April 19, 2010

This is why I'm hot

That venerable little plastic coffee maker sitting on your counter sucks. I'm sorry, but its true. It's not because its automatic, or its lack of aesthetic appeal. It isn't even the fact that it uses a flat bottom tray for the grounds, as opposed to a cone.

Well maybe it is because of those things, at least in part. But the biggest reason Mr. Coffee can't produce a truly great cup is heat.

For coffee to brew properly, the water must reach the grounds at a temperature above 190 degrees. Less than that, and you'll get a dark beverage that kind of smells like coffee and maybe even tastes a little like it. But don't be fooled. It's not the same thing.

Sadly, Mr. Coffee just can't get it up... the temperature, that is. Many cheap automatic drips run water through coffee grounds at only 180 degrees. Which is fine -- if you're making tea.

Water for coffee brewing must be at least 190 degrees, as I said; but ideally, the temperature would fall somewhere between 195 and 205. As usual, there doesn't appear to be any magic number. But shoot for somewhere in that neighborhood, and you'll extract all the good stuff you want from your grounds.

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