As we’ve noted in the past, a fresh glass of lemon water can be an incredibly effective way to jump-start your day. But if you’re like most of us, a strong cup of coffee is the rocket fuel that really powers you through it. Coffee lovers have their own signature techniques for perfecting that morning cup of joe. That being said, there are some lesser-known hacks that can save you time, enhance flavor, and help you out in a pinch.
1. Pour hot coffee into a pan to cool it down quickly.
You wake up with a problem: It’s hot outside and you want some refreshing iced coffee as soon as possible, but you didn’t make any last night and leave in the fridge to cool. Not to worry. Simply brew a pot of hot coffee and pour it into a pan (the bigger the better) to quickly cool it down. The large surface area of the pan will quickly dissipate the heat (thermodynamics everyone!) and leave you with a much cooler pot (well, pan) of coffee that won’t melt your ice cubes.
2. Make coffee ice cubes.
Melted ice cubes and watered down iced coffee -- it can spoil every cold-brew fan’s day. But there’s an easy fix. What if your ice cubes were made of... coffee? Just brew a pot of coffee, let it cool, and pour into a standard ice-cube tray. Come morning, you’re ready to go.
3. Add salt to bitter coffee.
Did your coffee turn out a little bitter? Don’t reach for extra sugar packets. Believe it or not, a pinch of salt will go a long way. You can add it before or after brewing, but remember, just a pinch.
4. Invert your AeroPress.
The AeroPress is fantastic coffee maker. It’s one the of newer, and more popular, ways to make coffee, and there’s a simple way to make it even better: Invert it. When making coffee with an AeroPress, prepare the press upside down on it’s top, and when you’ve added coffee, water, and screwed on the filter, then flip it and press the coffee into the cup. (Check out a full video here to see the invert in process.)
5. Switch to simple syrup.
Up your iced coffee game and avoid that layer of crystallized unmelted sugar at the bottom of your cup with simple syrup. Simple syrup is, not surprisingly, very simple to make: Combine 3 cups of filtered water and 3 cups of sugar in pan. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer syrup to a bowl and chill thoroughly. Then put it in a jar or bottle for serving.
6. Brew a coffee-less pot to clean your moka.
Many coffee lovers swear by the old-school, stovetop moka pot. And some hardcore users say the moka should never be cleaned. That’s fine for them, but if you prefer a clean coffee pot, there’s an easy solution. The moka has some hard-to-clean places, like inside the filter. Every now and then, just brew a pot of water, with no coffee. This gives the moka a steam flush that will clean the places a sponge can’t reach.
7. Use a blender to make cold brew.
Cold brew is high-octane stuff that does the job unlike anything less, but it requires a bit of work to make. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can use a blender. Add 1/2 a cup of beans into the blender, and add about 3 1/2 cups of cold water. Then blend away. Chill the mixture overnight in the fridge, filter, and drink.
8. Always start with good water.
Whether it’s espresso, drip, pour-over, or any other coffee you’re drinking, filtering water is one of the easiest things to do to enhance the flavor. Water used for coffee should be odor free, chlorine free, PH-neutral, and fall within a minimal range of alkalinity and calcium hardness. If you’re feeling like a kitchen chemist, an exact guide can be found at the Speciality Coffee Association of America. (Of course, we recommend using a Soma Pitcher or Carafe.)