Brewing Strong Coffee

By Thomas Pope , last updated February 16, 2011

A nice, strong brewed cup of coffee should be rich and satisfying, and should hit your whole palate. But simply dumping more grounds to your Mr. Coffee will only make your joe bitter, not better. If you want a great cup of coffee at home, follow a few simple techniques.

Measure your ingredients

The perfect cup of coffee uses 1-2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per 8oz or water. Measure out both your grounds and your water—don’t be tempted to trust the cup lines on the side of your carafe.

Heat your water

Your water should be 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit, or just off the boil. The problem is, most plug-in coffee makers don’t get the water nearly that hot. The result: flat flavor. Find a coffee brewer that requires you to heat the water separately and add it to the grounds. French presses work the best, but manual drip coffee makers work well also.

Use the proper grind

The size of your grind will be dictated by the device you use. For drip makers, a medium grind (like cornmeal) works best. If you’re using a French press, you want a medium-coarse grind to your beans (slightly coarser than couscous). If you’re purchasing your beans from a coffee house, tell them how you plan to brew your coffee, and they will grind your beans accordingly.

Time your brew

Once you add water to grounds, you begin to extract a wide array of flavors. The first flavors are bitter and earthy. Wait a little longer, and the more pleasant characteristics come forward. Brew too long, and the bitter comes back, with a vengeance. If using a French press, push down the plunger after 4 minutes. If using a drip press, stop filtering water after 5 minutes.

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