There's no substitute for good coffee. To me, that means a good cup of coffee has to be made from organic, fair-trade, and artisan-roasted beans.

Whole coffee beans in mortar with pestle

I grind the beans by hand in a ceramic mortar and pestle. I used to use a machine to grind them but grew to like the ritual after a period of making coffee with no electricity and limited tools (a tin ladle and bowl works in a pinch). This method also gives you precise visuals on the coarseness of your grind, so you can adjust it depending on your brewing method. A mortar and pestle are also much easier to clean than any other coffee grinding apparatus.

Ground beans with cinnamon in mortar with pestle

When the beans are ground, I mix in organic cinnamon.

Vietnamese-style steel coffee filter with ground coffee beans Vietnamese-style steel coffee filter with plunger screwed tight

Currently I make one cup of coffee at a time with a Vietnamese-style steel coffee filter. They typically have a metal plate at the bottom to keep it above the rim of your cup, but I use this one without. It allows the coffee to brew more as the filter sits in the water once you pour enough. The preferred coarseness for this brewing method is a happy medium, and I tighten the plunger as much as I can. If I grind it too fine, the grounds clump together and the flow is suboptimal. Too coarse and it runs through too quickly.

Coffee brewing, ie water filtering through vietnamese steel coffee filter full of beans

After the filter drains a couple times and I have a full cup, I let the filter sit in the coffee for anywhere between five and ten minutes before removing it.

A brewed cup of really good coffee

The flavor of coffee prepared this way is exquisite and unparalleled. If, however, you want to add a little something-something to it, here are my recommendations (only add one at a time, and only a wee bit!):