Brew the Healthiest and Tastiest Cup of Coffee

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The current brew-ha-ha about the healthiest way to make a cup of Joe prompted me to evaluate coffee making methods for the homespun coffee enthusiast.  Coffee is like magical nectar when you use freshly roasted beans and the right brewing techniques. After making the healthiest and tastiest cup of coffee, you will find it downright deplorable even to consider buying your brew at the same place you get your gas.

Coffee is one of the best parts of my morning routine. It outranks brushing my teeth regarding priority. As soon as my legs hit the floor in the morning, I reach for the coffee cup, not the toothbrush. I know it’s cheeky to admit. I am not ashamed that I prioritize caffeine over hygiene for the first 20 minutes of my day. With a few best brewing practices and altering your product arsenal, coffee and healthy living can coexist harmoniously in your favorite mug.As soon as my legs hit the floor in the morning, I reach for the coffee cup, not the toothbrush. Click To Tweet

Keurig

My first encounter with the Keurig came when I visited a friend for coffee. The array of selections of K-cups neatly stacked like soldiers in the Keurig pod holder dazzled me. Early on, the Keurig’s convenience deceived me and blinded my judgment for high-quality java. After a while though, I found myself on a constant search for deals on K-cups. Some weeks with no sales in hand, our pod storage container sat empty because I refused to pay full price for K-cups.

Bacteria Factor

At one point, I noticed a cloudy film form on the plastic water reservoir of our Keurig. Shortly after that, the red glow of the descale button caught my attention. This led me down the path of thinking about how standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria.

I know that if I obsessively cared for my machine, I could probably eliminate some, not all, of the grossness. Rather than devoting what limited time I have to the constant care of the Keurig, I would instead use those precious minutes drinking a cup of bacteria-free coffee.

In recent swab tests of Keurig machines, labs found up to 4.6 million colonies of bacteria and mold.

We live on a farm where we raise livestock, so I have enough issues with managing bacteria. My small appliances should not compound my fight against germs entering my kitchen.

Sustainability Factor

Eventually, the inability to recycle the K-cups weighed heavily on my granola girl conscience. After all, we are obliged to steward the environment, and for the life of me, I couldn’t find a way to go green with the plastic pods. For maybe one nanosecond I considered eviscerating the pod and composting the grinds. Nah, not happening.

Just before I kicked the Keurig to the curb, I discovered the expensive compostable pods. I am not entirely convinced the mesh filter encased with plastic is suitable for home composting.

I tried the plastic, reusable K-cups. The coffee dribbled through the device so slowly that I could have gone to Costa Rica and harvested the coffee beans quicker than to wait for a single 6-ounce cup.coffee

Brew School

Idiot proof, no school required.

After a while, the Keurig felt like fast food. I missed the whole coffee experience.

The Keurig solidified my suspicion that convenience often compromises taste.

Automatic Drip

In the early days of parenthood, an inexpensive automatic drip coffee maker took up residence on our kitchen counter.  I wish someone would have told me sooner that disappointing coffee is not synonymous with the blurry-eyed days of parenting. Besides a little bit more shut-eye, a rich, smooth cup of early morning brew may have been just what I needed.

Bacteria

After several months of use, coffee grinds buried themselves in the cracks and crevices of the automatic drip machine rendering them impossible to remove. Again, if the machine is not sanitized, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Keurig isn’t the only coffee maker hosting a germ fest; traditional coffee makers will also house bacteria, yeast, and mold if not sanitized properly. That puts a whole new spin on the phrase “what’s brewing?”

Thrive Market

Sustainability

Most automatic drip models come with a plastic filter basket. Check the owner’s manual to see if the plastic is BPA-free. Probably not. I did purchase a reusable stainless steel filter. We eventually retired the automatic drip model to the hall closet. However, the stainless steel filter remains one of my favorite kitchen tools. I use it when making homemade vanilla, kombucha, and bone broth.

Brew School

Except for high-end automatic drip coffee makers, most mid to lower grade machines offer a mediocre brew. The Specialty Coffee Association of America recommends (SCAA) procuring a model that heats the water temperatures between 195° -225° which is difficult to come by in an automatic drip model.

