Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee each day. That’s a lot. But unfortunately, most people will take whatever preground stuff they bought at the store, dump it into an old drip coffee machine, press a button, and call it a cup of coffee.
You can do better.
Even if you don’t grind your own beans at home, ground coffee has all sorts of versatile uses to craft an amazing, energizing beverage — hot or cold. Stop settling for the same old stuff every morning, and try these ways to elevate your morning brew.
But First, GOOD Coffee
Every good cup starts with, and I can’t stress this enough, high-quality coffee. It seems like an obvious statement, but so many people head straight for cheap beans that go through a poor roasting process. It’s not that different than comparing processed meat to high-quality grass-fed beef.
Find a good bag of organic fair trade coffee, and you’re already winning.
Drip Coffee (Done Right)
If you’re going to stick with the old drip machine, there are a few tricks to get the best coffee from America’s most popular brewing method.
- Keep it clean! Calcium deposits will build up over time, resulting in bitter coffee. Run one part vinegar to two parts water through your brewer for two cycles and then once more with plain water. If your machine uses a charcoal filter, make sure it’s replaced according to the manual.
- Rinse your filters. Rinsing your paper filters under cold water primes them for a better brew and gets rid of impurities that ruin taste.
- Use proper measurements. Too much or too little will throw off the taste. The general rule for drip coffee is 2 tablespoons for 16 fluid ounces of water.
- Turn off the heat. Leaving a pot of coffee on the heat will turn it bitter. As soon as it’s done brewing, turn off the heat and enjoy.
It may have a fancy name, but this is one of the simplest brewing methods and nearly impossible to ruin. All you need is coffee, hot water, and a press that you can find online for less than $25.
It works like this:
- Remove the top of the press, and add 1-2 tablespoons of coarse ground coffee (Isagenix Coffee is perfect for this consistency) for every 6 fluid ounces of hot water. I like to use my drip coffee maker to heat up a pot of filtered water.
- Place the top back on the press, but don’t push down the plunger yet. Let it steep for three to five minutes depending on how strong you like your coffee.
- Gently press down the plunger so the grounds are pushed to the bottom and the brewed coffee sits on top.
- Pour and enjoy an instant upgrade from your typical coffee maker.
OK, now we’re getting fancy. In my opinion, there isn’t a better-tasting cup of coffee than one brewed in a Chemex carafe. It requires a little extra time and special equipment, but it’s worth every minute and penny (and it’s not that expensive).
A Chemex or similarly branded carafe costs just under $50. You’ll also need coffee filters (normal cone filters work, but they make special filters that are a bit more durable), a coffee grinder or finely ground coffee, hot water (the drip machine still works), and a kitchen scale (every good kitchen should have one).
There’s a little more science to this, but the final result is a cup of coffee you’ll swear came straight from your favorite cafe:
- Place the filter in the carafe, and pour in some hot water to prime the filter and heat the carafe. Then pour that water out.
- If you’re using a coffee grinder, set the grind to just a little coarser than espresso but finer than normal drip.
- Use your kitchen scale to measure 37 grams of coffee, and transfer it to the filter. Then put the carafe on the scale and pour 250 grams of hot water over the coffee, making sure no dry clumps remain.
- Once the water has drained through, pour another 250 grams of hot water over the sides where coffee stuck to the filter and over the rest of the coffee in the middle.
- Remove the filter, and pour the best cup of homemade coffee you’ve ever tasted.
If you’re like me, hot coffee is a no-go during summer. I have no interest in mixing lava with fire, and that’s why I love making my own cold brew during the summer months.
And here’s the thing — this is the easiest method to make coffee! Once you realize how simple it is, you’ll never justify spending $5 on an iced coffee ever again. It works like this:
- Buy two plastic pitchers from the store, the ones your mom made fruit juice and punch in when you were a kid.
- Measure 8 ounces (by weight) of coarsely ground coffee on your kitchen scale. Isagenix Coffee is a perfect consistency for cold brew!
- Cold brew isn’t an exact science like the Chemex, but 8 fluid ounces of water for every ounce of coffee is a good starting ratio.
- Pour in the proper amount of water, give the mixture a few stirs, and place in your refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, layer some cheesecloth over a mesh strainer and place it on top of the second empty picture. Pour the coffee from the first pitcher into the strainer, and let it run completely through.
- You now have delicious cold brew concentrate that can last up to two weeks!
This is important … you just made a cold brew concentrate. That means if you drink it straight, you will bounce off the walls for the rest of the day. Mix it 50/50 with cold water, add a little of your favorite cream (I like heavy whipping cream), and sip during those hot days.
This one is a bonus, but it’s my absolute favorite way to enjoy coffee. It has nothing to do with the brewing method or ingredients, but where I am — outside.
I don’t care if it’s instant coffee or made in a vintage percolator, there is nothing better than waking up in a tent, stepping out into the brisk, fresh air and scent of pine, and warming up with a piping hot coffee.
However you brew, I hope this list puts a better cup of coffee in front of you today than the one you had yesterday. As for me, I think I’m going to pack up my car, head for the mountains, and get started on method number five.