What makes a great cup of coffee?

There are so many elements that go into this that volumes could be written covering all of the bases. Most of the qualities of what people consider a “good cup of coffee,” however, come down to science.

Other aspects, like how much cream and sugar you add, are a matter of preference. But preferences aside, here are the objective factors that go into an amazing cup of coffee:

Clean Equipment and Water

You can get everything else about a cup of coffee right, but if it’s brewed using equipment that hasn’t been cleaned properly in weeks, then it will always have a bitter, dirty lingering undertaste that literally and figuratively sours the experience.

Make sure you clean out your coffee maker or pour-over apparatus regularly to remove all those lingering oils and residues. Include any coffee grinders since exposing any part of coffee to oxygen over time, including old grounds, results in a lower-quality end product.

Also be sure to always use filtered water both when brewing coffee and giving equipment a final cleaning pass.

Fresh, Properly Stored Coffee

Once again, oxygen is the enemy to delicious coffee. The longer something has been exposed to it, the more it will break down into less-tasty compounds.

For this reason, we recommend fresh whole beans roasted not more than six months ago, like our fine roasted-to-order specialty coffees. Whole beans can keep longer than six months in the freezer, but they will always need to be kept in an airtight container.

Try to grind your coffee within 5-10 minutes of brewing at an appropriate size for your brewing method. For instance, brewer coffee and pour overs usually require a medium-sized grind, French presses need a coarse grind and espresso usually needs a fine grind. A burr grinder produces the best results.

If you do buy already-ground coffee, there’s no shame! It is super convenient and almost as tasty as long as it has been stored in an airtight container and was ground soon after roasting.

Proper Brewing Temperature, Time and Water Ratio

This part is where the science comes in.

Brewing is the process of using perfectly hot water in the perfect ratio to extract delicious things out of coffee grounds. Too hot of water or too much water means you can over-extract the coffee and end up pulling out the bitterness. Too little water or too cold of a temperature means you could have an overly-strong brew or one that maybe lacks all the expected flavors.

We recommend staying away from percolators unless you use a stovetop Italian coffee maker. Stick with drip machines, and clean them often. Alternatively, invest in a pourover system to get the ultimate control and precision!

Properly Stored Brewed Coffee

After brewing, coffee will break down into less tasty and often sour versions of its former self. Keeping the brew at a high temperature only hastens this process. Try to keep coffee on the burner for no more than ten minutes, and store leftovers in an airtight carafe for later. Even then, brewed coffee will lose its punch after a few hours.

Delicious, Quality-Sourced Gourmet Coffee Beans

In many ways, beans are the most important part of the coffee quality equation. You should worry about the above points to get to where you are doing the beans justice, but once you know the basics it comes down to trying new beans and experimenting with temperatures to get the perfect brew.

The need for quality raw ingredients is why we at J. Martinez & Company source only the highest-quality gourmet coffee beans. We bring you fine coffees and teas from all over the world in a variety of delicious flavor profiles. Each batch is roasted and ground to your specification, making it as fresh as possible.

Take your coffee game to the next level by ordering the best gourmet coffee beans for you, your friends and your family today.