The Secrets to Making Great Coffee by Kenneth Dickson
If you decide to start making your own coffee at home, you’ll be tempted to buy the fanciest coffee equipment on offer. Everyone always is! Just yesterday a sales assistant in Sogo offered me a ‘great deal’ on a grinder and coffee maker from a reputable brand. Over NT$4000!
I’ll share a secret with you: the secret of good coffee lies in the careful purchase of coffee beans, nothing less, nothing more. Then treat the coffee with respect when you grind it, brew it, and drink it. That’s all!
#3 Simply Made – PurelyCoffeeBeans’ secret to making great coffee
My first coffee maker was the simplest of all, a plastic drip filter or cone. The cones are very affordable. For little more than $350, purchase a cone, and some papers. Then make some great coffee by buying a quarter pound of coffee from your local coffee roasters.
The cone is quick to use, easy to wash, and makes a variety of coffee. There are two kinds of cones available in the market right now: the traditional cone with the flat base (the cheapest), and the modern V60 cone which has a circular hole. The traditional cone comes in 2 sizes for one or two people. It is also found in a variety of materials. The V60 is more expensive and requires its own papers.
Just remember: use a tablespoon or coffee spoon to measure your coffee! Try to keep the water about 85C or 90C, otherwise you risk cooking the grounds, and having a tasteless cup of coffee! Also, watch the grind level, too coarse it will come out like water; too fine, you’ll end up with grounds in your cup. Aim for a medium-fine grind.
The French Press is the most glamorous of the methods to make coffee, especially if you buy one of the gold-plated glass beaker versions. Yet it’s one of the simplest ways to make coffee.
Grind your coffee to a medium coarse grind. Measure into the bottom of the glass pot. Add hot (NOT boiling) water into the beaker. Let soak for about 45~60 seconds, then add the remaining water. Add the pushing handle gently to the top of the beaker. Insert until you reach the top of the hot water.
Then steep at least 3 minutes. You can use a timer if you need to. The coffee won’t get too cold during that time. Don’t worry about that. Finally, gently but firmly press the plunger right down to the bottom. Serve into the cups and enjoy!
Just remember: it’s glass filled with hot water. So don’t drop the jug, don’t chip the jug, don’t put metal objects inside it, and don’t knock it. The last thing you want is a jug of hot coffee breaking all over the place. When finished, rinse gently and leave to drip dry. If you have a dishwasher, make sure that the french press can be washed safely in it.
The french press, v60 cone, traditional cone, spoons, timers, and thermometers are available at most good coffee shops. Now, promise me you won’t share my coffee secrets with anyone! Of course, you won’t… but people will be asking how you make your coffee taste so good. It’s going to be hard not to.
Kenneth Dickson started drinking cappuccino at Luvian’s Coffee Shop thirty years ago, and hasn’t stopped drinking, making and writing about coffee ever since. Taipei is his coffee heaven. Now he writes at PurelyCoffeeBeans. com about his love of coffee.
My latest coffee article has been published. If you’d like to find out the secrets to making your coffee great, check out the article on pg. 27 of the Community Center’s Centered Magazine. Enjoy! But don’t forget to make some great coffee!
For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page