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How I Make the Perfect Cup of Colombian Coffee?
I’m no coffee expert. I can’t tell you all the differences between varieties and countries of origin. No one would call me a connoisseur. So why am I writing this article?
Friends come to my house, drink my coffee and tell me it’s the best they’ve ever had. So, I decided to debunk what I know about coffee and how I make it. I hope you find it useful.
A good cup of coffee should have three things: a quality coffee bean, good water and a good brewing process. Mess with any of these three factors and you have a hot, disgusting, bitter cup of brew. No wonder so many people tell me they don’t like coffee.
Most of the coffee I drink in the US (I live in Colombia most of the year) is weak and bitter. This is a direct consequence of allowing accountants to rule our lives.
Remember a few years ago when you stayed in a hotel and made coffee in your room? They had a little filter pack that you opened up and put in the coffee maker. Some accountants thought that if production could only take one scoop of coffee, no one would know the difference, thus saving his company thousands throughout the year. Another accountant did the same two years later. Then it happened again. Now, I have to put two packets in the coffee maker to get a good brew.
The same process has occurred in restaurants, airlines and offices. Many companies use the same type of packaging for their industrial drip coffee makers. Most of the coffee cups I get in the US are so thin that I can almost see to the bottom of the cup.
Now, this leads to a vicious circle. This hot, bitter water that most establishments sell as coffee causes many people to declare, “I don’t like strong coffee. It’s too bitter.” So they reduced the amount of coffee grounds they put in their coffee makers. And the result is even worse.
So the first rule to get a good cup of coffee is to use enough coffee. This requires some experimentation. Pour enough coffee to get a rich dark brew.
This brings me to the second point about coffee. Brands are different. Some are bitter, some are smooth. My favorite is Colombian coffee. Local Colombian brands are the best. They are not as bitter and seem to have less caffeine than American brands, even when they say 100% Colombian. There is one exception, the Community Cafe. They don’t have nationwide distribution, but if you live within a thousand miles of New Orleans, you should be able to find one.
These indigenous Colombian coffees, namely ‘Oma’ and ‘Sello Rojo’, can be brewed dark and rich without going bitter.
I am amazed that people will spend fourteen dollars on a small package of ground coffee from an exotic country and then fill their coffee maker with tap water. What are they thinking?
Spring water or reverse osmosis water is best. But tap water filtered through a GOOD filter is fine. Be sure to check your filter to see that it is removing chlorine as well as solid and bacterial contaminants. A Berkey filter that removes all of the above plus fluoride is best.
Some of you up north may have good tap water, but here in Texas, a filter system is mandatory to get a good cup of coffee. I have a water softener and a filter here in north Austin.
A drip coffee maker can make a drinkable cup of coffee, but brewers, French presses, and espresso makers are far superior. The purchase cost and cost per cup of individual coffee cup makers put them out of business.
For me, a percolator is too slow and has too little volume. You wait a few minutes to get two cups of coffee. The espresso machine would take up all the space on my counter, plus it would cost too much. And again, like the percolator, there aren’t enough of them.
The French press gives me a pint of great coffee in a third of the percolator time and is cheap to buy. Most places charge around $40 for a French press, but IKEA has them for $16. A coffee company gives them freebies to sign up for their coffee subscription service.
For those of you not familiar with the French press, this is how it works. You put coffee in a glass. Add hot water. After stirring the grounds to get a good boiling action, insert a plunger into the top of the beaker and press down slowly.
The screen at the bottom of the track allows the beer to pass through and presses the base to the bottom of the glass. Now your coffee is ready to drink.
I like to add a small amount of natural sugar. This little sweetness is like an activator of the intense coffee aroma.
If you must use a drip coffee maker, replace the paper filter with a fine screen. You can find them at several places, but Target seems to have the best for the cheapest price. And remember. Use plenty of coffee.
I’d love to hear how your experiments go.
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