There are many ways to brew a very good cup of coffee (the percolator is not one of them since it boils the coffee). As is often the case, the simplest methods are often the best and the least prone to mishap. If you don't mind a little murkiness in your cup, the "French press" can produce an excellent cup of coffee (this is the preferred method by many in the coffee industry). The "gold filter" produces a similar, perhaps clearer brew when used in conjunction with the many available filter systems. Paper filter systems benefit greatly if you take a moment to gently rinse the paper filter until you can detect no papery smell.
One rule of thumb for the novice coffee aficionado is to generally double the amount of coffee you usually use. The accepted standard of today's gourmet coffee industry is two tablespoons per six ounces of water. Over the past forty years the typical brew strength for the average coffee has been cut by more than half. The coffee typically served in restaurants today is a pale shadow of the "Java" our grandparents drank. This is primarily due to the lower quality blends which have come into use over the years. So entrenched are the weaker brewing standards that most electric brewers cannot accommodate the correct amount of coffee for a decent brew. Consider a simpler brewing system or one of the few electric brewers which allow for the right amount of coffee.
Keep all of your equipment clean, including your grinder. If you share a kitchen with someone who drinks chemically flavored coffees (like Pina Colada Raspberry de Menthe), you should get a separate grinder. And, of course, grind your coffee immediately before brewing, unless it was roasted in the past twenty four hours or so, in which case you might want to grind an hour or so before brewing). But please avoid grinding your coffee at the store since it will deteriorate quickly.
In general, don't be afraid to tinker with the brewing process in order to achieve the cup that is perfect for you.
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