Five (More) Factors That Influence Coffee Quality

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As promised, here is the second half of our two-part guide to maximizing coffee quality at home, for a more enjoyable cup:

5) Coffee Bean Quality

It’s worth highlighting at this point that you cannot and will not make great coffee with low-quality beans. If you brew with the best Kona coffee beans money can buy, you’re almost guaranteed a superior cup. Premium Hawaiian coffee will always outshine mass-produced coffee in terms of fragrance, flavor, and overall enjoyment. If your local coffee shop uses the best Kona coffee Hawaii produces in your favorite drink, this is probably the best place to start to replicate it at home.

6) Water quality

The fact that a typical cup of coffee is made up of around 98% water highlights the importance of good water quality.  In this context, high-quality water means water with a low mineral content, that has been filtered prior to being used. Water straight from the tap is rarely ideal for brewing great coffee and can also take a toll on the inner workings of your machine. Simply switching to higher-quality water can and will make an instant difference to the quality of the coffee you brew. If your coffee machine does not feature an internal filter, it is worth picking up a basic water filter to reduce its mineral content.

7) Coffee Machine Pressure

The very best coffee machines are designed to apply the right amount of pressure to ground coffee with flawless consistency. In the case of a typical commercial espresso coffee machine, this will usually be 9 bars. If the pressure level is too low or there are inconsistencies in the pressure applied to the grounds while brewing, it will affect the quality of the resulting cup. Precisely why many low-grade home coffee machines simply cannot put out the same consistently high-quality results as their commercial counterparts.

8) Water Temperatures

This is again where the quality and performance of a coffee machine come into play. Or if brewing manually, your own attention to detail. Research has shown that the ideal water temperature for brewing coffee is between 90.5 - 96.1 degrees Celsius. Anything outside this range and the quality of the brew will be adversely affected. Under no circumstances is it ever a good idea to brew with boiling water, which only stands to scold your coffee grounds. If in doubt, it is better to err on the side of caution and keep things a little cooler than you think you need.

9) Coffee Machine Cleanliness

Last up, the cleanliness (or otherwise) of a coffee machine will always have a major impact on the quality of the coffee produced. In commercial environments, it is a fundamental health and safety requirement to keep coffee machines in pristine condition. Most machines are cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis, eliminating the risk of old coffee, limescale, and general build-up compromising quality. At home, it is more common for the average domestic coffee machine to be cleaned once a month at best. Something that can and will take a toll on the quality of the coffee you brew.

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