How to Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Making a perfect cup of coffee has taken me years of experimentation. I have tried many different methods and machines, and while they all had their pluses and minuses, it wasn’t until I used an Aeropress machine that I was finally able to find a routine that I could stick to and make a perfect cup of coffee every time!

Aeropress did not pay me to say any of this, and they did not sponsor my video. Although I do have sponsors for some of my videos, I generally only talk about products that I actually use and believe in.

To me, perfect coffee has three attributes that, when in balance, make the experience of drinking a coffee, sublime.


I enjoy strong coffee. One of the things I like best about espresso is that chocolate-like flavor that comes out of the bean during a perfect extraction. I am not talking about chocolate-flavored coffee – I am talking about the natural chocolate-like flavor that hides inside a good coffee bean.

There are many people that have never had a properly extracted coffee, and don’t know what I am talking about. In order to get that out of a bean, you have to apply pressure and the right amount of heat. Normally, the high pressure extraction from an espresso machine can make it happen. And luckily, you can also do it with an Aeropress coffee press.

Coffee also has acidity and bitterness.

The bitterness can be found in the oils of the coffee bean. The right amount of bitterness is fine – it’s a hallmark of coffee, and balances perfectly opposite to a sweetener like sugar. However, too much oil in the coffee or too hot water, will make your coffee overly-bitter.

You can prevent oils getting into your coffee by using fiber paper filters. The filter will absorb a lot of the oil, and leave you with a milder tasting coffee.

You can also avoid burning your coffee. If your water is too hot, you burn the oil and other compounds in the coffee, and your coffee will taste burnt. I don’t use water hotter than 185F.

Acidity comes from using water that is not hot enough, or can come from low-quality beans that were not properly roasted. A term that if often used is under-extraction, meaning that you did not properly extract all the good flavors from your coffee, either by not using proper temperature water, not having the right grind-size, not using good beans or not waiting enough time to allow for a proper extraction. All of these factors can be played with on your path to learning to make perfect coffee.

Mouth Feel

There is nothing wrong with plain black coffee. But it’s one-dimensional. Coffee is a multiverse of different dimensions – at least two of them! One of them if flavor and another is texture or “mouth-feel.”

We can add milks, fats and syrups and even ice to make our coffees have different textures. I love the silkiness of adding heavy cream (35% fat). It mellows out the coffee and makes it rich and smooth. I especially like to froth it up with steam or in an electric milk frother for that extra layer of foam that floats on top of the coffee.

Bean Quality

It’s hard to think of any other product that is so singular, but has so much variety as coffee! One can get lost in the coffee aisle at your local grocery store, and that’s not even the tip of the ice berg in terms of how many different varieties of coffees are available to the public. Finding good coffee can be a daunting task. And while I’m not here to tell you what the “best” coffee is, I at least want to let you know how I choose coffee and what to look out for.

When something gets too complex, it becomes inaccessible. So, what you can do is simplify it. I’ve asked myself, “What do I like about coffee?” And the simplest answer turned out to be the most helpful. I like coffee that 1. tastes chocolatey, 2. is not overly bitter. 3. is not acidic, 4. gives me a good buzz, and 5. smells incredible.

So, when I shop at bulk stores, I use my nose. I smell all the coffees, and usually the ones that smell best, I take home to try. The ones I can’t smell, I try to buy small quantities and take them home to try them out. I am constantly on the hunt for good coffees. I try them, if they don’t fit my 5 categories, I move on.

Here are a couple of other things to keep in mind.

Not all people are honest

It’s my suspicion that a lot of coffee is not exactly what it says. When you buy that expensive bag of Jamaican Blue Mountain, Kona, or Kenyan coffee, you may actually be getting a blend of mostly cheap beans mixed with a little tiny bit of the advertised beans. So, it’s good to try a specific coffee from a few different vendors.

Don’t overlook giant brands like Nescafe and Folger’s, for example. These are companies that still have the largest foothold in the coffee industry and have access to very good beans and suppliers which they deal with in great quantities. It’s actually easier for the smaller companies to bamboozle you with their questionable “blends” than these big companies. I’ve been surprised to have good coffee from these big brands. Aldi’s house brand has not disappointed me yet, and they have beat out much more expensive brands in my personal trials.

Whole Bean or Nothing

Think about the last piece of rusty metal you have seen. This rust is caused by a process called oxidation. It’s when oxygen in the air breaks something down. This happens to coffee. As soon as you grind those beans into small particles, the air gets to them and they start breaking down. This causes a deterioration in quality. So, it’s always best to grind a small quantity of whole beans right before you make your coffee. This ensures a really clean, fresh, best-version of what those beans can provide.

As a side note I want to mention that I went on vacation recently and my wife bought a can of Folger’s ground coffee for the hotel coffee machine, and although it was pre-ground, it was actually a very good-quality, tasty coffee. It made me wonder if they add anything to their ground coffee to slow down or prevent the oxidation process? I’m sure they wouldn’t tell me if I asked, but however they slow down this oxidation process, it’s working!

I hope this article helps you to find your perfect cup!