Good Coffee Depends on Good Chemistry
Just like in cooking and love, the perfect cup of coffee is the result of impeccable chemistry in addition to the coffeemaker you use. Here are a few tips to keeping the chemistry up to par.
The first step to java enjoyment is choosing the best coffeemaker for your needs. If you haven't taken a look at coffeemakers in recent years, you'll be impressed with the number of options now available on many models. Read on for the lowdown on the most popular bells and whistles.
Programmable Feature: This feature allows coffee lovers to preset when they want their java brewed. You can wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee much more delightful than an alarm clock, plus coffeemakers with this feature often include an automatic shut-off feature. Those are two less things you have to remember each morning.
Water Filter Feature: This feature filters water before brewing the coffee, removing any impurities and creating a more pure pot of coffee.
Cup Selector Feature: Coffeemakers with this feature allow you to select the number of cups you're brewing. This means that if you're brewing fewer cups, the brewing process is slowed, making for a richer flavor than would be produced with the first few cups of a large pot of coffee.
Temperature Options: Some coffeemakers allow you to choose what temperature level the heat plate maintains, according to your own personal preferences.
Paused Brewing Feature: This feature allows you to take the carafe away from the maker while it's brewing and pour yourself a cup. The sensor prevents dripping and spills. Simply return the carafe when you're done pouring and brewing will pick up where it left off.
Coffee Grinder Feature: Some coffeemakers also come with coffee bean grinders attached. These help you brew the freshest and most tantalizing cup of all, experts say.
Multiple Cup Options: If you entertain often, you may choose a larger 10, 12 or even more cups capacity. If you're the only coffee drinker in your household, a four-cup or one-serving coffeemaker may be just the ticket.
When you contemplate how much money (and time) can be saved by getting a home espresso machine versus buying your morning drink from a coffee shop, you'll begin to see why so many people have decided to brew espressos at home!
Espresso, also referred to as caffe espresso, is a way of making coffee. It is created by filtering pressurized hot water through tightly packed and finely ground coffee beans. The end result is usually more "syrupy" than normal coffee but has the same flavor and caffeine as your typical morning cup o' joe. Espresso is often added to macchiatos, lattes and cappuccinos to increase the caffeine in each drink.
Is there such thing as an "Espresso Bean"? In short, no. Espressos can actually be made of any type of coffee bean. In fact, any bean sold as ideal for use in espresso machines is just being marketed differently!
Many people are surprised to find out that coffee beans are naturally green when harvested. It is through roasting that an untouched coffee bean is transformed into the flavorful bean connoisseurs love. Unroasted coffee beans have a unique flavor depending on their origin country. It is during the roasting process that the beans slowly lose their original flavor and gain a roasted one. The darker the bean, the harder it is to taste the original flavor.
Types of Espresso Machines
There are four different types of espresso machines: manual, semi-automatic, automatic and super-automatic. Though all four can produce good espresso, the amount of automation a machine has refers to how much direct interaction is needed with the machine to make a drink.
When trying to decide between each, consider:
A toaster oven can be a dream come true for some households where heating up the oven means heating up the entire kitchen. In a toaster oven, the bread lies horizontally, which allows you to toast toppings as well as the bread. But it is not limited to just bread! You can also bake, broil, cook hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza or even a chicken.
Toaster ovens come in a variety of sizes with a variety of power supply. If you are looking to toast bagels, muffins or warm leftovers, you will probably want a smaller oven that has standard heating elements. However, if you want to create meals and sides, you will need an oven that will be able to accommodate this. Larger models may also be able to bake and broil and may use infrared or convection heating. For best results, you will want a toaster oven with a higher wattage since the higher the wattage, the more power it has. Be sure to select an oven with enough watts to effectively prepare your food.
In addition to looking at the size and power, you will also want to decide on the kind of controls you want your new toaster oven to have. A standard timer will feature a dial while an electronic keypad may have functions that are preset. An electronic timer may give you more accuracy, as you will be able to program the exact amount of time. An adjustable temperature gauge with multiple cooking options is also vital, as it allows you to broil, grill or bake as you desire.
The most important safety feature to look for is an automatic shutoff. The automatic shutoff will turn off the heating element once the time is up. If your oven does not have this feature, it will simply sound to let you know the time is up, but will continue heating your food until you shut it off.
You will also want to consider the toaster oven's windows. Are they large and clear? This type of window will allow you to watch your food as it’s being cooked without having to open the oven and release the heat. You may also want to look for models with adjustable racks. This allows you to maximize the interior usable space and cook a variety of foods. In terms of appearance, toaster ovens come in a variety of colors and styles, so you will be able to find one that coordinates with your kitchen décor.
Toaster Oven Cleaning & Maintenance
Toaster ovens with nonstick or continuous-clean interiors will be the easiest to keep clean. Continuous-clean finishes allow food buildup to breakdown overtime, turning it into ash that can easily be removed. It is best to find an oven with a removable crumb tray as opposed to a hinged crumb tray. A removable tray can easily be removed and cleaned and many are even dishwasher safe.
To clean your toaster oven:
Your basic toaster will vary in size, typically ranging from one to four slots. Great for singles or small households, a two-slice toaster will do the trick. But if you find yourself cooking for more than just yourself, you may want to increase the amount of slots. If you are cramped on space, some toasters have one long slot that can fit two slices of bread, crust to crust. Referred to as "tandem", these toasters are long and slim as opposed to square and squat like a traditional toaster.
Features to consider are:
To Clean Your Toaster:
Unplug the toaster, allowing it to cool completely, then remove and empty the crumb tray. You can dislodge any burnt-on food inside with an old toothbrush or credit card - do not use a metal object as this can scratch the interior. You can also use a wet pastry brush to clean smaller crumbs.
Common Safety Tips: