The Perfect Cup
Skip the under-prepared and over-priced options and go for the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had – right under your own roof
By (614) MagazinePublished January 17, 2012
Everybody has big dreams for 2012, but often, it’s the little things that make the difference. You need to start your day on the right foot, and for most folks that requires a stellar cup of coffee. We’re not talking low-test gas station stuff; save your rewards points for that King Size Snickers.
Trying to get it in gear without that old morning jolt is like trying to win the Indy 500 without spark plugs. If you want to kick off your new year with the proper zing, take the advice of Andy Luck, Master Barista and proprietor of Luck Bros’ Coffee in Grandview, and follow these key steps.
Tap water is fine if you don’t smell chemicals, and spring water is better, but for the perfect cup, get to the Clintonville Community Market and pick up some Super Oxygenated Reverse Osmosis water. Keep some in the fridge and you will probably stop drinking soda, too. It is that good.
Start off using one tablespoon of coffee for every three ounces of water, then adjust up or down to taste from there. Keep the water temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit and only brew for four minutes. If the water gets too hot or you over-steep the beans, it’s gonna be a bitter Monday.
Buy fresh roasted beans from a reputable source. A micro-roaster may exist in your neighborhood. Try Brioso downtown, Upper Cup in Olde Towne East, Bexley Coffee Shop in Bexley, Impero in Grove City and the Short North, or Luck Bros’ in Grandview. Fresh beans brew better coffee. Pick a quality bean with a flavor you like, and don’t buy in bulk. If you buy the mega-size bag and store it in your pantry for two months, it will go stale. Purchase beans that have been bagged right after roasting and only buy a one-week supply at a time.
For the perfect cup of brew, you will need to invest in a worthy grinder. You can find great advice on purchasing grinders at the shops listed above. My favorites are made by Baratza and Hario. Avoid cheap blade grinders, as they can burn the beans and add a bitter taste to the coffee.
For brewing one cup of coffee at a time, my favorite methods are the Clever Coffee Brewer or Chemex 3 Cup Brewer. Used properly, they produce very well pronounced flavors and body. A Hario Kettle is a must. And don’t forget to use your brain; fill it with online brewing guides from Sweet Maria and third-wave roasters like Counter Culture and Gimme! Coffee. Drink your coffee within 20 minutes of preparation. If you want to drink the best, you have to drink it fresh.