An Introduction to Coffee: The Base

An Introduction to Coffee: The Base

The room fills with the aromatic richness of freshly ground coffee beans. You have the makings of a delicious cup of coffee. Now that you have your perfectly ground beans, what do you grab as the base for your coffee beverage? 

If you would like to take the next step to improving your cup of coffee, start with the base of the drink. Most coffee drinks are created from either a base of water or milk which makes up well over 90% of your beverage! Whether you choose to make a latte with milk or just a regular brewed cup of coffee, attention to detail goes a long way. 

Water Basics

Water is the base to most of your everyday coffee brewing. Whether you are making your morning cup of coffee to get yourself going as you head out for the workday or looking to make a more complex brew, such as an americano, the quality of the water is important for all your coffee beverages. 

Minerals are important to the overall taste of your cup of joe. If you use tap water like I do, one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of the water is to filter it through a charcoal filter before brewing. Filtered water removes much of the chemicals which were used to treat the water, while leaving many of the minerals which are important for your daily brew. 

Milk Basics

Milk is the base for many popular coffee house drinks. The creation of beverages such as a latte, cappuccino, and flat white all find their beginning with espresso and steamed milk. Choosing the right milk will not only improve the taste but the texture and appearance of your beverage. 

If you are looking to create a rich, silky cappuccino or any other brew which uses milk as its base, you are looking to stay away from the lower fat or skim milks. The difference is primarily seen in the foam and texture of your drink. A lower fat milk will produce a dry foam (and more of it) while milk containing a higher fat content will produce a more rich and silky foam for a perfect cappuccino creation. 

Whether you are using water or milk, starting with a good base is always a great place to begin when looking to improve your coffee experience. Filtered, balanced water or rich, silky steamed whole milk can collaborate with the characteristics of your beautifully roasted and ground beans to create an even better coffee experience. It all starts with the base. 


Kathy Strauch is a graphic designer, writer, bookworm, printmaker, and coffee lover from Michigan. She is also contributor with Christ Hold Fast, Higher Things, and The Gospel Economist.

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