How much better can coffee from a keurig pod machine get_ – the washington post

Joel Finkelstein of Qualia Coffee and Tito Pena of Wydown Coffeebar break out a bunch of tools in an attempt to improve Keurig K-Cup coffee. Restaurants and fast food (Dixie D. Most fast food restaurants Vereen/For The Washington Post)

To produce the best possible cup from your Keurig machine, you must do something antithetical to the whole instant-gratification, K-Cup pod culture: You must learn a few basic things about brewing coffee.

I’m sorry, I know this isn’t why you bought a Keurig brewer.

Fast food restaurants in america The whole point of the contraption is to provide the fastest possible path to your stimulant — without the time, labor or brain power required for even an automated drip maker, like a Mr. Top fast food restaurants 2016 Coffee. Fast food restaurants in my area The Keurig allows you to stumble from bed, plop in a pod, press a button and, in less than a minute, sip on a steaming cup of joe. What fast food restaurants are open You could be hung over or half-asleep and still make a cup as well as a dead-sober judge.

This is called convenience, and caffeine addicts drink it up. Famous fast food restaurants More than 23 million of the company’s brewers sit on countertops in American homes, gobbling up millions and millions of pods annually, despite the fact that the ecological impact of all that trash prompted one of Keurig’s founders to wish he had never invented the machine. Best fast food restaurants in the world Environmental considerations don’t seem to have blunted the Keurig’s popularity, which says something either about our love of convenience or our willingness to buy recyclable pods (which Keurig expects to manufacture for all its coffees by 2020).

Whatever our affection for pod water, the Keurig is here to stay, no matter how much elitists (like me) rail against the madness of a machine that, more or less, undercuts much of the known science behind brewed coffee. Top 10 worst fast food restaurants It’s as if Keurig has developed its own caffeinated set of “alternative facts,” in which coffee can be brewed in less than a minute with beans that were ground two years ago, their aromatic compounds maybe degraded beyond recognition. How many fast food restaurants in the us Just as worrisome, millions of drinkers may think the roasty, petrochemical-like flavors in their cups are natural, a true reflection of the beans at their peak.

Coffee die-hards know better. How many fast food restaurants in america They know the best cups — those full-bodied brews that balance acidity, sweetness and bitterness, without the off-flavors of over- or under-extraction — can be achieved only with the proper water temperature, the proper brew period and the proper ratio of grounds to water. Cheap fast food restaurants near me They know a push-button machine can never hope to produce a coffee as good as a pourover from a barista who understands that low water temperatures or fast brew times can leave vital flavor compounds still locked in your beans.

So this is the breach into which we decided to step. Close fast food restaurants near me We tried to build a bridge between Keurig Nation convenience and the obsessive, third-wave, neo-Amish coffee society that inspires “Portlandia” parodies: We’re here, in other words, to hack the Keurig for the benefit of all.

To help, I drafted Joel Finkelstein, the owner and roaster of Qualia Coffee in Petworth, and Tito Pena, coffee director at the Wydown shops and a former chef. Closest fast food restaurants near me The first thing they did was test the Keurig’s water temperature and brew time for a single pod, to determine if both fit within the ideal ranges to extract the right flavors. All fast food restaurants near me For a single serving of around 12 ounces, the Specialty Coffee Association of America recommends a water temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit and a brew time of at least 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Local fast food restaurants near me (The water temperature can fluctuate plus or minus five degrees, while the brew time can extend to 3 minutes.)

The Keurig K575 machine was deficient on both, despite a feature that allows you to control water temperature. Best fast food restaurants near me Keurig spokeswoman Amy Doyle says the K575 heats water to between 187 to 197 degrees, but when we measured the stream without a pod installed, the hottest temperature we recorded was 187 degrees. Healthy fast food restaurants near me By using the “strong” brew feature and grinding beans fairly fine into a reusable K-Cup filter, we were able to extend the brew time to 1 minute 30 seconds, still a minute short of the optimal time.

