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It’s amazing how many Americans will settle for a terrible cup of coffee made from freeze dried grounds, and how some of them will even feel satisfied after drinking it. Let me put the record straight about ‘instant’ coffee.
On the coffee plantations around the world, the freshly picked beans are put into barrels of water to wash them and test for disease. Those that sink are healthy, and are taken away to be ground or packed for fresh coffee. Those that float are diseased, or unfit to use, and these get scraped off and used to make instant coffee.
That’s why there is such a taste difference between the two. Fortunately, diseases found in coffee plants can’t be transferred to humans, but there is only one sure fire way to protect yourself from a potential virus: make fresh coffee.
The process starts with the coffee itself. Like most luxury items (just because people are addicted to it doesn’t mean it’s a given human right!), the more you can spend on coffee, the better quality you’ll get. The best types, such as Jamaican Blue Mountain, can go for $50 for 100 grams, but you don’t need to spend that much for a decent cup.
There is little difference between pre-ground coffee and coffee beans, apart from you need a grinding device for the beans. Some people prefer the taste of freshly ground coffee, but it’s important to make sure you get the correct coarseness of grain for your coffee maker.
Coffee also comes with different strengths, and it’s good to have an idea of your caffeine tolerance before you go shopping. With coffee in hand, it’s time to a make the perfect cup. If you have an electric coffee maker, follow the instructions.
These guys know what they’re doing. If you’re using a cafetiere or stove top device, read on. You need to pack your coffee down a little (plunging the plunger in the cafetiere will do this for you), and most importantly, use water that isn’t quite boiling. This means taking the kettle off just before it boils, or putting your stove top device on a low heat.
Boiling water burns the coffee and gives it a very bitter taste (another thing that people do with instant coffee is pour boiling water on it), whilst very hot water allows the flavors of the coffee to come through. Purists will drink it black to preserve the flavor. If you must add cream and sugar, do so in moderation so you get the full benefit of the taste of the bean.