A CUP O' JOE
Legend has it that a goat herder first discovered coffee’s uplifting effects when he noticed how energetic his animals became after nibbling on the berries of a particular tree. Hidden inside Those berries was the bean that gave birth to a beverage that has been enlivening mornings ever since. Discover what’s new with java.
Most coffee beans come from one of two species of plants—arabica, grown in high altitudes, and robusta, a hardy plant that grows in lower altitudes. Connoisseurs generally prefer Arabica coffees for their rich, complex flavors.
What’s surprising is how many styles of coffee are derived from these two plants. Browse a Hy-Vee coffee aisle, and you’ll find an array of coffee beans with a variety of names; some, such as Colombian Supremo, are named for the country or region where the beans were grown. Other coffees are grouped according to how long they are roasted. The longer the beans are exposed to heat, the darker they become. One of these is dark French roast, named by 19thcentury Americans who apparently thought it would help sell their coffee.
Choosing light or dark beans is a personal preference: Most light beans offer lighter flavor; the darker the beans, the stronger the flavor.
Steps to A rich Cup
- Skip the Bulk Buys: Because coffee beans can lose freshness it's best to purchase the amount of coffee you can use in one week. Store beans in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. Never store your daily coffee in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Grind Daily: For freshest flavor, purchase whole coffee beans (rather than ground coffee) and grind just before brewing. Follow your equipment manufacturer’s directions for how fine or coarse to grind the coffee—too coarse and the flavor may be weakened; too fine and the coffee can clog the filter or become bitter.
- For Good Measure: Generally, for each 6-ounce cup, you should use 1 to 2 tablespoons ground coffee, depending on how bold you like your brew.
- Water Woes: Use cold water freshly drawn from the tap. However, if your tap water is highly chlorinated, soft-treated or especially hard, use bottled water to get the best possible flavors from your coffee.
- Temperature Matters: Coffee’s best qualities are released at temperatures between 195° and 205°F just below the boiling point. To hit that temp range, bring water to a full boil. Take the kettle off the heat and let it stand for a minute before pouring the water over the coffee grounds.
You’ll find many kinds of coffee makers on the market; these are some of the most popular:
- The Purist’s Choice: With a manual drip system, set a filter cone on a carafe and fill the cone with freshly ground coffee. Pour boiled water over coffee grounds; your cup will be ready as soon as water drips through. This method lets you control water temperature, one key to exceptional coffee.
- Easy Does It: With features such as automatic timers and warming plates, automatic drip coffee machines are convenient. However you have less control over the water temperature.
- Ooh-la-la!: With a French press, boiled water is poured over coffee in a cylindrical carafe. After a few minutes brewing time, a plunger filter is pressed through the water, trapping the grounds in the bottom. With this method, some sediment remains in the coffee— fans say this adds character and intensity, while detractors deem the coffee “gritty.”
Click here to read more.