You know the feeling. Sitting in front of your computer, trying to complete a video project that is due the next day. Tonight is an “all-nighter” type of night. In order to successfully pull off your all-nighter without falling asleep, (we’re looking at you, guy who drools on his keyboard) an outside source of energy is usually needed.
So what are the options? Energy drinks would work, but the negative health risks the media crams down our throats makes me a little leery. Self-inflicted torture is a no no. Same with illegal drugs. (Which is ironic, because as I wrote this, the song “Do You Like Drugs…” by Miguel started playing.)
No, the best option is coffee. And while tea might be…your cup of tea, the amount of caffeine in an 8 oz cup of brewed coffee vs black tea is 95-200 mg to 14-61 mg. So you’re getting more bang for your buck.
Now that coffee has obliterated the competition, (as it should) it’s time to teach you how to make it. You might be asking, why would I learn this from you? Who are you to teach me how to brew coffee? Well, let’s just say I know a thing or two about competing in national-level coffee brew-offs. Oh, and I’ve never been a barista in my life. That’s right, this is a hobby. So while y’all are lurking on Reddit or playing video games, I’m spending my time in the lab, obsessing over my coffee-to-water ratio, whether I have filtered water, whether that water is heated to the right temperature, the amount of agitation I need to apply, and at what time will I let the coffee stop brewing.
I know what you’re thinking. That’s a lot of work for just some coffee. Trust me. It’s not. Especially when the end result is a beautifully clean cup of coffee with tasting notes of berries, dark chocolate cake, etc. And don’t worry, there is no bitter aftertaste when you correctly brew a cup of coffee.
How does one achieve this? Here’s some steps to obtaining better coffee.
- Buy Better Coffee Beans: Yes, it may be simpler to buy coffee at your local Starbucks or grocery store, but no one knows how old those beans are. Coffee beans stay fresh 30 days after their roast date. Most artisan roasters provide the roast date. If not, then don’t buy that coffee. Remember to buy whole beans. Your beans will stay fresher and your coffee will taste substantially better. Coffee Review is a great source for buying coffee online. They list the top 10 coffees to buy at the moment and provide detailed reviews of each of them. Other ways to learn about awesome coffees from around the country to check out these blogs: Snob Coffery & Daily Shot of Coffee.
- Grind Those Better Beans: As I stated above, buy whole beans. This means you’ll have to grind those beans each time you make a cup of coffee. It’s worth it though. The quality in taste is incredible. You can buy any burr grinder, but know that the burrs go bad after a few years. Baratza will replace those burrs for a very very low price. Another option is buying a hand grinder. That’s what I use.
- Brew Better Coffee:The art of manually brewing coffee is therapeutic, enjoyable, and relaxing. It’s the perfect way to take your mind off of that project.
So, should you use a French Press? You could. My recommendation is to use a Clever Coffee Dripper. At only $18, it’s a great value for a manual coffee brewer. But machines work pretty well also. Just follow the first step and any machine should work well. Whatever method you use, remember to do your research and find how-to videos. The internet is a great resource. No really, it is!
- Storing Your Coffee: DO NOT STORE YOUR COFFEE IN THE REFRIGERATOR OR FREEZER! I still do not understand where this misconception came from. Coffee beans suck up aromas from it’s surroundings. The last thing you want is to taste last week’s leftover vegetable curry. Instead, store coffee in an airtight glass or ceramic container and keep it in a convenient, but dark and cool, location. Remember that a cabinet near the oven is often too warm, as is a cabinet on an outside wall of your kitchen if it receives heat from a strong afternoon or summer sun.
- How To Drink Your Coffee: Here’s where the ridiculousness comes in. If you follow all of these steps, your coffee should come out better. But did you know that the way how you sip on your coffee may also affect the taste? That’s right! Professional coffee tasters slurp their coffee. The reason is to ariete the coffee in your mouth to taste more of the subtleties of the coffee.
Hopefully these tips and links will help you survive that all-nighter. Just remember, have fun with it!