How To Make A Great Cup Of Coffee

Hints for making the best cup of coffee you've ever tasted!

How to make a great cup.
There are many ways to make a great cup of coffee and as with most things they range from the 
ridiculously easy to the sublimely complicated... we shall talk about a good few but not all by FAR! 
	The very best thing you can do to make good coffee is to make sure the coffee is fresh (less than 10 days old) and the next thing is to grind it as you use it. Whole coffee beans hold their flavor better than ground coffee. Now I know that a lot of people don't have a coffee grinder.  We will be able to sort that out for you in the future, but for now here are some alternatives for grinding at home that you probably haven't considered. A blender  or a food processor works quite well, just put the amout of beans in and blend for a few seconds in short bursts. You can also use a "wand" style blender but you must make sure that you use a deep vessel for the grinding.

The quickest, easiest and least expensive way to make a great coffee is with a glass liquid measuring cup, a tea strainer/sieve and a blender.
	1. Determine how much coffee you would like to make... we recommend 6 - 8 grams of ground coffee per 250 ml boiling water. (6 grams being a slightly weak cup and 8 grams being a rather robust cup.)
	2. Take 24 grams of your fresh Hedgehog coffee beans and measure them into your blender. (for demonstration purposes we will say you would like to make coffee for 4 people.)
Blend them using short bursts for about 7 seconds. This should give you a mix of fine and coarse with the fine being about the size of granulated sugar.
	3. Boil the water and get your 1 Litre glass ready. (The nice thing about using a measuring cup is that it has a good pour spout already!)
	4. Put the grounds in the 1 L glass and pour over the water.
The fresher the coffee is the more "off gassing" you should get: this means that the gas is reacting with the water and you should see lots of foamy bubbles on the surface. Stir this with a spoon and let it sit for 2 min. 
	5. Place your tea strainer over each mug/cup and pour out the amount for each person... you may have to dump the grounds back into the container after each cup to keep from overflowing.
	6. Hand round to your friends or family and let them "doctor" the coffee to suit.
The next easiest way to make coffee and one that most people use now is the cafetiere or plunger pot. The measurements of coffee to water are the same as above: 6 -8 grams ground coffee per 250 ml boiling water.
	1. Decide how much ground coffee you will need and grind it either using a coffee grinder, your blender or a "wand grinder" - whatever you like. (Heck you can bash em' with a hammer if ya want.)
	2. Boil the water and place the coffee grounds in the pot.
	3. Pour boiled water over the coffee and give it a stir to release the gases. 
	4. let stand 2 min and plunge.
An electric drip coffee maker also works well and has the added plus of using a paper filter that will strain out the "sludge" that is not held back by the wire filters.  Some heavy types of paper filters may remove some of the acids as well.
	1.Place  6 - 8 grams of ground coffee per 250 ml of water into the filter basket.
	2. Add the appropriate amount of water.
	3. Press the go button and relax.
	4. Coffee should be ready in 5 - 10 min depending on your maker.
Now we move on the  more complicated versions.... these require specialist equipment. We will also be changing both the grind and the amount of coffee used.  We recommend 18 grams ground coffee per 100ml water, to make a concentrated "espresso" extract which can be drunk as-is or diluted to taste with hot water and/or steamed milk. For the first type of maker you can still use some sort of blade grinder: traditional coffee grinder, blender, food processor , wand etc. But for the second (and preferred) type of espresso machine you MUST have a good quality BURR grinder... more on that later.

First the stove top espresso maker. These are widely available and come in a range of sizes from single cup 100 ml to larger 500 ml pots.
	1. Determine the amount of coffee you will need for the size coffee maker you are using. Grind your coffee till it is the size of caster sugar maybe just a little coarser.
	2. Put the apropriate amout of water in the BOTTOM half of the coffee maker.
	3. Pack the coffee tightly into the coffee filter in the middle of the pot.
	4. Screw the top on.
	5. Place coffee maker on the stove and wait for it to bubble. When all of the water from the bottom has bubbled up into the top take it off the stove and pour. 
Now we will talk about pump driven espresso makers - these are smaller home versions of the machines used in cafes.  They are capable of producing the best tasting coffee, with a rich and flavorful auburn "crema", with much less acidity and bitterness than drip coffee or stove-top (so-called) "espresso".  
We recomend the Gaggia line of makers. They work well for many years and it is easy to clean them (important with our high-mineral-content water); replacement parts are readily available should you need them. For grinders we have been very happy with Gaggia and with Krups. (For more in-depth info on makers and grinders see FAQ).
	1. Turn on your maker and alow it to warm up (on many makers a green light should go on).
	2. Decide what kind of coffee you are going to make: latte, cappuchino , americano, espresso etc. We will say latte for our demo.
	3. Turn on the steam boost and wait for the green light to go on. It is best to steam your milk before you "pull" your shots.  This is because espresso can become quite bitter if it sits for more than a few seconds without milk or hot water added to it - it is ideal to have the milk ready to pour into the freshly pulled shots immediately.
	4. Steam your milk to between 140 F and 160 F (being careful not to scald it by exceeding 160 F). Aim for a fine textured, thick foam rather than a bubbly froth - this is aided by keeping the wand just at the top of the liquid when first steaming, aimed to one side to start the milk "spinning" in the milk container.  When you get it right, an optical illusion can give the impression that the milk is flowing into the steaming wand rather than steam flowing out of it.  Once you establish enough foam on the milk you can insert the wand a little deeper until you reach the target temperature.  Set aside.
	5. Now turn off the steam boost. Turn on the coffee pump and turn the steam wand on a little bit  to allow some hot water to be pushed through the steam wand. Wipe the milk off the outside of the wand. BE CAREFUL THE WAND IS HOT !!! This will not only bring the temperature down to the ideal range for espresso extraction, but will help keep your steaming wand from being clogged with old milk.  Turn off the pump and turn off the steam wand.
	6. Grind your coffee in your BURR GRINDER. If you are making a double shot you should have 18 grams ( 9g for a single pull ) very finely ground coffee to place in the 'double group'. 
	7. Place the coffee in the 'group' and tamp down well; you should aim for an even, firmly compressed surface.  You may find it helpful to give the tamper a little twist as you pack the grounds down.
	8. Place group in machine and place a receptacle under the group head to catch the coffee. ( we recommend 2 clear glass shot glasses. They will allow you to accuratly gauge the amount of water that is going through your grounds and to see the consistency of the coffee as it comes out.)
	9. Turn on the pump button and wait for the coffee to start to pour out. When you see the first bit of coffee start to time the pour. It should take 18-22 sec. to pour 50ml of coffee (for single 100ml for double but the time is the same.)  Ideally the coffee should come out in two fine streams of a deep reddish or tan color, and the resulting shots should have heads of 'crema' on top (rather like pints of stout - but don't wait for them to settle - use them immediately).
       NOW a little trouble shooting:
Pour too FAST: make your grind finer (smaller)
Pour to SLOW: make your grind coarser ( bigger)

In the beginning  we recommend that you pull a shot to check your grind, then change the grind accordingly, but as you get more used to the machine you will know where to set your grind. Keep in mind that humidity and heat (in the air) have a great influence on how your coffee will pour. The wetter the air the slower the pour.  Using too little coffee in the group, or failing to tamp it sufficiently, can also result in shots being too fast.  The flavor (sweet and rich, or conversely bitter, thin, or acid) depends strongly on the speed of the shots (and, of course, the freshness of the coffee).
	10. Place your shots in a glass and pour the warm milk over them. Enjoy!