Photo courtesy of aigarius.
I love coffee; I might even lurve coffee. When I was told that I had to reduce my coffee consumption when eating low carb, I was defiant. I was drinking over 10 cups of coffee a day because I was tired, unfocused, and addicted. But when I started drastically reducing my carbs to 20 grams for induction and I noticed that drinking coffee in excess made me feel weak and shaky. Upon further examination, I realized this funky feeling was my blood sugar dropping, and suddenly coffee was a rare commodity – something I could not have any time. I decided to make my coffee count.
I had my first real glimpse of what excellent coffee was during a trip to West Virginia. My husband and I stopped at a local coffee shop, and I had a cup of the most flavorful cup of coffee I had ever tasted. I tasted and smelled hints of caramel and vanilla, which I never knew occurred in roasted coffee. Suddenly coffee was as complex as wine.
Steps to making excellent coffee:
- Purchase the best coffee available that is both whole-bean and fresh roasted.
- Using a Burr grinder, grind only the amount of coffee you are going to immediately use.
- Filter your water.
- Add a pinch of salt to the coffee before brewing.
- Use a french press.
Step 1: Purchase excellent coffee
I purchase my coffee from a local roaster called The Black Dog Coffee Company. They import green, or fresh, beans directly from the source, roast them in small batches, and ship them directly to the customer. The coffee from a micro-roaster is much different than the coffee you purchase from a megastore. Megastore coffee is stale because it has been roasted many months ago. It does not have the same volatile flavor compounds that gives each coffee’s unique bouquet and flavor. Also, most coffee from megastores are over roasted, which makes them taste bitter.
Image courtesy of jdurham.
Step 2: Use a burr grinder
Blade and burr grinder are two types of commonly purchased grinders for home use. Blade grinders are relatively inexpensive for a good reason. While they may indeed break up the coffee beans, they do not do so evenly. The resulting shards are not uniform in size and shape and release bitter flavor compounds. The smaller shards also make their way into the finished cup of coffee. These grinders can also create a fair amount of heat that dissipates the more volatile compounds in the coffee. A burr grinder, uses either two plates or an outer burr and a cone to break the beans into uniform grains for optimal flavor extraction. The grinders with flat burrs are much more expensive than the conical burr type, although the conical burr grinder does produce and even grind with less heat.
Step 3: Use filtered water
Water can contain strange smells and tastes besides chlorine. If your water smells funky or over chlorinated, I would recommend using filtered water to preserve the integrity of the coffee’s flavor.
Step 4: Add a pinch of salt before brewing
Salt enhances flavor and reduces bitterness. Adding a small amount to the coffee before brewing, can make all the different in the flavor.
Step 5: Use a french press
Image of french press via wikipedia.
A french press is a device that allows coffee to briefly steep in it’s chamber and then uses a mesh screen to filter the coffee grinds out of the resulting coffee liquid. A french press requires a coarse coffee grind at the ratio of one tablespoon per cup of water. After adding the correct ratio of coffee, you add a pinch of salt and boiling water. Stir the grounds and water in the chamber and allow the grounds to steep for three minutes. Remember to put the screen top on to keep the heat in. After the coffee has finished steeping, press down on the plunger to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid.
Following these steps will give you the best cup of coffee you have ever tasted. When coffee is limited, you need to make each cup count.
Coffee bean photo courtesy of aigarius.
Ground coffee photo courtesy of jdurham.
French press photo courtesy of wikipedia.