To avoid adulteration, buy coffee in the grain, either raw or in small quantities freshly roasted. The best kinds are the Mocha and Java, and some prefer to mix the two, having roasted them separately in the proportion of one-third of the former to two-thirds of the latter. West India coffee, though of a different flavor, is often very good.
Roast coffee with the greatest care - for here lies the secret of success in coffee-making - and in small quantities, for there is a peculiar freshness of flavor when newly roasted. Pick over carefully, wash and dry in a moderate oven, increase the heat and roast quickly, either in the oven, or on top of the stove or range; in the latter case, stir constantly, and in the oven stir often, with a wooden spoon or ladle kept for that purpose. The coffee must be thoroughly and evenly roasted to a dark rich brown (not black) throughout, and must be free from any burnt grains, a few of which will ruin the flavor of a large quantity. It must be tender and brittle, to test which take a grain, place it on the table, press with the thumb, and if it can be crushed, it is done. Stir in a lump of butter while the coffee is hot, or wait until about half cold and then stir in a well-beaten egg. The latter plan is very economical, as coffee so prepared needs no further clarifying. Keep in a closely-covered tin or earthen vessel. Never attempt other work while roasting coffee, but give it the entire attention. Do not grind too fine, and only in quantities as needed, for the flavor is dissipated if it is long unused after grinding, even when under cover. If properly roasted, coffee will grind into distinct, hard, and gritty particles, and not into a powder.
Physicians say that coffee without cream is more wholesome, particularly for persons of weak digestion. There seems to be some element in the coffee which, combining with the milk, forms a leathery coating on the stomach, and impairs digestion.
If soft water is used for making tea, tea should be added as soon as it boils, as boiling expels all the gases from the water, but if soft water can not be had, and hard water is used, boil it from twenty to thirty minutes before using. The boiling drives off the gases in this case, but it also causes the lime and mineral matters, which render the water hard, to settle, thus softening it.