Ever since writing about the topic matter of Bulletproof Coffee, in my Blog Post Titled: “Bulletproof Coffee What Gives!!??!!” I have had several folks inquire as to what I use to make my perfect cup of joe. So, I would be glad to share with you my personal secrets when it comes to my epic morning cup of coffee, that tastes incredible!!
In my humble opinion you need three things to make a phenomenal cup of coffee
- Fresh Coffee Beans
- Burr Coffee Grinder
- French Press Brewing Method
I have always been a coffee nut and for the longest time used a typical coffee drip machine and coffee that came pre-ground. I tried a wide variety of brands and flavors of pre-ground coffee, but, even though I found a few that satisfied me, I never knew what I was missing out on in terms of favor and taste, until a friend made me a cup of coffee using freshly ground coffee beans, coupled with the brewing method of a french press. I was astonished, I mean WOW, what a difference, I felt as though I was experiencing coffee for the first time again, thus began my conquest to find the best coffee beans, perfect coffee grinder and the right french press for me!!
Choosing Quality Coffee Beans
Quality Coffee Beans are a must when making that perfect cup of joe in the morning, I think most of us are used to the pre-ground stale coffee that lines the shelves of the grocery stores. I know I was until I had my own epiphany :) This is just a brief rundown of the basics concerning coffee, I am by no means an expert. Also, the following recommendations come solely from my opinion.
The two main types of coffee beans Arabica Beans and Robusta Beans.
Arabica Beans: Are the preferred and most prized beans often sought out by coffee connoisseurs. These beans are grown at the highest altitude, have less caffeine, less acidity, more aromatic properties, and are considered to be the superior bean by many coffee drinking aficionados. The finest coffee roasters use arabica beans; they give coffee its aroma, smoothness and body.
Robusta Beans: These beans are most commonly used in low-priced commercial blends, instant coffee and your standard run of the mill coffee found in your local grocery store. These beans are lower quality, offered a lower prices and are made up of inferior blends and roasts.
I say go with Arabica Beans, definitely a difference in taste and quality! Now you know the difference in beans, let’s talk about finding the freshest beans available.
- Raw Coffee Beans: Retain their freshness for years, but you have to roast them yourself or find a local coffee roaster in your community
- Roasted Coffee Beans: Lose their freshness within a week.
- Ground Coffee: Will lose it’s freshness in less than an hour after it’s ground, which is what you’ll primary find at the grocery store,
In a perfect world, I would love to learn how to roast my own coffee beans, but most don’t really have time for that (lord knows I don’t). You could try and find a local coffee roaster in your area, if you go the route of buying green coffee beans. When it come to my coffee beans, I buy them whole and already roasted. There are many good organic coffee bean options, my current favorite is Upgraded Coffee. I recommend you branch out and experiment with different organic coffee beans to find the perfect beans for you!
Upgraded Coffee Beans are harvested in Central America from passive organic estates without chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, etc.). Once the ripest beans are hand picked, a unique process is used to create a special green coffee bean, free of harmful molds, bacteria, and toxins that leave you feeling jittery or cranky and often rob you of the health components found in your coffee.
Upgraded Coffee Beans are roasted in small batched under the strictest condition to achieve the highest quality and minimize the formation of toxin from the roasting process. I love these beans and highly recommend them.
*****Don’t forget to put your coffee beans in an air tight container to preserve the freshness*****
Picking the Right Coffee Grinder
There are two commonly used types of coffee grinders, the burr grinder and the blade grinder, I personally prefer the burr grinder and feel you’re able to preserve the quality and taste of the coffee substantially as opposed to the blade grinder.
The blade grinder is relatively inexpensive and appears to be more commonly used. The metal blade cuts the coffee beans and allows you to control the fineness of the grounds by the duration of time you let the blade run. Unfortunately, this often causes the resulting coffee grounds to be uneven in size, which affects the brewing quality. Another downside, when grinding coffee beans finely, leaving them in the grinder for a longer period of time, can cause the heat from the friction of the blades. This can lead to a burnt taste to your coffee and also strip some of the healthy components for your coffee; such as, good oils and antioxidants.
