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Mar 24, 2010 09:40 AM

Just good coffee

I drink tea so I would not know a good cup of coffee from a bad one - they all seem pretty yucky. I would like to serve decent coffee to my guests though. I have a basic 12 cup electric coffee maker from the store. What is the best advice you have so I can make a decent cup of coffee?

Fine grounds or regular?
How many tablespoons of grounds per cup?
A 'cup' of coffee as marked on the side of the coffee pot is really not a mug full so when people say a to add so much per cup - do they really mean an 8oz cup?
When I worked at a fast food place as a teen (20 years ago) we added a 1/2 tsp of salt to the grounds - is this a good idea? T
here are so many kinds of coffee out there - what is just a good basic kind to buy that most people will like?
How long can I keep ground coffee before it goes stale?
Can I keep it in the freezer?
If my coffee is just mediocre can I just dump some Bailey's in it to improve it? or is bad coffee not fixable?

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  1. Drip? Cone filter should use fine ground, flat filters use medium (regular.) Rule of thumb, 1 rounded tablespoon per cup, plus I add one for the pot. Depends on the coffee variety and how strong you like it Strong coffee is better than weak coffee. Use fresh cold water. If your water is not good from the tap, use filtered bottled water.

    Clean your coffee maker well before using, if you haven't in awhile. Run 2 cups white vinegar and 3 cups water through it, then run cold water through it 2-3 times. Wipe out the inside.

    Coffee carafes are measured for 8 oz cups.

    Salt or not, it's personal preference. There is an interesting thread here about that subjuect. Search coffee with salt or salt in coffee. Personally, I'd skip it.

    Coffee variety, kind of depends on time of day. I prefer Robusto beans, others like Arabica bean varieties. Milder for early in the day, rich and hearty for evening. Maybe ask one of your quests what they drink. There's so many varieties, it's hard to suggest one.

    Or just get a basic Colombian. Colombia SA accounts for 12% of the world's coffee production and is very drinkable, IMO. Most people are familiar with the taste of Colombian coffee.
    If it's for after dinner, your guests may want espresso or something hearty.

    Coffee is a bean, an agricultural product, and will go stale. It should be ground right before using, but since you probably don't have that option, at least buy it at a reputable coffee company, have them grind it for you, and please don't buy the supermarket varieties.

    I used to keep my beans in the freezer but then I have read that it's not the best thing to do. Coffee beans are porous and absorbs flavors (like freezer flavor) and loses oils when frozen. A airtight container (glass) in a dark cupboard is the best storage option.

    Either good or bad, coffee is always better with Bailey's. But Bailey's is not a miracle worker and bad coffee is just bad.

    If you don't use it all, give it to one of your coffee drinking guests, as it doesn't keep very well. Ground coffee in recipes, like rubs for pork and beef, and desserts, are popular now, if you want to go that route.

    7 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Thank you so much for your help!! This was exactly what I was looking for. When you say don't buy the supermarket stuff do you just mean the stuff that comes in tins? My story has a bunch of bins of beans and a grinder so I can do it right there. Some of the beans even have flavours added to them (vanilla, mint, baileys etc). Are these ok or should I buy from Starbucks?

      I am having friends over for port and dessert on Satuday and I want to be able to offer coffee after. Thanks for the suggestion I clean my coffee maker! - it my have cobwebs!

      1. re: julesincoq

        You can buy the supermarket beans. I don't like flavored personally. A good general coffee bean for after dinner would be a columbian supremo, french roast or anything labeled breakfast blend. You don't need a fancy bean for after dinner coffee. And you may want to buy a can of decaf, just in case, and keep it in the freezer. I would not bother to buy it in beans, just have some on hand if anybody asks. You can always make a second pot for those who must have decaf.

        1. re: julesincoq

          Starbucks is fine, as are the bulk beans that supermarkets typically have, for your purposes. Alternately, if you are near a Trader Joes, their coffee is good. Just stay away from preground, mass market products like Folgers, Maxwell House, etc.

          And, true coffee lovers want to taste the coffee, not some sort of flavor (vanilla, hazelnut). If someone wants to flavor their coffee, you could separately offer liqueurs -- e.g., Baileys, Amaretto.

          Also, as to Phursluv's suggestion on decaf, I might disagree, depending upon the time of your party. I always offer both decaf & regular, and find that if it's an evening affair, there are more takers for decaf than regular. (Although this may be a generatioinal thing. The 20 somethings tend to want the full caffeine.) So, if it were my party on a Sat. evening, I would tend to make decaf only, unless someone specified a preference for fully-leaded.

        2. re: bushwickgirl

          Bushwickgirl has some good advice there. I'd just emphasize the "stronger is better than weaker" point. You don't have to go super crazy, but if you're going to err on one side or the other, I would recommend erring on the stronger side, especially if you're regularly a tea drinker. Perhaps add 2 or 3 tbsp for the pot instead of 1? Your guests can always dilute the final product with cream or milk or by just adding a bit of water, but weak coffee can be pretty gross, and there's not much that can be done about it. :)

          1. re: bbrownri

            "but weak coffee can be pretty gross, and there's not much that can be done about it. :)"


            When I gave the no supermarket advice, I was referring to supermarket or national brands, the aforementioned Maxwell House or Folger's, stuff like that, but if your supermarket has bulk beans and a grinder, that'll be ok.

            As other posters have said, have some decaf on hand, just in case.

            Don't buy flavored coffee beans; rather, buy a flavored syrup to add to the coffee, but Bailey's, or other after-dinner liquors, are an even better option.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Wow thanks so much. I would have gone with weak (I even prefer my tea weak) over strong and those flavoured beans smell so good! Thanks for setting me straight.

              I think I will borrow a thermal caraffe and make a pot of decaf and pour it in there and then make a pot of regular - sound ok?

              1. re: julesincoq

                Very good idea on the carafe.
                Have a nice time with your guests, enjoy!