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An ALT.COFFEE guide to the proper method of brewing great drip coffee at home

Revision 4.03, 12/19/94.

Prepared by Ken Blair (, based on months of ALT.COFFEE postings.

After reading ALT.COFFEE for many months, it is clear that there is proper, definite, scientific, and methodical procedure to make the best drip coffee. It is also clear that there are numerous misconceptions about the proper way to go about it. This text is a summary of the right way to brew drip coffee at home, according to the cyberspace coffee gurus on ALT.COFFEE.

First, start with a good quality, medium to expensive drip coffee maker. A cheap, low quality, or even a cheap high quality unit can also be used. Just be sure that it's a coffee maker. It is important to ensure that the unit has been thoroughly cleaned after each use, because residue from previous coffee brewing could distort the rich and robust flavor of the coffee you are about to brew. If you're in a hurry, or don't care anyhow, this step really doesn't matter. Just make sure you get the old coffee grounds out of the coffee maker before you brew a new pot. Poor college students may want to actually re-use old grounds, to avoid purchasing new coffee. If should be noted, however, that re-using grounds more than 10 times could result in an overly bitter brew which might not be to your personal liking.

Second, it is essential to select the proper filter for your coffee maker. It is generally acknowledged that a metal type filter is far superior to any other types available, because this type of filter will not impart any strange flavors into your coffee. These metal types are often gold colored, but silver colored ones can be found too. It is also generally acknowledged that using a paper filter yields a superior pot of coffee, because metal filters tend to let sediment pass into the coffee. Above all, it is most important to remember make sure you're actually using a filter, or else you might end up with a mug full of coffee grounds and dark colored water.

The absolute most important aspect of brewing great coffee is proper coffee bean selection. It is imperative that you buy only whole, un-ground beans. Buy only enough beans to brew one cup at a time, otherwise you aren't using the freshest beans possible. Even if this means making 6 trips to your local roaster to buy beans to brew a 6 cup pot, you will be assured that you have brewed absolutely the best coffee possible. For some people who don't have time to be buying coffee beans 6 or 12 times a day, it's also just as good to buy a 7 or 8 year supply ahead of time, and store the beans properly. See the section on bean storage, below.

This brings us to the aspect of where to get your beans. The only place to purchase your beans is at a local roaster. By doing this, you'll be assured that the beans are still warm when you take them home. When possible, buy beans that have just been roasted, otherwise you are wasting your time. If this is not possible, just buy some Folgers at the nearest convienence store, and the time you have saved will be worth it. If you're not able to grind your beans at home, then have them ground for you at the store, and make sure that residue from hundreds of other types of beans is mixed into your coffee as it goes through the store's grinder. This will ensure that you get a totally unique blend of flavors, and your friends will be truly impressed with your gourmet coffee.

To brew the best coffee, it is imperative that you choose your coffee beans based on their country of origin. You should experiment and try several different varietal beans until you find the ones you like. To brew the best coffee, it is imperative that you buy flavored beans such as hazelnut-mocha-cherry-lime or Irish Cream-raspberry-Pop Tart-Spam flavored. If you don't buy flavored beans, you're wasting your time, and you're not a true coffee pro. Once again, if you don't have time to select good quality, fresh flavored coffee, you must select a good canned, mass produced coffee from the local grocery store. Doing this is the only way to make the best coffee. In summary, it is important to remember that you're using coffee beans, and not pinto beans. Use of pinto beans could result in an overly bitter brew, that might not be suitable to your personal taste.

For those of you who are interested in grinding your beans at home, there are generally two different types of grinders: burr and blade. Generally, it is accepted that the both of these grinders begin with "b", and both grind coffee. If is entirely a matter of personal taste as to which one to use, because both types are so much alike.

The topic of coffee bean storage is another highly debated topic, but if you look at the hard, factual evidence, the answer is clear. Many people claim that freezing your coffee is the best solution to storage. Many people claim that coffee should not be frozen. Other people claim that air-tight containers are the way to go. Well, after extensive scientific-research-studies-experiments, it has been determined that freezing, refrigerating, room temperature, and air-tight container are all ways to store coffee. Above all, it is essential to make sure that you are storing your coffee beans.

Finally, you must make sure that you are using proper a proper amount of water and coffee when brewing. While it is generally accepted that one must use water when brewing coffee, many people don't use the exact amount. To make drip coffee, the proper method is to use exactly one standard coffee scoop measure (between 1/2 tablespoon to 4 tablespoons) to each one exact standard coffee maker cup of water (3 ounces to 8 ounces). This is the only exact, correct, and proper method, and may of course be adjusted to your personal liking.

After your drip coffee has brewed, you might want to add milk or sugar. Just as with coffee bean storage, this is a highly debated topic. Some people insist that adding milk or sugar covers up the robust aroma of the coffee, while others insist that it is necessary to cover up the robust aroma of the coffee because it is undesirable. If you do choose to add milk, remember that there are several options such as skim, 1/2 percent, 2 percent, 4 percent, half and half, and cream. Be sure to make the proper choice. Above all, when determining to add milk or sugar to your cup, remember that you could be adding milk or sugar.

If you plan not to serve the entire pot of coffee right after it has brewed, you must consider the options of storage of the brewed coffee and how to keep it hot. While it is generally accepted that storage in a vacuum type thermos or carafe is acceptable, it is also generally accepted that microwave ovens are capable of heating up cold coffee. Environmentalists will want to use a solar heating method by placing the pot of coffee in the sun.


From: (Ken Blair)
Subject: humor: how to brew great drip coffee
Date: 19 Dec 1994 15:54 CST


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