There’s no secret recipe for the perfect pot of Swift River coffee – a little ground coffee, a little water, and you’re ready to brew. With a few tips and tricks, you can wake up to a pot that’s perfect every time.
The grind level, or fineness of ground coffee, depends on your coffeemaker. It impacts the taste and strength of the coffee, so it pays to get the right grind:
- Standard coffeemaker with a flat paper filter uses a medium grind
- Pour-over or cone-shaped filter use a medium-fine grind
- French press or Chemex use a medium-coarse grind
- Cold brew uses a coarse grind
Pre-ground coffee is convenient (and often the primary way flavored coffee is sold), but whole bean coffee stays freshest longest. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, it’s best to buy whole bean coffee and ask your barista to grind it according to your coffeemaker.
The standard ratio for brewing coffee is 1-2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water – 1 tablespoon for lighter coffee and 2 for stronger coffee. That 6-ounce measure is equivalent to one “cup” in a standard coffeemaker, but keep in mind that the standard mug size is closer to 12 ounces or larger.
So how does that break down in your coffeemaker?
To fill a standard 12-cup coffeemaker, you will need 12-24 tablespoons (or between 3/4 and 1 1/2 cups) of ground coffee. This will yield 12 6-ounce servings, or about 6 standard 12-ounce mugs of coffee. For a smaller pot, simply scale the ratio down.
Since water makes up the majority of coffee, quality matters. Pure water produces the best tasting coffee – any minerals and additives can affect the flavor. Hard water can even cause mineral buildup in your coffeemaker (don’t worry – it’s easy to clean with vinegar.) The quality of tap water varies regionally, so the bottom line is that if you don’t like how your water tastes out of the tap, filter it first to brew the perfect cup.
Automatic coffeemakers heat the water for you, but if you have a French press, pour-over, or similar, you’ll need to heat the water to just below boiling (about 200 degrees F) for optimum flavor.
The kind of coffeemaker is completely up to you, and all varieties have benefits. At-home automatic coffeemakers are the simplest to use: just add water to the tank, add a coffee filter and ground coffee, and press start.
Other kinds of coffeemakers are a bit more involved, but once you get the hang of them it will take no time at all. Follow these instructions for making a perfect cup with a French press or pour-over.
You can even brew your favorite coffees in a Keurig – simply invest in a reusable pod to select your own blend and reduce waste. Use the same ratio 1-2 tablespoons of coffee per 6-ounce cup and brew as normal.