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I have bought a new percolator, and can't seem to make a decent cup of coffee. Do you have any suggestions that would help?
Mary C. from Newark, CA
Always always always start with COLD water. Then add your coffee and you will get good coffee.
This is for percolated coffee. I recently came across an old recipe book named "Seems Like I Done It This-a-way" by Cleo Stiles Bryan. She writes:
1/2 cup coffee
3 cups boiling water
Put coffee in the strainer and the water in the bottom of the percolator. Set strainer in place, cover and put over a slow fire. After water begins to bubble up, percolate 3 to 5 minutes.
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Three very important things for good tasting coffee:
Clear, good tasting water, preferably cold and not from old pipes.
A clean coffeemaker that has a high wattage for heating the water. The hotter the water, the better the brew. Boiling the water and pouring it over the filtered coffee grinds makes excellent coffee.
A good name brand of coffee, measured accurately and generally not a generic one.
These are my tried and true tests! (01/17/2005)
If your coffee tastes awful, maybe you are making it too weak or too strong. You need quality coffee. Get some quality ground beans and try different amounts until you find what you like.
Good luck! (01/17/2005)
Add a little sugar to the grounds before you brew it -
Experiment with different cooking extracts like vanilla or almond! (01/18/2005)
Buy a coffee grinder (between $10 and $20), then go to a good coffee speciality shop. Tell them what type of coffee you like (rich, flavored, mild, aromatic, etc) and buy just small amounts of a few varieties they suggest. Then try each and see which one you like best.
An alternate way is to simply ask the server at a restaurant what brand of coffee they use.
I personally buy dark french roast beans and grind them fresh each morning.
If you buy already ground coffee in a can, pour it into a large zip bag and press as much air out of it as possible. Do this every time you take coffee out of the bag. It will stay fresher.
I use two tablespoons of fresh ground coffee and about two cups of water in the coffee maker to make coffee for my husband and myself every morning. It usually tastes good no matter what brand, but our favorite is Starbucks. (01/18/2005)
I have just finished operating a bed & breakfast for over 14 years so it was extremely important that I knew how to make a good cup of coffee. Plus we entertain a lot with family & friends.
After trying out several coffee makers & not being happy with them I started using an electric coffee pot made by FABERWARE many, many years ago. I also have a FABERWARE coffee urn that can make up to 50 cups of coffee. Start out with an impeccably clean coffee maker & fill with cold water. I keep my coffee water in the refrigerator. Line your basket with a paper coffee filter & depending on what kind of coffee you use follow the instructions on the coffee container.
Most coffees call for 1 Tablespoon of coffee to every cup of coffee, which by the way is 6 oz. (not 8 oz.) If you find that this is too weak or too strong for you then the next time, make an adjustment in the amount of coffee you use.
I like Maxwell House, Don Francisco, & Melitta. At times I use hazelnut, vanilla, cinnamon, or just plain coffee. I have found in the past that coffee makers like MR. COFFEE (or similar types) never keep the coffee really hot. If you watch your newspaper flyers from your leader stores you will see Faberware on sale from time to time. OR go to yard sales or thrift shops or Christmas fairs & you may be lucky to find one. Good luck. (01/18/2005)
You can try adding a little bit of salt before brewing the coffee. I have found that using about a 1/4 tsp. with each pot helps to take some of the bitterness away. Mind you, the 1/4 tsp. is for a full pot of coffee. If you are only making 1/2 a pot, use about 1/8 tsp of salt. Good Luck! (01/18/2005)
This is one thing I know aobut making good coffee: after you put the coffee filter in the basket, run a little water into it and use the water to stick the filter firmly to the inside of the basket. This will keep the grounds from getting out of the filter and into the coffee. Also, the water quality does make a difference. Try different brands, too. I have some I like and some I just can't abide. (01/19/2005)
By Erin McBride-Schmars
Making coffee is an art. You can buy the best brand of coffee on the market, and your coffee is still icky tasting. My coffee was totally gross until on day I tried putting ice in my coffee, the colder the water the better. I also use the same brand of coffee each time, I use "2 filters to put my ground coffee in and one over the grounds to help keep the ickys out of the grounds". Yes I have tried the pinch of salt, but who wants salt in there java, not me. Hope this helps.
I don't know where you live Teresa, but Erin had a good idea. Where I live the water is extremely hard. So I buy gallons of distilled water to have on hand for power outages and to make coffee.
In our case the water makes all the difference.
