This may be old hat to some but others may find this info interesting. Found it on the I-Roast website http://www.i-roast.com
1. Clean your machinery!
Coffee oils will accumulate if not cleaned properly. This oil will produce a bitter taste. So, maintain a good level of cleanliness in all brewing equipment. You should clean your coffee maker thoroughly at least once a week with a mixture of water and vinegar to remove the oils.
2. A cup of coffee is 98% water!
The higher in quality of water will result in a higher quality of coffee.
3. It starts with the beans.
Buy and start with quality green Arabica coffee beans. Remember, the moment the roasted coffee beans are exposed to air, they will begin to stale. The time may vary with different coffee beans, but a good rule of thumb is to drink it within 2 days of the roast. Stale beans will result in a very flat cup.
4. Longer time = Stronger the brew
The more time you allow for the extraction of coffee oils, the stronger your brew will be. A good cup of strong coffee is not always a good thing. Over-extraction will often produce a bitter flavor.
5. Grind then brew.
If possible, try to grind your coffee right before brewing. This will give your coffee that extra fresh taste and avoid the stale or bitter flavor in coffee.
6. Finer the Grind = Stronger the Brew
The more contact water has with coffee the more extraction will occur. A finer grind creates more particles, which means more surface area for the water to mix with.
7. Did I use too much or too little?
One of the most common mistakes is using too much or too little coffee grounds. A good rule of thumb for is 2 level tablespoons for each 6oz cup of coffee. For non-coffee drinkers this may be strong, but if you try from this point, you can make adjustments to your taste.
8. Stir before you serve.
Heavier oils and inconsistent extraction will cause differences in the consistency of the coffee. Right before you serve your perfect cup of coffee, stir the coffee to get all the flavor, body and aroma you have been waiting for.
9. Nice hot cup of Coffee!
Before pouring your coffee, warm your cup. This will keep your individual cup warmer longer.
10. Do not let it sit!
Try to drink your coffee freshly brewed. Never reheat coffee, or let it sit on a warmer for more than 20 minutes. This will make your coffee taste dull and stale, not to mention it will develop a bitter, acrid flavor. If you are making more than you would drink in 20 minutes, store the coffee in a quality thermos.
The ultimate test of a coffee is not its name, grade, price nor any other random criteria. The ultimate test must always be taste. If you like it, then its a good cup of coffee.