Also, the SCAA claims if the brew cycle is more than eight minutes the coffee develops a bitter flavor. Any time the water combines with the grounds for more than eight minutes, it extracts undesirable compounds.

The ratio of coffee to water is another skill to perfect when using a drip machine. To avoid overflow, manufacturers set a cap on the amount of coffee you should use. The manufacturer’s recommended cap may not be enough to acquire that robust flavor without the risk of overflow.

The bottom line: most automatic drip models brew a crummy cup of coffee so don’t waste your money on expensive beans.

French Press

When I sipped my first cup of coffee from a french press, I dreamily thought, “Where have you been all my adult life?”

healthiest and tastiest cup of coffee.

Unsplash- Sonny Ravesteijn

Bacteria

The French Press Coffee Maker completely disassembles so that you can thoroughly clean. My model is dishwasher safe.

Sustainability

All of the parts of my French press are either stainless steel or glass— no plastic involved.

Brew School

Since the French press does not filter out coffee oils, it yields a full-bodied cup of brew, much like espresso. With a little practice, obtaining the perfect cup is a beautiful morning ritual. You control the water temps and brew time. On occasion, if I am sloppy or in a hurry, I press the filter too quickly which allows grounds to seep into my brew sneakily.

Taking the extra steps to learn to brew coffee using the French press is a daily cafe experience at my kitchen table.

The Perfect, Healthy Cup of French Press Brew

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water
  • Steadily add just-boiled water so that grounds are fully saturated
  • Using a long spoon, stir grounds
  • Return the lid and steep for approximately 5 minutes
  • Slowly press down the filter

Instructions

  1. If your tap water has a strong mineral or chlorine flavor, use filtered water. Avoid bottled water, just use a filtration pitcher.
  2. Buy loose beans from a local roaster. Check the roasting date on the bag. Most bags with loose beans are designed to keep oxygen out of the bag (oxygen can cause the coffee to stale).
  3. Grind beans on a medium to course setting
https://www.denisesultenfuss.com/brew-the-healthiest-tastiest-cup-of-coffee/

Chemex

healthiest and tastiest coffee

The moderately priced Chemex, pour over method, is easy to use and slightly outshines the French press in allowing the natural acidity of coffee to shine through. The Chemex manual drip system produces a consistently flavorful cup of coffee. Compared with the French press, the Chemex filters out oils and grounds.

Bacteria

Clean up is a snap. Once you remove the wooden handle, you can handwash your Chemex or securely place it in your dishwasher.

Sustainability

Chemix designed their coffee maker with non-toxic materials. You need Chemex Classic Coffee Filters, and I suggest the natural brand rather than the bleached.

Brew School

healthiest and tastiest coffee

Chemex “suggests using a burr grinder because it delivers a more consistent particle size, allowing for an even extraction and a fuller bodied cup of coffee.” The right grind for a Chemex is medium to medium course, but time will tell which works for you.

Unless you aspire to be a barista or coffee aficionado, ignore the bit about weighing; simplicity is key.

You will want to use loose beans from a local roaster or one that ships to your door.

Roasters like Rise Up Coffee offers a coffee club where you can have freshly roasted coffee delivered to your door. Your subscription would allow you to send or receive your FAVORITE Rise Up Coffees at regular intervals (once or twice per month). You can start a subscription for whatever quantity, duration, and frequency you like.

Get Into the Groove of Your Brew

Best brew practices for the healthiest and tastiest cup of coffee

  1. Since coffee is about 98% water, make sure your water is void of mineral flavors or chlorine flavor. Use a Water Pitcher with Filter – BPA Free  if necessary
  2. Heat the water between 195°-200°
  3. Brew for 4-6 minutes
  4. The common practice is two tablespoons of ground beans for every 6 ounces of water. If you prefer a weaker or stronger cup,  adjust the amount of grounds rather than the altering the amount of water.

healthy coffee

 

2 Comments

  1. marnieschwartz on October 23, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Hi Denise,
    Great post! Thank you for all the coffee tips regarding the french press. It is my favorite, too!

    • Denise Sultenfuss on October 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks for stopping by today! Happy sipping.

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