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How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee!

 width= I am not a coffee drinker - my beverage of choice is black tea with fresh lemon - but many of my family are avid supporters of the coffee habit. And I do love the smell of freshly brewed coffee. My daughter-in-law has shared her tips on how she makes her own perfect cup of coffee, tips that she learnt on a trip to Costa Rica.

How to make two average sized cups or one large mug of black coffee

Yourwill need your freshly ground coffee of choice and a French press coffee maker (illustrated below).
  • Bring water to the boil.
  • Place 4 heaped tablespoons of freshly ground coffee in your coffee maker.
  • As you pour the "just off the boil" hot water from an electric kettle or a jug onto the coffee, use a slight shaking action so that the water is not pouring into just one place onto the coffee. This action will help to create foam.
  • Gently stir the coffee to make a thick creamy layer on top.
  • Use the plunger (minus any top), being careful not to scald your hand. You can see the dome shaped top of the coffee plunger/press below. This is what you need to remove so that you are left with a small knob, the shaft below and the pressing section at the bottom.
  • Pour as much foam as possible into the mug first, followed by the rest of the coffee.
  • Drink and enjoy!

Why drinking coffee can be good for you

In moderation, coffee has many health benefits... A study (published in Stroke: the Journal of the American Association) concludes that the more coffee people drink, the lower their risk of having a stroke. They found that people who drank at least one cup of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of stroke. The study also found that people who drank at least one cup of coffee per day had a 32% lower risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (this condition causes about 13% of strokes). Coffee can help you burn fat and improve your physical performance. Caffeine, partly due to its stimulant effect on the central nervous system, both raises metabolism and increases the oxidation of fatty acids. Coffee can help to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. This disease is characterized by high blood glucose levels due to insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. Studies have found that those who drink several cups per day are the least likely to develop this condition. Other studies have found that drinking coffee is associated with a much lower risk of dementia and the neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. And there is more. One cup of coffee contains:
  • 6% of the RDA for pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • 11% of the RDA for riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • 2% of the RDA for niacin (B3) and thiamine (B1)
  • 3% of the RDA for potassium and manganese

Why coffee drinkers need to act responsibly

  • Remember that when you have finished brewing your coffee, use those grounds as a natural fertilizer for your plants especially acid-loving plants such as raspberries and blueberries.
  • You can find lots of other suggestions on how to use coffee grounds here.
  • The use of coffee pods is popular although they are currently not biodegradable, being made with a mix of plastic and aluminum means they cannot be recycled at traditional facilities. Instead, millions of pods are added to landfill sites. The onus is now on manufacturers to come up with an environmentally-friendly solution.
  • The disposable coffee cup is yet another concern with the USA having a massive turnover of 16 billion cups every year. Think about how you can help to reduce these figures in your own small way?