The first step in getting better coffee out of a pod was finding out what was in them. Top 10 fast food restaurants in the world (Dixie D. Chinese food restaurants near my location Vereen/For The Washington Post)

But we also had to determine the amount of coffee inside those K-Cup pods, and the only way to do that was to rip them open. Exotic food restaurants near me We weighed the contents in eight pods, and they ranged from 9 grams (Keurig Green Mountain breakfast blend) to 13.1 grams (Keurig Green Mountain organic Ethio­pia Yirgacheffe). Food restaurants Experts argue about the perfect ratio of coffee grounds to water but generally agree that for one part coffee, you should use between 15 and 18 parts water.

Put this in context: Those 9 grams of breakfast blend should, at most, yield 5.4 ounces of coffee. Fast food and restaurants near me The Ethio­pia Yirgacheffe should yield, at most, about eight ounces of coffee. Fast food restaurants near me open now The K575 machine allows you to brew cups much larger than five or eight ounces, which will contribute to weak and under-extracted coffee with these pods.

Clearly, the machine presents challenges, and that’s not even taking into account the freshness of the coffee. Fast food restaurants near me open 24 hours “The coffee for each K-Cup® pod is roasted, packaged and sealed with an aluminum lid which is resistant to moisture, oxygen and light after being nitrogen-flushed to help ensure freshness,” emails Doyle. Fast food restaurants near me now The company’s packaging gives the pods a shelf life that’s the envy of the caffeinated world: Keurig’s “coffee products can be experienced at the highest standards of quality within a 24-month window,” she notes.

Then again, what one coffee drinker deems the “highest standards of quality” can be another’s brown dreck, which is why our Keurig hacking team went about these experiments systematically. Fast food restaurants near me that deliver We moved from simple changes to improve the K-Cup pod experience to wholesale, high-maintenance improvements that will appeal only to obsessives.

Even if your idea of brewing coffee involves nothing more than pressing a button, you can improve your Keurig output with a few extra steps. Food restaurants near me that deliver First thing is to use filtered water. Fast food restaurants open now Tap water may be drinkable by municipal standards, but it’s often not ideal for brewing coffee. Fast food restaurants open today The pH may be too high, which will result in flat-tasting coffee, or it may be too high in sodium, which can affect the way sweetness or sourness is perceived, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Next, avoid the larger cup sizes when brewing. Fast food restaurants open late K-Cup pods typically don’t contain enough grounds to handle higher water volumes, so ignore the 10- or 12-ounce cup options. Fast food restaurants open on easter If you have a brewer with water temperature settings, such as the K575, keep it on high. Restaurants american fork Likewise, if your machine has a “strong” brew option, always select it. Restaurants american fork utah The “strong” setting will add another 30 seconds or so to your brew time, which can help balance out the acidic flavors of under-extracted coffee.

The best pod coffee we made was a single-origin Ethio­pia Sidama from Laughing Man. Restaurants fast food near me We brewed it as a 4-ounce cup, on the “strong” setting, with filtered water. American food restaurants near me “I think this is the best of the straight-up” pod coffees, said Pena. Restaurants and fast food near me “It’s got that silky body.”

Added Finkelstein, “But if you want to have an actual cup of coffee, you have to [brew] three pods,” one after another, all into the same cup. What fast food restaurants are open today Which eliminates the convenience of speed.

You’ll get your hands dirty on this level: Cut open a pod and determine how much coffee it contains. What fast food restaurants are open right now You’ll need a kitchen scale to weigh the grounds. List of fast food restaurants near me You’ll also need to apply a little math: If your pod contains, say, 11.5 grams of coffee, multiply that number by 16. Chinese food restaurants around me The resulting number, 184, is the grams of water needed for a classic 1:16 ratio of coffee to water. Food restaurants that deliver Divide the 184 by 29.5, which is the number of grams in a fluid ounce. Restaurant food waste The final number, 6.2, tells you how large of cup you should brew with that pod. Fast food restaurants open christmas day In this example, you would select the 6-ounce option or the smallest cup on brewers without ounce-per-cup settings.

