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How to Make the Best Coffee at Home

Some brews are better than others. There are so many methods and machines available to make a good cup of coffee at home, that couples-to-be might consider a mutual method as part of their pre-nuptual agreement. 

Think of all the avoided arguments, not to mention the early morning caffeine bliss. But getting right down to it, there are two elements to the equation. 

One is the bean itself, the other is the implement for making the brew. Spending a bit of time actually taste testing a few different brands is not a bad way to go, but since the human palate is an ever-changing instrument, I like the idea of constantly exploring new coffees on a regular basis. 

Christina Dias is co-owner, with her brother, of Mogiana Coffee in Brazil, a relatively tiny plantation that hand-harvests its beans. Her coffees are almost sweet, not overly acidic, full of chocolate notes. 

“It is because of the over-ripe beans we include in the final blend," she says. The beans you use should be the best you can afford. 

It will be worth the time to find these special coffees, and more of them are showing up on supermarket shelves than ever before. Keep a bag or two, at most, since freshness is essential. 

Grinding your own beans is a good idea, too. My Braun grinder just celebrated its 20th year of operation. Hard to beat. The design era known as Bauhaus, with its form and function mantra, meant some creative thought was put into such apparently mundane things as coffee makers. Vacuum methods were invented. 

So was MOKA Express, created by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933; put water in the bottom, coffee in a middle bin, and then, with stove top heating, the water shoots up through the coffee and into the upper compartment. Inexpensive, low maintenance, basically indestructible, but you have to like your coffee strong. (Espresso machines great and small are for another day.) 

The French press, by Bodum, defines simplicity and efficiency. Put desired amount of coffee in the bottom, and pout hot water on top, to the level you desire. Water and coffee portions you can measure according to personal taste. Place the plunger/filter on top, wait three minutes, press down, and voila! 

The nearly ubiquitous drip machine, however, is hard to beat for efficiency and for what Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks called "A great cup of Joe". 

There are so many brands it is almost unfair to single any out. Almost. Some outstanding models include those by Breville, Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart. 

Having said that, it comes down to: fresh, high quality coffee, filtered water if possible, and the time to sit down and enjoy your cup. No aluminum cylinder container to lug it with you in transit, please. 

If the coffee is good enough, it is worth getting up the ten minutes early to enjoy it.