A good cup of coffee is a treat in and of itself. The rich and earthy aroma of freshly ground beans when you wake up is a delight to the senses. Now I am not what you would call a coffee connoisseur, but like any other person, I am very particular about the coffee I drink… so much so that I had a Nespresso pod machine with me as I began my first year of college.
Now, most coffee aficionados would tell you coffee pods are a disgrace to the beverage and I agree. They don't capture the essence of the bean, the texture, or quality. But they are drastically better than instant coffee! Now that is horrendous. The coffee pod is a decent, minimally acceptable substitute. But I implore any coffee lover, to step out of Starbucks (that most definitely isn't good coffee) and quaint coffee parlors, and actually make an effort to learn about the beverage you consume and are delighted by.
I will be honest, I was never a coffee fan. I barely drank it to stay awake. Highly caffeinated tea was my poison of choice for late nights. My interest in what makes a good cup of coffee and my, let's say, pickiness when it comes to drinking it stems from my father's journey in making the perfect espresso, latte, ristretto etc…
Every process to make that perfect cup is crucial so let me paint a picture. Imagine freshly picked coffee beans sent in for processing and roasted at a range where it doesn't get burnt nor is it too blonde, a warm brown with undertones of red comes to my mind. For optimal extraction of the oils, the beans have to be used within 2 weeks of being roasted (so do not buy the beans from Starbucks usually). Instead of getting it grounded ahead of time feel as you grind the beans to the size you want because powder size plays a huge role in the bitterness and the very drip of the coffee. Finding the correct size powder is a crucial element to customize your coffee for your palate.
After the powder size has been recognized, a pressurized system lets the water seep through the powder. Whether it be an Aeropress because of its cheaper price tag and the opportunities for customizing it or a good old coffee machine, maintaining a good amount of pressure for the oil to be extracted is key.
Tamping is an important aspect if using a regular coffee machine, since it again determines the drip speed and bitterness as it packs the powder into compact form, allowing for maximum oil extraction for the espresso. And you can determine if the effort was worth it as you look at the thick creamy creamer on top of your espresso shot and breath in what should be a full-bodied and earthy scent.
If you are an avid coffee drinker, I ask you to give making your own coffee from scratch. If you don't like coffee, well, try making it your own. You might like it for all you know.
-Sincerely A Coffee Enthusiast