6 things every coffee drinker must know about. Right now.

Redeem the morning. Start the day right. You're going to notice a difference.

First. Play this. Then read.
Sometimes you need coffee before you drink your coffee. Other times, you need the right equipment. You always need a good vessel for pre-consumption containment. Here, then, is the rest.

I confess, I once treated coffee more like a drug than a beverage. I used to buy whatever bag of light-roast pre-ground was on sale. I didn"t measure what I unceremoniously dumped into the filter. I never cleaned my coffee pot. Finally, and perhaps most shamefully, I would reheat day-old coffee in the microwave, add as much milk as necessary to kill the oily bitterness before I chugged it as quickly as possible.

I realized the error of my ways after having a really good cup of coffee at a friend"s house. It was life-changing. Ok, maybe just morning changing. Whatever, it was good coffee. But Hell, I already knew I was doing it wrong.


, $109.95

Prior to that, I had attempted reform via a Nespresso machine that, frankly, made espressos out of tiny-idiot proof pods that FAR rivaled anything that can be purchased at any chain café: thick crema and full-flavored demitasses without the bitterness often found in American "espresso."

It was far better than anything I produced in my stovetop espresso makers which, frankly, were as abused as my drip machine. As good as those were, I still felt like a total incompetent for having to rely on something as automated as a coffee pod for something as seemingly simple as a cup of coffee. Yes, I knew I was doing it wrong. When I had my friend"s coffee, however, my eyes were opened: my sin wasn't incompetence...it was laziness and neglect.


, $49.95

The Bialetti: a classic stovetop espresso maker that is as beautiful as it is practical.

Other guides will overload you with details about solubles and insolubles, essential oils and mouth-feel, golden ratios and growing conditions. That stuff is all out there if you want to make a hobby of it. For everyone else, here"s how to make A+ coffee.

ʌ+ Buy freshly roasted beans. Whole beans are fine, but they"re often subjected to sunlight and oxygen which can cause the oils on their surface to oxidize and go bad, making for a bitter brew. Do not refrigerate or freeze your beans or your grounds: they"ll absorb excess moisture and environmental odors. Arabica produces better tasting coffee--look for 100%. Robusta, which is another variety that is cheaper to grow and contains more caffeine, is often blended in. Avoid it: it"s bitter and generally unpleasant. If high-quality, fresh-roasted beans aren"t available, go for roasted beans that have been stored in light-proof vacuum-sealed bags.

ʌ+ Ideally, you"ll grind single servings of beans. I realize that"s probably impractical for the morning drinker, but for high-quality coffee, you only want to grind what you"re going to drink. Do not--I repeat, do not--reheat your coffee. You"ll be doing yourself and that noble bean a disservice. If you"re using a drip machine, a smaller model that makes 4--as opposed to 8, 10, or 12--cups at a time will generally produce better results.

ʌ+ In drip machines and similar configurations, use high quality filters: avoid chlorine-bleached paper. Many swear that the best filters are the gold-plated reusable types, but even those have the draw-back of allowing larger particles into the brew. I currently use a (non-gold) reusable filter that is very fine, but consider paper filters superior for ease of clean-up. I suppose some of my laziness has not abated. Keep the machine clean by running a strong vinegar solution through it every month. It makes a world of difference.


, $49.99

It doesn't take a thousand dollar piece of machinery to brew a good cup of coffee. You can make a superb cup with your drip coffeemaker at home.

ʌ+ You"ll want a consistent, even grind on your beans and you want them ground as finely as possible. A hand or electric burr grinder is perfect for this, but if you already have an


, $58.00

One of the most praised combinations in caffeination, the Aerobie Aeropress and Hario mini mill grinder are the choice of many caffeinistas.

ʌ+ On that note, you also want to use the best water available. Don"t use distilled water. Instead, use charcoal-filtered or bottled water.


, $29.85

The Brita filter is synonymous with home water purification. Be sure to change the filter according to instructions.

Hard water will scale your machine and add unwanted tastes to your coffee. The golden ratio of water to coffee is 17.42 : 1, but for volumetric purposes 2 level tablespoons of grounds per 6 ounces of water (or 2 3/4 tbsp per 8 ounces) is optimal. Don"t be stingy with the grounds. If you"re using a pour over filter or a device that lets you control water temperature, the water should be just shy of boiling: about 200º F.

ʌ+ Whether a French press pour-over, or single cup machine, these tips will transform your morning motivation into morning inspiration.


, $34.99

Ritual is everything with a slowly prepared pot of French press coffee. Well worth the wait.

You"ve just made A+ coffee. Pour yourself that victory cup.

*Article image: The Canadiano Source: Reddit