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How To Make Coffee: Mistakes Not To Make

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Despite the fact that you can find a cup of coffee on every street corner -- whether from a specialty coffee shop or a convenience store -- it's amazingly hard to find a cup that actually tastes like something you want to drink. It's either so bitter that you need to add heaps upon heaps of sugar to make it palatable, burnt to the point of being completely undrinkable, or just down right weak.

There's not much you can do to fix the coffee problem on the street, but you can take your coffee fate into your own hands and learn how to make a good cup of coffee at home. While it is just as easy to get a bad cup in your own home as it is out, you have a lot more control. Simply steer clear of the most common coffee-making mistakes, and you'll be in good hands.

Study the eight points below and be sure not to commit these errors. If you can do that, a perfect cup of coffee is in your reach.

1 .) Over-brewing coffee
If your coffee comes out tasting bitter time and again, chances are that your coffee pot is over-brewing your java. Sometimes, there's nothing you can do about it because your coffee pot has a mind of its own. (If this is the case, you may want to strongly reconsider replacing it.) Check out this chart for the optimal brewing times.

2 .) Overheating the water.
Using the right temperature of water is crucial in getting a good flavored coffee -- 195-205 degrees is ideal. This temperature extracts the aroma and flavors we all love, while leaving the acidity behind.

3 .) Ignoring the magic ratio.
For the best cup of coffee, every time, the perfect ration is 2 tablespoons of coffee to 6 oz. of water. Of course, if you like it a little stronger you can add more coffee -- and vice versa. Just try to stay as close to the optimum ratio as possible.

4 .) Using pre-ground coffee.
We know the thought of having to add another step to your morning routine feels rough, but taking the time to grind your own coffee every day will make all the difference in flavor.

5 .) Cheap beans.
We all want to save a buck here and there, but coffee beans are not the place to try to cut corners. Because no matter how well you brew that cup, cheap coffee beans are going to make inferior coffee. Instead, save money by vowing to no longer buy cups of coffee out.

6 .) Poorly-stored coffee.
If you want to keep your coffee fresh, store it in an air-tight container in a cool dark place. Glass, ceramic or non-reactive metal containers with airtight gaskets are ideal for storing coffee.

7 .) Freezing coffee beans.
Despite what you might think, freezing coffee does not help preserve the flavors. Instead, it can cause some of those flavorful coffee oils to break down. And if not stored in a super air-tight container, the beans can take on the smells of the freezer. If you absolutely have to freeze your coffee, make sure that it's well sealed and do not put it back in the freezer once you've opened the bag.

8 .) Old coffee
For the best tasting coffee, you want to get your hands on the most recently roasted beans because coffee begins to lose its freshness when it's done roasting. Look out for freshly-roasted coffee and buy it in small quantities.

Follow these tips and you'll soon be making coffee as good as the top baristas in the country.

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Check out all the desserts you can make once you've mastered a good cup of coffee.

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