Morning Coffees

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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What makes a good morning coffee is in part (and obviously) a matter of palate preference. The other part is a matter of standards. For conversational purposes, let's assume that the coffee was grown under good or ideal circumstances, and that the harvest was a good one. The standards come into play with roasting, storing, packaging, shipping, and grinding. That's a lot of criteria, yes, but all are critical. The two critical ones are roasting and grinding.

What Goes into a Good Morning Coffee

The most important aspect of good morning coffees is probably freshness. Clearly the criteria I've just listed have everything to do with freshness. Green coffee beans stay fresh for as many as two years. Roasted beans, on the other hand, stay fresh only for a matter of several days. Ground coffee doesn't last that long.

If a coffee is poorly roasted--the typical sins being too low a temperature (less than 400° F, when the oils of the bean can't mature) and too high a temperature (well upwards of 480° F, when the oils of the bean are charred)--no packaging or grinding will redeem it. It's that simple. The only way, after all, that you can control the roasting is to do it yourself or buy another bean. Now that all this is in perspective, however, let's assume that the roasting was handled well.

Freshness ensures the peak of any coffee's flavor, aroma, body, and taste, no matter what type of bean you prefer. How you store your coffee, when and how you grind it, and the equipment you use dictate the quality of that morning coffee so many of us (in this case, you) look forward to. There's only one first cup of coffee, no? Some companies offer coffee blends specifically blended to be invigorating, and these can be some of the best morning coffees there are.

Buy coffee every two weeks or so. Keep the coffee in a cool dark place, in an airtight container, to prolong its shelf life. Wash your coffee maker or machine after each use. A build-up of old oils will eventually end up in a bitter-tasting brew. Grind the beans just before brewing, and grind for the machine and type of coffee drink. Enjoy!

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