Now, you could either dump those grounds in the trash or compost and consider it the price you pay for brewing precision. Chinese food restaurants that deliver near me Or, you could purchase a reusable K-Cup filter ( around $14.99) and dump in the grounds to brew your coffee. Fast food restaurant coupons In fact, you could break open a second pod (or use another pre-ground coffee of your choice) and add more grounds to the filter, until you reach the “max” line. Healthy food restaurants near me This will give you more coffee to play with. Restaurants that deliver food near me (Remember to weigh the total grams and follow the math above for cup size.) You could either brew a larger cup of coffee or a potentially richer one with a lower ratio of coffee to water.

As with the Novice Level, use filtered water and select the “high” water temperature and “strong” brew setting, if possible.

Ditch the pods altogether and grind your own beans. Food restaurants that deliver near me It’s the only way to guarantee fresh coffee. Chinese food restaurants that deliver We brewed numerous K-Cup pods that contained off flavors. Fast food restaurants open late near me One pod, a Colombia Huila from Laughing Man, tasted particularly foul to Finkelstein, who thought it went down like rancid oil. Fast food restaurants hiring near me It could have been a sign the coffee’s oils had become oxidized, despite the high-tech packaging.

You’ll need a burr grinder to ensure an even grind, as well as a scale to know how much coffee you ultimately dump into the reusable filter. Fast food restaurants close to me (Follow the math above for the cup size.) You’ll also need fresh beans, nothing older than three weeks past the roast date. Best fast food restaurants in america Yet all beans are not created equal with a Keurig brewer. Coupons fast food restaurants A natural, light-roast Ethio­pia Adola from Sump Coffee in St. Fast food restaurants in usa Louis produced a cup so underextracted that it reminded us of tea, not coffee. Fast food restaurants hiring “It’s like Earl Grey,” Pena said. Soul food restaurants near me that deliver Our light-roast fail underscored a truism about Keurig brewers: They handle darker roasts better because the flavor of the roast itself dominates the other aromatics left in the bean.

But grinding your own beans allows you to adjust the ratios and, to a certain degree, lengthen the brew time. Fast food restaurants that deliver near me One of our best cups was brewed with natural Ethio­pia Guji beans from Qualia. Restaurant food cost percentage We stuffed 14.5 grams of finely ground coffee into the reusable basket, despite warnings from Keurig that finer grinds can clog the filter. Good fast food restaurants near me We brewed it strong on the 8-ounce setting.

“This is the best coffee of the day,” said Pena. Fast food restaurants hiring at 15 “It tastes like an Ethio­pian should.”

Finkelstein thought the coffee would show better if it were brewed with hotter water, but that’s one variable we couldn’t change. Fast food restaurants in california (And I tried: I poured 160-degree water into the machine’s well, thinking the Keurig might always use the same amount of time to heat the water, thereby increasing the final temperature into the ideal 195-to-205-degree range. Fast food restaurants in new york Nope: The brewing water measured in the same mid-180s range.)

In our search for the longest brew time, we discovered the limits of the K575. Fast food restaurants close to my location It came when we ground Colombia Huila beans from Qualia super-fine and stuffed them into the reusable filter. Fast food restaurants closest to me The machine quickly flashed a “Sorry, brew interrupted” sign. Fast food restaurant chains The water wouldn’t pass through the compacted grounds. Fast food restaurants with veggie burgers Fortunately, the brewer shut down before turning my kitchen table into a swamp that I’d have to drain myself.

The final modification we made was another water upgrade. Find fast food restaurants near me Pena brought a gallon of distilled water, which he dosed with Global Customized Water’s AB Formula, a mix of minerals that extract a more balanced cup of coffee. Free food from restaurants We used the water on the same Ethi­o­pia Guji beans from Qualia, relying on the same ratio and settings as before. Food network restaurants near me As advertised, the water extracted more sweetness from the beans, which helped balance out its fruity acidity.

“This is approaching what you might get at a coffee shop,” Pena said.

Finkelstein, serving as the grumpy realist in our session, didn’t disagree with Pena’s assessment, but he also wondered if this wasn’t the tipping point.

“The amount of work to get there,” Finkelstein said, pausing for emphasis. Food restaurants near me open “It seems like you might as well do a pourover.”

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post’s Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires he ingest more calories than a draft horse. Open fast food restaurants near me Follow @timcarman

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