or if you really want to fly first class, an Espro P7) is a huge step on the way to making good coffee.

Hell, if you’re starting out with good coffee beans, that change alone might even be enough to get you there.

In general, good coffee = slower coffee.

There are exceptions.

AeroPress

When matched up with a solid, premium quality coffee (cough, Black Insomnia, cough), the AeroPress brewer makes some of the best tasting coffee you’ll ever have, and it does it pretty damn fast.

The inventor of the AeroPress actually created it because he grew impatient with the process of brewing pour over coffee (which takes—what, 3 minutes?).

It literally looks like a coffee syringe. That should tell you all you need to know.

But the speed isn’t even its biggest benefit. Nope, because of the quality of the coffee it brews, AeroPress is well liked even by total coffee snobs, including my one friend who hates everything. It just also happens to be pretty quick at making that amazing coffee, and doesn’t require as much cleanup time as a lot of other brew methods. So if you want to make good coffee without spending a lot of time doing it, try an AeroPress, they’re extremely affordable.

Choose a Premium Coffee

If you’re starting out with shit coffee, you’re going to end up… with shit coffee. Sorry, but no amount of attention will turn that stale Great Value coffee into a fresh, artisan barrel-roasted Robusta blend. Garbage in, garbage out.

The fresh part is a no-brainer. But there’s still a big difference between that off-the-shelf stuff and a more premium coffee like Black Insomnia.

Unlike many other coffee companies, Black Insomnia uses the older, slower barrel-roasting technique—a time-honored method focused on the “craft” of coffee roasting rather than speed or size of the batch. Compared to the faster (and less expensive) air roasting method, it allows more room for tinkering, tweaking, and—most importantly—perfecting the taste of the coffee, as Black Insomnia has spent years doing.

When you start out with the best (and not-so-coincidentally, the strongest—with 4 times the caffeine), the baseline quality of what’s in your cup is going to be a lot higher, no matter what brew method you go with.

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