Coffee Sins

Many of us make our own coffee in the morning (or evening), but what are we messing up when we don’t leave it to the pros?

Tom Giffey, photos by Nick Meyer

DON’T LET IT SIT THERE. “The biggest sin is probably leaving it on the burner,” says Scott Rogers of Gloria Jean’s Coffees in Eau Claire. “Once coffee is brewed it will deteriorate in quality in about an hour and a half.” If the carafe stays on your coffeemaker’s hot burner, the liquid inside will continue to cook and become bitter. Instead, pour the coffee into an insulated mug or Thermos if you want to enjoy it later, Rogers advises.

NIX THE FREEZER. Despite popular myth (and the even the labeling of some coffee packages), freezing coffee beans doesn’t keep them fresh, Rogers says. It may even hurt the coffee if condensation forms once you take your beans out of the freezer. The refrigerator is a no-no, too: Rogers notes that coffee absorbs other odors, so unless you want taco hotdish-flavored coffee, forget about the fridge. The main enemies of coffee are air and high temperatures, so your beans will keep best if you store them in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.

GRIND RIGHT BEFORE YOU BREW. Coffee’s flavor is best when the beans are freshly ground, so buy whole beans and grind them yourself, Rogers says. And for optimal freshness, buy beans every few weeks.

USE FILTERED WATER. This is an easy way to make better-tasting coffee. If you prefer bottled or filtered water for drinking, why not pour it in your coffeemaker or French press, too?

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