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commit b1f4bb10f9e3fc00c740e6a24074e792624b5db0 1 parent 47363da
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2  Makefile
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152 pending_posts/2011-10-stop-having-boring-coffee.markdown
@@ -14,19 +14,157 @@ different types of coffee and why I like to prepare them, they usually
don't understand why I'd do that much for "just coffee." Then they try
some of the coffee I make; most people understand after that.
-I think a lot of people like coffee, but evidence suggests they don't
-really understand how to make good coffee. Many people have never
-even tasted a good cup of brewed coffee, so they have no basis for
+I focus on brewed coffee in this guide (as opposed to espresso, which
+is its own discipline). Brewed coffee is great to take up at home
+for a few reasons:
+1. The quality of the coffee can be quite high even with very basic
+2. The equipment that brewed coffee requires is inexpensive.
+3. It's a lot easier to get a huge diversity of flavor without extra
+effort with brewed coffee.
+Still, a lot of people believe that making their own coffee would daunting,
+difficult, or too expensive. The reality is that it simply doesn't
+take *that much* skill to make a competent cup. I've taken some of the
+things I've learned about coffeemaking and put them into a simple
+list, ordered by the impact it will have on your experience.
## 5 Steps To Better Coffee
-### 1. Grind your coffee freshly.
+### 1. Grind Your Coffee Freshly
+It turns out that the worst thing we do with our coffee is that we
+pre-grind it. When a coffee bean is ground, it is basically shattered
+and all the flavor starts to seep out. If you leave it sitting
+overnight this way (even sealed), all the compounds that give the
+coffee flavor either seep away or get oxidized. The result is muddy,
+boring, vegetal coffee.
+So, the first order of business for getting better coffee is to get an
+inexpensive conical burr grinder. You can get some pretty fancy
+hardware with this, but for starters there are two good, inexpensive
+1. A simple hand grinder. These are cheap, they do a surprisingly good
+job (for brewed coffee's medium and coarse grinds), and they help you
+gt in shape. You cannot use them to make a lot of coffee at once, but
+that's generally not a problem when you're making coffee after first
+light. I recommend [this model]()
+2. An inexpensive electric grinder. You can go really deep down the
+rabbit hole on this, but a lot of people have had great luck with the
+[](), which costs less than $80 and is easy to find.
+Once you have a good coffee grinder, grinding your coffee right before
+you use it is pretty easy. Even with store-bought coffees you will
+notice an immediate improvement in the quality of yor cup. Roasted
+coffee goes stale much more slowly than ground coffee, so if nothing
+else you can keep coffee longer.
### 2. Buy Fresh Coffee
-### 3. Don't Use A Drip Machine
+Now that you're grinding your coffee freshly, it makes sense to get
+fresh coffee. Most major cities in America have coffee roasteries now,
+so look around and experment! You can also order bags shipped in from
+fairly good roasters around the country.
+This is the point where you'll probably start to notice a really big
+quality difference between your coffee and the coffee you drink
+everywhere else. Freshly ground, freshly roasted coffee is really a
+lot better than what most poeple drink.
+I reached this state and said to myself, "Gosh it's nice having a good
+cup of coffee in the morning, but I sure do wish I could have this at
+work too." It turns out that there's an easy way to do this.
+### 3. Measure Your Coffee & Water
+Once you're picking out freshly roasted coffee and grinding it at
+home, you no longer have the benefit of using pre-measured coffee. You
+have to worry about how much coffee you put in the pot: too much and
+you're wasting coffee, too little and your coffee is an undrinkable
+bitter desert.
+Fortunately, it's pretty easy to figure this stuff out. Use a simple
+gram-accurate kitchen scale (even inexpensive ones will do) and stick
+to the simple ratio. When we make coffee, we are using water to
+extract flavor from the beans. If we extract too little, our coffee is
+watery and vegetal. Too much, and our coffee is bitter and
+It turns out that we can handle this problem by comparing relative
+weights, which means we can use simple ratios. A good "safe" ratio to
+start with is 15:1, meaning 15 parts water to one part coffee. For
+example, if you want to make 400ml of coffee (2 cups), you'd use about
+27g of coffee (to account for what you'll lose in the grinding). As
+you get better at making coffee, you can try more aggressive ratios
+like 1:17.5. For now, just focus on making better coffee.
### 4. Try Aeropressing Your Coffee
-### 5. Try simple pour-over methods.
+Now it's time to get into the fun coffee gadgetry. First of all, we're
+going to ditch your drip machine. Sorry, but very few drip coffee
+makers do a good job, and those that do often cost over $150. _We_, as
+DIY coffee fans, are going to pay a fraction of that cost for a much
+better result!
+The Aeropress is a simple one-cup brewing method that is as much a kit
+for experimenting with coffee as a tool for your morning ritual. It's
+a small, light plastic cylinder that houses a plunger. People often
+compare it to a [french press](), but it uses paper (or
+[finely perforated metal]()) filters and thus results in a clarified
+cup. It's inexpensive, easy and brilliant.
+The instructions it comes with are adequate, but you also might want
+to try the ["Viking/FourBarrell Method"]() that I detailed on
+Quora. Excluding the time it takes to heat the water, the process
+takes less than 4 minutes. It takes less time to make a cup of great
+coffee than to wait for a whole carafe of mediocre quality.
+If you've gotte this far, congratulations. You are now making better
+coffee at home than you can buy in most cafes.
+### 5. Try Simple Pour-Over Methods
+Now that you've taken a dip into hand-brewing your coffee, you'll see
+that it actually doesn't take much to get started. The next step are
+pour-over methods, of which are are a two options that I think are
+#### The Ghetto Gold
+You get a large mason jar and an inexpensive
+[Ditting Swiss Gold #2 Reusable Filter]. Then you get a kettle that is
+not awful ([the Hario Bun is popular]()). You grind your coffee the
+same way you grind for aeropress, and pour over. It should take about
+3 minutes for 27g coffee/405g water (you use a timer and pour slowly
+and periodically). This method is inexpensive, easy, and produces an
+interesting cup of coffee.
+#### Chemex
+Much can be said about the [design and history]() of the
+venerable Chemex devices. They are more expensive and require
+(inexpensive) disposable filters. There are a lot of tutorials for the
+Chemex online, but in general you follow the same simple procedure;
+for 27-35g of coffee you pour water at a 15:1 ratio and it should take
+around 3-3.5 minutes.
+A lot of people say Chemex produces their favorite variety of
+coffee. There's a lot of merit to this, and the process is very
+relaxed and fairly forgiving. If you want to have a method to make
+coffee for two or more that can be as fast or as showy as you want,
+the Chemex is a go-to method.
+## Good Coffee Everywhere
+You don't have to settle for bad coffee at home or at work. A good
+coffee setup can cost less than $50 if you bargain-shop and it quickly
+pays for itself if you frequent a local cafe (or, dare I utter it,
+Starbucks). The only investment is your time, and I value the
+5 minutes away from my desk that an afternoon aeropressing gives me.
+What's so shocking about all this is that *these methods just aren't
+that hard!* Making great coffee consistently is an art, but making
+good coffee consistently is just being methodical.
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