As the 13th highest consumer of coffee in the world, New Zealanders are coffee obsessed. Over half of survey respondents said they would go out of their way for a good cup of coffee, but do you know how to get the best brew every time? There are a few steps involved, from sourcing the right beans to how you pour the water. The following tips don’t require a coffee maker and will guarantee fantastic coffee.
Use High Quality Beans
This doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, although we all know that the cheapest instant will not taste as good as the top brand of beans. The key is in the packaging. Any exposure to bright light or oxygen will start to sap away the flavour of the beans within 15 minutes, so look for beans that are vacuum sealed in opaque packaging.
The fresher the beans, the nicer the coffee. This is always going to be a bit pricier, but avoid bulk buying from supermarkets. Coffee should have been roasted within the previous two weeks. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more on coffee because a high quality cup will leave you satisfied, meaning you drink less. So altogether you should be spending about the same.
If you want to make coffee without a coffee maker, then you might be tempted to go for a french press. This can be a good option, but for optimal flavour you want to use the pour over method.
Simply place a dish towel over a jar and secure it with pegs. Place the coffee beans onto the towel and pour hot water over them. The pour over method allows you to control exactly how many beans you use, how quickly your pour and the temperature of the water.
Make sure the water is hot, but not boiling. Hot water is required to fully extract the flavour, so if you like a cooler cup of coffee, start with hot water and then let it cool down. Boiling water, however, will scald the beans so that they lose some of their flavour. Find a kettle that heats water to 200°F or around 93°C.
The water should be high quality and filtered, so that it doesn’t have any chemicals or impurities. Then pour the water slowly, starting at the rim and spiralling into the centre. Pouring too fast will be uneven, extracting too much flavour from some beans and not enough from others.
Creating the best coffee requires a great deal of trial and error. Starting with the freshest beans will help, but then it is up to you to adjust your technique to extract optimal flavour from the beans. Once you have mastered it, you’ll be making coffee better than any coffee machine!