Top 5 Coffee Hacks
As a kid, I could never understand the appeal of coffee. But that might have been because my grandparents were always brewing up tar-thick pots of Folgers, the plastic tub of "coffee crystals" stored in the freezer where they absorbed other scents and smells. Or because my father, God bless him, was happy to drink gas station coffee from pots and machines that had likely never been cleaned. Coffee was something disgusting, bitter and smelling of dank spaces and grime.
Photo by Josh Liba
And then I grew up and figured out how to make good coffee. And I was hooked.
These are my personal tips for making a great cup of coffee even better, but you may have your own. If so, I want to hear them in the comments section. We can all benefit from constructive tips on how to increase our caffeine intake, after all.
1. Start with good beans.
This is simple. Don't buy Folgers. You may think it's easier just to buy coffee by the tub, but it's just as simple to buy a pound of beans at the farmers' market, local coffee shops or even your grocery store and grind the beans yourself. The coffee grinder I use cost all of $15 and has lasted for more than 10 years. And don't grind the whole bag at once; just grind enough to get you through the week and store the ground beans at room temperature in an airtight container. Use the ground beans every morning and grind another batch on your lazy Sunday. Easy.
2. Clean your machine.
This is so simple it should go without saying, but so many people (and businesses, ahem) end up with bitter coffee that can taste like chicken skin or any number of other distasteful things. The reason? Oils from the coffee build up over time, and old, dirty oil tastes disgusting. Just clean your coffeemaker on a regular basis by filling it nearly up with water and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Run it like you normally would, letting the hot water and vinegar filter all the way through, cleaning the mechanisms inside as well as your filter basket and carafe all at once. Run it once again with a batch of fresh water (no vinegar this time), and you're done.
3. Add a pinch of salt.
What? Yes. Salt. Just a pinch. And use kosher salt; the large crystals work better here. You can either add in a pinch on top of your coffee in the filter or in the bottom of your French press. The salt adds a whole other dimension of flavor and opens up the coffee in the same way that adding salt to desserts and other sweet items works wonders. You'll never drink unsalted coffee again, I promise.