Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Ways to Take Your Coffee to the Next Level!

Are you ready for a better cup of joe? Here are 7 ways to take your coffee to the next level:

1. Don't microwave; re-brew.

You reach for your mug, only to find that the cup of piping hot java you poured four hours ago has mysteriously grown cold! Before you put that mug in the microwave, consider pouring the coffee back into the machine and running it through again - you'll trade that awful, microwavey taste for genuine, fresh brewed goodness.

2. The refrigerator method.

It's a borderline cliche: ice cubes made of coffee will keep your iced coffee tasting fresh. That's all good and well for iced coffee amateurs, but iced coffee pros know that brewing the coffee in the fridge is the real way to go. BONUS: Store your pre-ground coffee in an open container in the back of the fridge to let it absorb that cool and refreshing refrigerator je ne sais quoi.

3. Stop wasting perfectly good coffee grounds.

You know what really irks me? Whenever I see people throwing away grounds after only one or two brew cycles! If they only knew all that coffee went through to get from the farm to the cup - what a waste of such a precious commodity! Most experts agree that coffee can hold its flavor for anywhere from 4-8 brew cycles. There is still flavor in there, people! In fact, the more you brew the same coffee grounds, the wider the range of flavors you begin to extract, not to mention that Mother Earth will thank you for cutting back on paper filter waste.

4. Slice and dice.

Everyone knows that fresh ground coffee is the best way to take your coffee to the next level; that is why I grind my coffee for the week fresh every Monday! Now, I realize that not everyone can afford one of those fancy, highfalutin blade grinders. But hey, guess what? You probably have a drawer full of blades in your kitchen already! Bust out the knife and start chopping! The downside is that this will take a little longer, but the upside is that your coffee beans will be more precisely diced to the size you prefer.

5. Do the Dew.

One thing I just don't understand is decaf. What's the point? I like my caffeine buzz. If you're with me, then try boosting the caffeine content by replacing water with a caffeinated liquid. You will be flying high in no time!

6. More oven = more lovin'.

We all love a dark roast from time to time, but we don't always want to buy all different kinds of coffee. That's why I suggest only buying blonde roast! Then you can just finish roasting it yourself in the oven (if you are in a "dark" kind of mood) or leave it as is (if you are feeling "blonde"). TIP: Bake on a lower temp for longer (e.g. 350 F for 30 minutes) to get a subtle, "French Roast" taste. Bake on a higher temp for shorter (e.g. 450 F for 15 minutes) to get a bolder, "Italian Roast" taste.

7.  Brew up a three-course meal.

This last one is a bit out of the box, but hang with me. I got to a point where I was sick of the same old flavors in my coffee: French Vanilla, Hazelnut, blah, blah, blah. So I thought, why not add some unique flavors by putting actual food items in the brew basket? The possibilities are truly endless; you can have a trip to the ballpark for a hot dog or a Chicago-style pizza or a Thanksgiving dinner right in your mug! My theory is that one day, drinking coffee will replace eating altogether.

What are your secrets to better coffee?