There are a number of factors that go into making the best cup of coffee that you’ll want to drink.
Let’s start with the water. Just as you want filtered water for your daily water intake, you want to make your coffee with the purest, freshest water you can find. Any impurities in the water will easily transfer to the flavor of the coffee and alter it in ways I’m sure you won’t be pleased with.
Next let’s look at the beans. They’re probably the biggest factor in taste and enjoyment (though the other ingredients shouldn’t be overlooked either). Make sure to choose the highest quality and freshest coffee you can find (did you know that roasted coffee beans start to go stale after only 2 wks and ground coffee beans loses a significant portion of their flavor after only 20 min!). Local mom and pop stores that do their own roasting will probably have the freshest beans you’ll be able to find (unless you want to roast your own) and you won’t have to worry about the coffee sitting on the shelf for weeks (or months) on end.
Lastly, can you guess? It’s how the beans and (filtered) water is handled (brewed) and put together to create a masterpiece of a cup of coffee. If you’re purchasing your coffee you can ask what type of brewer they use, when the last pot was brewed, how often coffee gets brewed each day (all those fun questions attendants just love to be badgered with). If you’re doing it at home, make sure you are using a quality brewer (not that $10 Mr. Coffee thing you bought on sale at Wal-Mart). This site http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmarias/index.php/coffee-brewers.html#sw-g.1cup-carafe has a great variety of really quality home brewers.
Get these three things right and you’re on your way to a delicious and nutritious (well, that part can be debated) cup o’ Joe!
Another thing to consider when you’re determining what kind of coffee to buy is how sustainable it is. One important thing to pay attention to is whether your coffee is certified organic, fair trade, and shade-grown. Two key labels to look for are the green frog (Rainforest Alliance) and the “bird friendly” label (Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center). The SMBC has the most stringent regulations for certification, including minimum 40% shade cover and at least ten different species of shade trees. Shade grown is important to coffee because it supports biodiversity. Other important things to pay attention to are where the coffee is grown and what variety of coffee it is. Some countries (such as Mexico, Nicaragua and El Salvador) are more likely to grow their coffee in the shade than others. Typically, arabica is the better type of coffee, and some of its varieties require shade, so look for 100% arabica coffee.
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