The Manual - How to make the perfect Cup of Coffee

A few things to remember: a great cup of coffee is the result of combination of two factors, strength and extraction. Make sure everything is clean before starting - old or stale grounds will ruin a brew. Only use fresh coffee, the fresher the better.

1. Ensure that brew cycle time is correct for brewing method as over extraction creates bitter flavours. Here's a quick guide:

Espresso: 20 to 30 seconds
Plunger pot: 4minutes
Greek/Turkish: 4 minutes
Filter coffee: 5 to 6 minutes
Percolator: 5 to 6 minutes

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2. Remove the coffee from any heat source as soon as possible. Coffee will stew if left on a hotplate for more than 25 to 30 minutes.

3. The sooner the coffee is brewed after roasting the better, but so as long as there is at least six weeks to go before the "sell by" date it should be fine.

4. I would use about 55 grams of coffee per litre, and I accompany my brew with Rich Tea biscuits.

5. My personal recommendations are a Guatemalan high grown, an organic Papua New Guinea or a top quality Kenyan, that has been medium roasted - so that is still brown and not black - and brewed through a good quality filter brewer.

By Mick Wheeler, Executive Director of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe