Catholic Recipe: Pointers for Perfect Coffee
Old friends and new will bless you for serving them the best cup of coffee or tea they've ever tasted — and just when they need it most! Fortunately, the ability to do this can be learned, if the time-tested rules of connoisseurs are followed. The formulas are easy, and once mastered, help to make so many occasions in life cheerful and pleasant.
Pick the grind that is right for your type of coffee-maker. For a percolator, use regular grind; for a drip pot, drip grind; for a vacuum style coffee-maker, drip or fine grind. The grind is important, because coffee must be fine enough for the water to circulate freely so as to extract the coffee's flavor. If coffee is too coarse, it permits water to pass through too quickly, resulting in underextraction. Good coffee is a clear, rich brown.
Whether you like a rich or mild blend of coffee, it must be made full-strength. Coffee cannot be "stretched." For each serving of coffee you need: coffee — 1 approved coffee measure (or 2 level measuring tablespoons) and water — 3/4 of a measuring cup (6 fluid ounces). Amounts of ground coffee and water needed to make a given number of servings of coffee are shown in the chart. Proportions apply to all brewing methods, all coffee-makers, automatic or not.
Use fresh coffee: It will keep fresh for about a week when container is kept tightly closed in a cool, dry place — such as the refrigerator. Try to purchase coffee in amounts that can be used within a week after opening. Water, too, should be fresh. Freshly drawn cold water is preferred for making coffee because hot water pipes often have mineral deposits which affect coffee's flavor. When you brew coffee: Start with a clean coffee-maker, never brew less than 3/4 of the coffee-maker's capacity. For lesser quantities, use a smaller coffee pot. If your coffee-maker isn't automatic, timing is important. When using a percolator on the range, usual gentle perking time for best results is from 6 to 8 minutes.
When you serve coffee: Try to serve it freshly brewed and piping hot. If coffee must stand before serving, hold it at serving temperature by placing the pot (nonautomatic) in a pan of hot water or over very low heat. Here's an important point: never boil coffee after it has brewed. Boiling ruins coffee's flavor. When you clean your coffee-maker: A clean coffee-maker is essential to good coffee. After each use, wash all parts in hot water using a light-duty detergent. Rinse thoroughly with clear water. Before using the pot again, scald with boiling water. From time to time, disassemble all parts and scrub each thoroughly, using a thin brush to clean hard-to-reach places. Occasionally, you may want to use one of the coffee-maker cleansers.
For Large Quantities of Water
20 cups - 1/2 lb. coffee - 1 gal. water 40 cups - 1 lb. coffee - 2 gal. water
For demitasse service: Brew coffee by any of the three basic methods, but make it half again as strong as regular coffee. For three 4-ounce servings, you would use three approved coffee measures of coffee to 1-1/2 measuring cups of water.
Percolator Method: Measure fresh cold water into percolator. Place on heat until water boils. Remove from heat. Measure regular-grind coffee into basket. Insert basket into percolator, cover, return to gentle heat, percolate slowly 6 to 8 minutes. (Note: Water level should always be below the bottom of coffee basket.) Remove coffee basket before serving. Drip Method: Preheat pot by rinsing with very hot water. Measure drip-grind coffee into filter section. Place upper container over filter section. Measure fresh boiling water into upper container. Cover. When dripping is completed, remove upper section. Stir brew vigorously before pouring or brew will be uneven in strength.Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965