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There is no doubt that coffee is American’s drink of choice these days. It is especially growing among millennials. According to Bloomberg in an article by The Washington Post, 44 percent of coffee in the U.S. is consumed by millennials. Why are so many people, especially millennials drinking so much coffee? Well, probably because everyone else is doing it. Also, it has an enticing effect on alertness, albeit not without its consequences. It was brought to Europe in the early 18th century where it was noted as an incredible elixir of sorts, that was a better alternative to alcohol because alcohol (being safer to drink than water) would make people tired and drunk. Coffee, on the other hand, seemed to be the exact opposite. And it sure was the opposite. Since then, coffee has grown substantially in America and is still rising in popularity.  Of course, good things do come with side effects. It depends on who you are but caffeine, the key ingredient to coffee’s magic, can increase your metabolism, make you jittery and even hungry like it does to me. The burst of energy can also be followed by a crash. Caffeine can also be addictive and can give avid drinkers withdrawal symptoms. I don’t know about you, but it’s still worth it to drink.

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With coffee’s power to make you more alive and alert, it’s no wonder that coffee is a parent’s best friend. With such busy schedules, children to take care of, it can be very useful to have a yummy energy boost whenever you need it. Even better, it’s effortless to get, yet not always inexpensive. However, even though plain old coffee has been rising in price, and specialty coffee and specialty coffee drinks can be expensive, (almost $5 for a coffee slushy?! Looking at you Starbucks) people don’t seem to mind paying for them. Nonetheless, price doesn’t keep this tonic from being the go-to for so many parents.

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The first thing I do in the morning on the weekend besides feeding little Xan-man is to make coffee with breakfast. Even when I get to work, I walk in the shop, clock-in and go straight to the break room where I have my coffee maker and make a pot of coffee. My co-workers even joke that they can’t ask me to do something unless I’ve had my coffee, or that they know I’ve been somewhere when coffee cups are laying around. Not only does coffee give us the energy most of us use to get through the morning (or even the entire day), it can be made so many ways, making it the most personalized drink.

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There’s the classic automatic drip and the pour-over. The pour-over is popular because it is a much more intimate coffee experience. It brings out much more of the natural flavors in the coffee because it is more direct, and because all of the factors are controllable, water temp, grind, etc. There are even methods that you may see at single-origin coffee shops or artisan shops like the Siphon/Vacuum method and the Macchinetta Espresso. All the ways to make coffee can even be modified to produce a different kind of cup, so even each method can be personalized as well as all making different tasting coffee. If you go to Starbucks though, you may want to request that they use their clover brewer if they have one. My experience is that every time I order regular coffee, it tastes as though it was extracted for way too long and always has a burnt taste to it.

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I would bet that most of you reading this right now are probably drinking a cup of this magical brew right now, and if you’re not, you’re going to want to get that coffee maker ready after seeing these beautiful pictures of coffee. I mean, after reading this there’s no way you wouldn’t want to go grab a mystical cup. You could be drinking it because you need the energy and like the effects, or you’re drinking it because you like the taste as I do. Or you’re drinking it for both reasons. Either way, it’s still such a treat for us hard-working, family-loving parents. How do you like your coffee? Do you buy it while you’re out? Or do you make it at home? In my opinion, making it at home is the better way to do it because you have a lot more control over the entire process. It could pay off to learn some of the ins and outs of making coffee. I’m not saying you have to become a star barista, but knowing facts about the process can significantly improve your cup.

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Every step and every material used in brewing coffee has a significant effect on the end product. One of the most important, however, is water. The kind of water you use to brew your coffee is essential. The best is filtered water. Whether it be through a charcoal filter, a filtered pitcher or a sink filter, filtered water will give you the best water to use for brewing. You may not care that much to the consistency of quality in your daily cup of coffee. That’s fine if you don’t. You can still make a good cup, and it’s faster without being so precise.

If you do care, however, there are a few things you should have. A digital kitchen scale that can be zeroed to measure things without the weight of the container they are in, and a burr grinder. A burr grinder can be adjusted to grind more course or finer. For an automatic drip coffee maker, a good place to start with measurements is 60 to 65 grams of coffee beans for every one liter of water. You can change those measurements if you like your coffee stronger or weaker, or if you are using a darker roast or a lighter roast, but that’s a good place to start. Also grinding the beans to a medium grind in the burr grinder is suitable for an automatic drip brewer. If you’re making espresso, a finer grind should be used. Those are just some useful tips for creating a more consistent cup of coffee and a good starting place to help you find the best balance for you.

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Trying different roasts from different roasters can be fun too. Visit various coffee shops and try a few of their coffee brews. If you like them, find out if they sell it in whole beans or find out where they get it from.

No matter how you like your coffee, or how much effort you care to put into it, coffee is always a delicious treat and a good pick-me-up for all parents. It can also be a fun hobby too. You can even try roasting beans at home. You can roast beans with anything from a frying pan to a sample roaster. There is a lot of interesting science behind coffee, and it can be a learning experience that’s great for the young ones. It doesn’t matter if you make a quick cup to start your day or invest a lot of time, effort, and money into coffee. There is a place in coffee culture for everyone, especially the busy, hardworking, everyday parent.

 

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