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Tips for making the best-tasting coffee at home

Seeing as coffee is ground up coffee and water, your water is an important ingredient.

Today is National Coffee Day! To celebrate, independent coffee consultant Erika Vonie — basically a coffee sommelier is on TODAY to give us all her best coffee-sprucing tips, including how to store it and how to amp up its flavor. (Created by TODAY with our sponsor Folgers.)

3 fundamental coffee basics

  1. Use filtered water: Seeing as coffee is ground up-coffee and water, your water is an important ingredient. Filtered water gets rid of minerals and alkalinity that may affect the overall coffee flavor.
  2. Ratios matter: If you have a scale at home, a 1:17 coffee to water ratio is a great place to start (that’s 1 tablespoon per 6 ounces of water).
  3. Preserve your coffee: You want to keep your coffee away from sunlight and at a stable temp. Sunlight and fluctuations in temp age the coffee faster, and it loses its sparkle quicker.

How to spice up your coffee

  1. Literally, spice it up: Don’t be afraid to add spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and anise to your coffee grounds as they brew. They'll give your coffee a little fall-inspired taste without lingering in the bottom of your cup.
  2. Add some zing: For extra zing, express an orange peel over your cup of coffee, and line the rim of the cup with the oil. This will add brightness and some citrusy notes to your coffee without overpowering it.
  3. Don't toss that cereal milk: One of my favorite ways to dress up a coffee is by adding milk or creamer that’s been soaking in cereal, and my favorite is Cinnamon Toast Crunch! The recipe is simple, too: I pour a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and add milk like I normally would if I were eating it and let it soak until the cereal is soggy. Then strain the milk out. You can froth the milk, or if you don’t have a frother, throw it in a cocktail shaker.

How to make iced coffee

For our iced-coffee-all-year-rounders, you can also make iced coffee (not cold brew) out of your drip coffee maker. Use the same amount of coffee that you always do when you make a pot of coffee but use half the amount of water and replace the second half of water with ice cubes directly into the carafe. As the coffee brews extra strong with the hot water, it hits the ice which cools it down and dilutes it. This method of iced coffee can add nuance and brightness to your iced coffee.