Thursday, January 6, 2011

Daily Coffee Tip::Love Your Mug

You have a favorite coffee mug right? Mine is a little worse for wear but it has the perfect handle with a thin lip and I swear the coffee tastes better in my mug than any other. What a lot of people don't realize is that your favorite mug might just be hurting your coffee without you even realizing it. To avoid this you have to understand how to love your mug so it returns the favor to you and your precious brew.

Here are a few tips for getting the best out of your favorite coffee mug:

  • Shock Your Mug:  Most mugs are made from porcelain (at least they should be) which is an insulator. What people don't always remember is that insulators work the same way for cold as they do for heat so if your mug is sitting in the cool dark cabinet it is going to be a much lower temperature than your fresh hot coffee. When you pour the coffee in the porcelain will draw that heat away and your coffee will instantly drop in temperature--yuck! To avoid this catastrophe, simply turn on the hot water faucet and run piping hot water in the mug for a few seconds (enough time to fill it two or three times). Now your mug is shocked and ready to insulate your hot coffee and preserve its temperature longer.
  • Smaller is Better:  A lot of people have giant mugs--I blame that coffee shop on Friends for this mess. Mammoth mugs are neat I guess but they certainly don't do anything for your coffee. First of all you can't really drink a huge mug of coffee before it cools down. In addition, the coffee cools down quicker because there is a larger surface to air ratio allowing more heat to escape. That same surface to air ratio also allows something far more sinister to happen: oxidation. Oxidation is the enemy to most things (coffee, wine, iron etc) so we try to avoid it at all costs. Cut down on the size of your mug and just refill more often giving you fresh, hot coffee to the bottom of every cup.
  • No Dishwashers:  This one is going to seem crazy, but keep your mug out of the dishwasher. In fact, keep it out of the dish sink in general. Most dish soaps contain fairly harsh chemicals and fragrances. Even all natural dish soaps use citric acid which, like the chemical versions, get soaked into the porous surface of the mug. It is a subtle effect but these residues affect the taste of your coffee and I don't know about you, but I like my coffee to taste like, well, coffee. The best way to wash your coffee mug is with a simple hot water rinse right after you're done drinking. Every week or so you'll start to see some staining and at that point you might use some mild soap to scrub it out.
Follow these simple suggestions and you'll be drinking hot, delicious coffee like the pros, or at least like the eccentric coffee nuts here at Blanchard's Coffee Co. Feel free to share your coffee mug tips and we'll add them to the list!

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