Use fresh, quality coffee
The easiest thing to do is to make sure you always use as fresh a coffee as possible. Buy smaller amounts and buy your coffee at a specialty coffee retailer or a coffee shop. I’m sure there’s one not far from your house. The store owner or barista can give you expert advice on what coffee to use.
Even better, use freshly ground coffee
If you want to improve the taste even more, buy yourself a coffee grinder. If you have a grinder, you can grind coffee beans every time you want to make coffee – that makes a lot of difference! And make sure it’s a burr grinder. Not the type that cuts the coffee beans. A burr grinder will crush the beans evenly. This, in turn, means that all the coffee will be in contact with the water for the same amount of time. The result: A better tasting coffee.
Clean your coffee machine and coffee pot regularly
Cleaning is a subject of its own. Suffice it to say that you would want to clean the machine and pot as often as possible. Preferrably after each use. Rinse through the espresso machine, rinse the coffee pot or French Press with hot water. You don’t want to spoil your cup with stale coffee from previous endeavours. Each cup deserves to get the best treatment possible. So clean up!
Use clean, cold water
Make sure to use fresh, clean and cold water when you brew your coffee. This makes the coffee taste better, and the oxygen in the water makes the coffee brew more efficiently.
The water used for espresso must be filtered. In some cities you even need to compensate for the mineral content of the water. Over time oxygen will be forced out of the water in the espresso machine leading to off tasting water. If you want to check the water for off flavors, fill a small glass of water from the espresso machine. Let it cool and then taste it. If there’s an odd taste to the water you might consider to change the water daily before using the machine.
Pre-heat the equipment and cups
Make sure to pre-heat both the equipment you use and the cups you serve in. For instance, you should pre-heat the French Press with hot water before using it. And, always pre-heat your espresso cups. The cups won’t need to be scorcing hot. Just don’t brew your espresso into cold stoneware cups. That makes the coffee taste bad. A cold cup will also cool down your coffee faster. A nice, pre-heated and thick-walled cup will keep that perfectly brewed coffee warm longer.
Relax and have fun!
Have fun when you make coffee! Even if you strive for the best cup for yourself or your guests. If you prepare well, and keep the above points in mind, you will have a good time. And the award? That steaming hot, lusciously smelling, deliciously tasting, cup of enjoyment.
The most important things are quite simple, actually.
Don’t be a coffee snob, just relax and enjoy :)