If you like good coffee the others are right, you need good water, I use filtered water from the refrigerator or bottled spring water. Make sure you have the right kind of coffee scoop that makes a difference. If I'm making 6 cups I use one scoop per 2 cups also keep in mind that Columbia coffee is one of the best out of all the coffees. All the brand names have a Columbia coffee. (02/12/2005)
Make sure coffeemaker is clean. Fill pot to 6-cups with white vinegar, the rest water & brew through. Let coffeemaker cool & run just water through to rinse. Do this once per month. We use a Brita filter pitcher for our water, kept in the refrigerator. Unless you have a well with good water (some minerals might affect coffee taste), do not use tap water, even for cleaning the pot. The chemical residues make a bad taste.
My favorite way to make coffee is with a French press. I use pure water, not tap, and measure two and 1/2 tablespoons for two cups. I don't use coffee that is ground too fine, but about a 3 on the grinder, as it gives more flavor. Pour water that is just boiled, (not a rolling boil, it makes the coffee bitter) and leave for one to two minutes, depending on how strong you like it. Then press the top down slowly over the grounds, pressing firmly at the end. Mmmm. (03/22/2005)
Good water is a must. I use filtered water for all our drinking and cooking needs. I buy 3 & 5 gallon bottles and have a dispenser in the kitchen. We have well water and it is full of rust and heaven knows what else! Also, I agree, Columbian coffee is the best. I have tried expensive coffees and have found that the best for us is Walmart's brand, Great Value Columbian.
Eight O'Clock brand is excellent, too. Both are a lot less expensive then most of the others. I also use the decaf brand of the same. I also keep my coffee in the freezer. Always start with cold, cold water. I use a drip coffee maker, nothing fancy. I get compliments all the time on my coffee. (05/20/2005)
Adding just a pinch of salt to your coffee grounds will enhance the flavor and help take the bitterness out of your coffee. Add the salt just before you are ready to brew your coffee.
By Robin (06/09/2005)
1 - good coffee
2 - clean, cold filtered water (While it is the heat that extract the flavour from the bean, let your coffeemaker do the heating work for best results.)
3 - The tip about water in the filter basket to make the filter stick is a good one. Nothing more gross than a mouthful of grinds at the bottom of your cup.
4 - I use one heaping tablespoon of coffee for every two cups pf water. That seems to be the mix that works best in most retail type coffeemakers for me.
The need for good, cold water is correct. I also use a french press. I pour boiling water over freshly ground coffee. 2 tablespoons per 8 ounces water. Let brew for 4 minutes. Stir toroughly. Push press down and put coffe in a heated thermos. Serve. Best coffee I've ever made. (06/30/2005)
Did I mention water? Nuff said. 1 T. Per cup, and stay away from the very dark French/Italian roasts, because producers will NOT char-broil their best beans, get it? Never boil and age is your enemy, make drink and make again. Wired yet?
I always add a pinch of salt to mine. Does wonders for taking that bitter edge off the coffee. (01/24/2006)
The secret to good tea and coffee is in the water. I have well water here, and it makes great coffee. If you cannot use bottled water, use purified water. (01/24/2006)
I have a trusty Mr. Coffee had it longer than the husband of 10 years! I use Folgers. I always buy a small ground flavored coffee like hazelnut and then
add two teaspoons of hazelnut coffee for each 8 cup pot of coffee. I like the taste of it. Also I use 2 coffee filters with cold filtered water. Hope this helps. (01/24/2006)
Salt is a must for good coffee. I use vanilla flavoring in my coffee. Start with a couple of drops in the coffee grounds just before brewing. If that isn't enough add a few more drops and go from there. Ellen from CA (01/24/2006)
I have not heard of salt in your coffee. Filtered water and good coffee is the best. A lot of them, like Folgers, "spray on " their aroma, you can tell because about 1/2 way through the can, you can't smell the aroma (one of the factors of good coffee: oils are present throughout.
For canned, I would go with S&W (any roast) or Yuban...generics can be bland, dry and questionable! For bagged, Eight O'clock is the best deal, hands down! I drank it for years with NO complaints. They have the Colombian ground, so don't worry if you don't have a grinder (burr is best, and you can taste a difference!
Clean out your coffeemaker at least once a month, especially if you have hard water (still clean if you use filtered) Running without a filter, fill vinegar to 3 cups and water (for 10) and shut it off part way through the brewing cycle, letting it sit for two minutes, then finish cycle, cool, and brew through one-two pots clean water for rinse. Then for your pot use COLD water (even hard is okay...as long as it is cold) and measure the coffee for your first pot 1 tablespoon coffee per 6 oz cup.