However, I believes its still a better option than buying coffee pre-ground at the store. There are many blade grinder options available, here are a few choices.
Burr Grinders are a bit more expensive, but a great investment, let me tell you why. The burr grinder crushes the beans between a grinding wheel and non-moving surface, which results in an even and consistent grind. You can even adjust the coarseness of the grind from coarse to fine, by adjusting the burr, which is important depending on the method you choose to brew your coffee. Also, minimal heat is created so the grinds are well preserved, thus no burnt coffee or loss in nutritional substance. Burr grinders are the way to go, you won’t be disappointed and your coffee beans will thank you:)
I did quite a bit of research on coffee grinders before settling on a Hario Canister Ceramic Burr Grinder that I have absolutely come to love!!! You may be thinking, “Manual grinder? That would take forever, right?” Wrong, it takes me about twenty to thirty seconds to grind my coffee fresh every morning, not to mention it is easy to clean and I love the old fashioned look!!! Probably my favorite kitchen gadget, LOL.
The French Press Brewing Method
French Press Brewing, in my opinion, is the best and preserves the amazing taste of your coffee as well as maintaining all the nutritional value, which often gets destroyed or stripped when using filters or the drip machine method.
Coffee machines were originally made for convenience, not for quality, below are some of the downfalls:
- Cannot control water temperature, which is very important, water that is not heated to the right temperature will not brew coffee correctly.
- Drip machines always have some sort of filter in the brewing chamber that negatively effects the coffee by affecting the favor of the roast. The filters can also hold back natural oils that are released during the brewing process, thus striping away some of the nutritional benefits.
- The brewing process of a french press is simple vs. a drip machine, where you have to fit filters, fill the reservoir, put grinds in and then wait for the cycle to process. Whereas with a french press you pour grinds in pot, steep and press down, then done!
- Coffee strength can be varied through as french press. The grinds steep in water without interference, allowing for the natural oils and flavors to enter the water. The brew time can vary from 30 sec to minutes to reach the desired strength. Whereas a drip machine the water goes through one way every time, without variance.
- The french press is easy to clean; just a glass cylinder to rinse out. Drip machines require more effort and are sometimes tedious to clean, often requiring some level of dis-assembly to clean properly. This results in many people not cleaning their coffee makers very often; how often do you think the office coffee maker is cleaned out? Also, filters can stain and the coffee is burned in the carafe and on the outside heating element.
The French Press method is easy to use in the comfort of your own home and leaves your coffee tasting rich, bold and delicious. Simply put, you grind your fresh coffee coarsely, add to your french press pot, then add hot water allowing the coffee to steep for 3-4 minutes. After steeping, slowly push the plunger down, pour and serve.
The only thing that comes in contact with your coffee is water, no filters to hold back flavors or healthy oils. This is a great Blog Post from Nichole Mayer that gives great depth in pictures and content on how to utilize the French Press Method. Below is also a quick instruction video as well.
After lots of research and trial and error, I found the Bodum Chambord French Press is my favorite and one of the best!! I purchased the 3 cup version, that is all I need, but there is also an 8 cup version Bodum Chambord French Press as well.
This particular french press is inexpensive and does a great job, plus simple to use with easy clean up. A definite win and you won’t be disappointed. Of course you can get super fancy if you would like and go for an expensive french press, but its not really necessary, here are a few more choices. I recommend glass french presses and not plastic versions.
I hope this helped to answer some of your questions, let me know if you need more info. Feel free to share your favorite coffee beans or secrets that you use to make your perfect cup of joe. I would love to hear them and I’m know everyone else would too!!
Side note: My next post will entail my exciting experience at the CrossFit Strongman Trainer Course, stay tuned!!!