4 Steps to Becoming a Home-Brew Boss

You don't need to shell out big bucks at a café every time you're craving a high-quality cup o' Joe.

1. Dabble in whole beans.

No need to be obsessive about grinding your own beans — pre-ground are also good — but the extra step can make for an extra-delish cup. (Think of the difference between fresh orange juice and the bottled kind.) After all, the best container for locking in the bean's flavor is the bean itself.

2. Keep things fresh.

Preserve and protect your beans, whether whole or ground. The vacuum-sealed pouches and cans you get at the supermarket are good at minimizing beans' exposure to oxygen, which can degrade taste. They'll keep coffee reasonably fresh for about one month after opening.

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Those little brown paper sacks? Fine if you're buying beans right from the roaster and plan on using them within a month of the roasting date. Whatever the packaging, transfer beans or grounds to zip-top bags and stash them in the freezer to retain freshness for up to six months. (Word to the wise: Don't store coffee in the fridge, where moisture can take hold inside the container.)

3. Test the waters.

Even your strongest cup of coffee is 98 percent H2O, which means anything that can make your tap water taste a bit funky (like chlorine or sulfur) can also junk up the flavor of those fancy new beans you just brought home. Give bottled water a try in place of your usual tap — or filter your water through a home contraption — and see if you love your coffee even more.

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4. Do the math.

Actually, it's already been done for you. According to industry standards, the ratio for the right cup every time is 2 tablespoons of coffee to 6 ounces of water. If you try that formula and the brew is too strong, don't add more water: Switch to more coarsely ground beans. Coffee too weak? Use finer grounds.

This story originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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