10 Coffee Hacks That Will Make Your Morning Cup So Much Better
For many people, a hot (or iced) cup of coffee is the best way to wake up in the morning or beat the post-lunch energy slump. And while it's easy to make a trip to your local coffee shop for a cup of the good stuff, it's even quicker and more convenient to make your own at home. A few simple tweaks to your brewing routine can result in high-quality coffee that beats your usual Starbucks order, hands down. Here are 10 things you can do to brew a better cup of coffee right in your own kitchen.
- Invest in good coffee beans.
Good coffee starts with good beans. If your beans aren't high-quality, it will be hard to coax a great cup of coffee out of them, even if you do everything else right.
- Get a grinder.
Grinding your own coffee beans can make a world of difference in the flavor of your finished cup. That's because coffee beans start to go stale right after grinding. If you buy pre-ground coffee, chances are good that it's already lost a significant amount of flavor and character. Grinding your beans fresh - either with an electric grinder or a manual one - ensures all the flavor ends up in your finished brew.
- Check the quality of the water you're using.
The quality of your water matters almost as much as the quality of your coffee beans. If your water is very hard or if you simply dislike the taste of it, your coffee won't be as good as it could be. Get a water filter if your tap water tastes unappetizing, or just keep a few gallons of store-bought water handy for making coffee.
- Keep your coffee-brewing gadgets clean.
You might be tempted to not wash your pour-over brewer every single time you want a cup of coffee, but take the time to give it a rinse. No matter what brewing system you use for your coffee, it will start to make your coffee taste stale if you don't wash it regularly. The same goes for your mug - wash it out every day so coffee deposits don't start building up inside it.
- Make your own cold brew.
Making cold brew coffee is surprisingly simple (and much cheaper than buying it premade). Just mix coarse coffee grounds and cold water in a large jar, using a ratio of two tablespoons of grounds to every cup of water. Cover the jar and put it in the fridge for 12 hours. Strain out the grounds, and your delicious, non-acidic cold brew coffee is ready to drink, with or without additions like ice, milk, and sugar.
- Whip up some flavored syrups on your stovetop.
With just sugar, water, and a few flavored extracts of your choice, you can cook up coffee syrup that's even better than the store-bought kind. Start by mixing equal parts sugar and water over medium heat. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low and keep stirring it until it's as thick as you want it. Add a few drops of a flavored extract, such as vanilla, mint, or orange. You can also experiment with adding fresh fruit, caramel, or maple syrup. Store your coffee syrups in glass jars.
- Improve your ice cubes.
Iced coffee is delicious - until the ice cubes melt and water down your drink. With a little creativity, though, you can prevent this from happening. Just make your own ice cubes out of coffee or milk, so your iced coffee will continue to get better as they melt.
- Add a pinch of flavor to your grounds.
For a fun twist on black coffee, try adding your favorite spices and herbs to your coffee grounds before adding water. Cinnamon, cocoa powder, cloves, and even cayenne are all delicious in coffee.
- Make lattes with a milk frother.
Get a milk frother, and you'll never have to leave the house for a latte again. All you need to do: Brew some very strong coffee (or espresso, if you have an espresso machine) and pour it into a mug. Heat some milk until it's steamy and add it to your frother. When the milk is as foamy as you want, use it to top off your mug, and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon if you like. You can get a handheld milk frother for under $10, so if you love lattes, the investment will pay for itself in no time.
- Add a pinch of salt.
If your coffee tastes too bitter, try stirring a tiny - tiny! - pinch of salt into it. A little salt will help to cancel out the bitter flavor. Just be careful not to overdo it, since salty coffee is worse than bitter coffee.
It's not difficult to make great coffee at home. By using good beans and filtered water, grinding your beans fresh, and making some fun add-ins like syrup to keep on hand, you can have a coffeehouse-quality cup of java any day of the week.