How to Make a Good Pot of Coffee

Two Parts:Brewing the CoffeeUsing the Right Ingredients and Equipment

Coffee is a staple in many households all over the world, and it’s great in the morning, after a tasty meal, or even as a warm treat on a cold day. But while it may seem simple to make a quick pot of coffee at home, there are lots of factors that play into how good your coffee will be. For coffee lovers and connoisseurs, there are many musts that you can practice if you want to make a good pot of coffee, and these apply whether you prefer pour over coffee, drip coffee, or coffee made in a press.

Part 1
Brewing the Coffee

  1. 1
    Measure out the beans. For the freshest coffee, start with whole beans and grind them right before making your coffee. Coffee beans slowly begin to lose their flavor as soon as they're ground. Only grind what you need for the pot of coffee you're making.
    • Use 1 to 2 tablespoons (7 to 14 g) of coffee grounds per six-ounce (177-ml) cup of coffee. For an eight-ounce (237-ml) cup, use 2¾ tablespoons (19 g) of coffee.[1]
    • To ensure you end up with enough grounds, measure out 1 to 2 heaping tablespoons of coffee beans.
  2. Image titled Make a Good Pot of Coffee Step 2
    Grind the beans. The size of grind you need depends on the type of coffee-making equipment you're using. Check with the manufacturer’s directions regarding the exact grind you should use for your machine. In general, however, you want:[2]
    • Fine grind (like sand) for espresso
    • Medium–fine grind for pour over coffee
    • Medium grind (like poppy seeds) for drip coffee
    • Course grind (like potting soil) for French press coffee
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    Heat the water. The ideal temperature for water to brew coffee is between 195 and 205 F (90.5 and 96 C). Water that’s too cold will result in weak coffee, and water that’s too hot will produce a burnt and bitter taste.[3]
    • For a pot of pour over or press coffee, boil the water in the kettle and let the kettle cool down for about two minutes before pouring the water.
    • For a drip coffee maker, check the instructions or manufacturer’s directions to see what temperature the coffee maker is set to. Adjust the temperature on your machine if that’s necessary and possible. If you're making drip coffee, boil about ½ cup (120 ml) of water in a kettle so that you can prime the filter and the grounds.
    • Measure out the water before you boil it, and only heat as much as you need to make your coffee. This will save some energy, and prevent you from having to measure out boiling hot water.
  4. 4
    Prime the filter. If you use a drip maker or the pour over method to make coffee, it’s important to prime the filter. Insert a fresh filter in the dripper and position it over a sink or mug. Pour in enough hot water to wet the filter. Let the water drain out, and replace the coffee dripper and filter into its proper position.
    • The purpose of priming the filter is to remove any paper dust from the filter, and to preheat the dripper so that it won’t cool you’re your coffee prematurely.[4]
  5. 5
    Saturate the grounds. Add the grounds to your carafe (for a French press) or the primed filter (for a drip machine or pour over setup). When the water is the right temperature, slowly pour in ⅓ cup (80 ml) of water. Let the water sit for 30 seconds to a minute.[5]
    • The purpose of doing this is to let the coffee bloom. The initial shock of hot water saturates the grounds, softens them, and gets them to start releasing their flavors.[6]
    • With a drip machine, you can saturate the grounds manually before turning on the machine. Hold the dripper filled with the primed filter and grounds over the coffee carafe when you pour in the water.
  6. 6
    Pour the remaining water over the grounds. Once the coffee has bloomed, add the rest of the hot water. With a pour over coffee, add the water in small increments to prevent it from overflowing.[7]
    • If you're making drip coffee, the machine will heat the rest of the water and pour it for you when you turn it on.
  7. 7
    Let the coffee brew before serving. After you pour the correct amount of water over the grounds, let the coffee sit and brew. For a drip coffee maker, the machine will control the percolation time, but it should take about five to six minutes.[8]
    • For pour over coffee, let the coffee brew for three minutes.
    • For French press coffee, let it brew for four minutes. After four minutes, press down on the plunger to filter the grounds.
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    Enjoy the coffee immediately. Coffee is best consumed right after brewing. But if you do have any leftover, transfer it to a carafe to keep warm for up to 45 minutes.
    • To avoid having leftover coffee that loses its flavor as it cools, only brew as much coffee as you need.[9] You can always make a second pot later!

Part 2
Using the Right Ingredients and Equipment

  1. 1
    Buy fresh beans. Bad coffee comes down to one of two things: a bad process or a bad bean. For maximum freshness, look for beans that were roasted within the last two weeks, and preferably earlier. Other factors regarding coffee beans come down to personal preference, including:[10]
    • The roast, such as medium or dark
    • The country of origin for the beans
    • The type of bean, such as Arabica or robusta
  2. 2
    Store the beans properly. The factors that will destroy a coffee bean’s flavor faster are light, heat, air, and moisture. To prevent this deterioration, store your whole beans somewhere cool and out of the sun in an opaque air-tight container.
    • While many people suggest storing beans in the fridge or freezer to help keep them fresh, this can actually expose them to moisture, damaging the flavor.[11]
  3. 3
    Make coffee with the right water. Tap water is completely acceptable for making coffee, as long as you like the taste of it. If you don’t, try using bottled or filtered water instead.
    • Avoid using softened or distilled water, which don’t have the same minerals. The minerals in water actually promote proper coffee flavors.[12]
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    Make coffee with clean equipment. Clean your coffee pot, carafe, dripper, and press mechanism with soap and water after every use. Clean your grinder and storage containers weekly. This will remove oil buildup, which can be bitter or rancid.[13]
    • For drip coffee makers, run your coffee maker monthly with a vinegar and water solution to clean out any leftovers. Run it again with plain water afterward to rinse it out.
  5. 5
    Grind the beans with the right coffee grinder. The proper coffee grinder is a conical burr grinder. It ensures a consistent grind, which is important for the flavor of the coffee.[14]
    • Regular disc grinders tend to produce coffee grounds that are of varying sizes, and this will negatively impact the coffee. If that’s all that’s available to you, grind your beans in small batches.

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