Coffee scoops are usually 2 Tbs, or 1/8 cup, so think of 8 servings as 1/4 measuring cup of coffee (grounds and beans measure the same). If it is a stronger roast, or not familiar with the acidity, fill the water a little over your serving amount; some water will be absorbed by the grounds. Drink or put in carafe as soon as it is brewed; coffee on a burner plate gets hot spots, and will turn bitter and thick from water evaporation.
I am a coffee junkie, I brew two pots a day; my husband prefers espresso (stovetop cafetteria) but always has cream/splenda....YUCK I can only drink black coffee, so I can tell you nothing about flavours and additives. What I didn't learn from working at a coffee/kitchen shoppe for 6 months, I learned from the bag or can of every package I buy and trial/error!
Oh: best to store your coffee in the refridgerator or freezer in an airtight canister (preferably bag to let out excess air) that guarantees it will not dry out and be brittle. (01/24/2006)
Add a shake or 2 of ground cinnamon to your fresh coffee grounds along with a pinch of salt!
By Patt T.
Make low acid coffee. www.toddycafe.com
Lasts for weeks in the fridge and all you do is heat up a bit of the concentrate with hot water. Excellent hot or cold. (01/26/2006)
As a coffee addict from a long line of coffee addicts, I can offer the following suggestions. First of all, everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a cup of primo joe. Some people are happy with what I and, presumably, you, would consider rather vile swill. I am a little more picky and since it welcomes the beginning of what will probably be a day I like my coffee to be a good place to start. I figure if I start the day with garbage coffee, I will both deserve and acquire a garbage day, so I try to get this right.
First of all the water is critical. I mean, I don't care how strong you like your coffee it's still mostly water (or you'll have to eat it with a knife and fork.) It is impossible to make good coffee with bad water. It is also best to use fresh drawn water rather something that's been sitting in a pipe or a bottle, because drawing it fresh introduces air into it, which is good. Don't use water from your hot water tap. It will have been sitting in the water heater's tank for awhile and will contain silt and no telling what else that has settled into that tank. If you use tap water use only cold, and let it run until it *feels* cold.
The second thing to consider is the beans. There are many different types of beans to be found, and some are so good they'll hurt your feelings. They also tend to cost a lot of money. The good news is you really don't have to spend all that money to enjoy good coffee.
There was a time when I bought most of my beans from a place that imported them and roasted them, and they were the best I've ever had. However, I discovered some interesting things about them: the Kona, which I'd just paid $20.00 a pound for, tasted a lot better if I used one scoop of Kroger Colombian ($3.99 per pound) per four scoops of the expensive stuff. That cheap coffee actually improved the flavor of the Kona.
Colombian coffee is, by law, held to pretty strict standards. They only export Arabaca beans. Most other coffee-growing countries produce a lot of Robusta coffee beans, and trust me on this: you don't want that garbage in your cup. There are excellent coffees produced in other countries, but I don't think you can beat Colombian for the price. Also, the best way I've found to clean coffee pots and cups is to use a clean dishcloth and a generous amount of baking soda. Soda is a fine abrasive and cuts the coffee stains right out. For an automatic drip coffee maker, use white vinegar. This de-limes the system. There will not be any coffee stains in the plumbing of the system and combining vinegar and soda is not a good idea, so don't use them together. Vinegar is for flushing, soda is for scrubbing, and never the twain shall meet unless you want a rather fizzy situation.
One other thing: water temperature is very important and sadly most drip coffeemakers don't get this right. The ideal temperature is just below boiling. The best way I've found to accomplish this is to use a Melitta manual drip coffeemaker and heat the water in a kettle on the stove, monitoring the temp with a candy thermometer. Alternately, just bring the water to a boil and allow it to cool for a minute or so before pouring over the grounds.
The pleasure one finds in coffee, like many other things, depends a lot upon how badly one wants it. When I first wake up there absolutely must be coffee. Of course I'd prefer it to be good stuff but I'll settle for just about anything as long as it's not weak. (Weak coffee is inexcuseable; if the coffee's too strong for you, you can add water. If it's too weak you'll have to boil a lot of the water out and this wastes time and ruins beautiful wake-up moments. Make it strong and let the wimps water it down.) I dislike instant coffee but still keep a jar around because if I wake up and there is no coffee a straight line... the shortest distance between two points... is in order.
At such times I will resort to water, a microwave, and some gravelly looking brown stuff that reminds me of well-used kitty litter but is sold as 'instant coffee'. At that point I don't distinguish flavors very well so I'll take their word for it. If I eventually discover that my first impression was correct, at least this could provide a rare job opportunity for my cat. There aren't many things she's qualified to do other than being a cat.
Is one cup sufficient to brew a 60 cup pot of coffee?