How to Make the Best Cup of Coffee at Home, According to a Coffee Pro
Getting caffeinated doesn’t have to be complicated. Buy your beans like a pro with these tips from Jack Mazzola, CEO and founder of New York coffee chain Jack’s Stir Brew.
Q: When it comes to buying coffee, do you have any hard and fast rules?
A: I would always suggest buying organic. Coffee is one of the most pesticide-dusted crops in the world. Also, organic beans tend to have a more lasting buzz than nonorganic ones, which cause more of a spike and crash.
Q: Is it ever OK to get pre-ground coffee?
A: Once you grind coffee, the shelf life is a few hours. That's why I suggest grinding at home. It doesn't have to be expensive—you can get an electric grinder for less than $20. And there's a ceremonial process to grinding your own beans that can be meditative.
Q: Do you have a favorite type of coffee?
A: Single-origin coffees are trendy right now, but they have a very specific profile and some can be very acidic. I look for blends with a Sumatra base. Sumatra beans, which come from rocky and volcanic soil, tend to be bold and strong.
Q: What’s the best way to store your beans?
I store mine in an airtight container away from light—and I never put them in the freezer! Think of coffee as a perishable; you should be buying it on a weekly basis.
Q: Let’s talk brewing methods. Do you have a favorite?
I like French press because it allows you to really taste the quality of the coffee. Your grounds should be coarse: If you pinch a little in your palm, it should feel similar to sea salt. And I use about one tablespoon of whole beans per eight-ounce cup. Add water, stir it, let it sit with the lid halfway on for about three to four minutes, press, and pour!
Q: Any tips on making drip coffee taste better?
If you buy organic coffee beans, grind them at home, and use them within a couple of weeks of their roast date, it's going to be good. I make a great pot out of my Mr. Coffee. But here's a trick: While it's brewing, lift the top up and give the coffee grinds a little swish with a spoon to make sure you're getting max flavor from your beans.