Coffee brewing is often portrayed as a sacred ritual or an exotic, complicated process. It can be both, but neither complexity nor fervent belief will make the coffee taste better. Simply brewing, using a repeatable process, will help the barista come a long way in achieving success.
Coffee is somewhat soluble. Most of the coffees roasted by Gracenote taste best when approximately 21% of the coffee's mass is dissolved by brewing. There are some special tools that help understand what 21% taste like and what to change next time, and luckily, it's possible to share recipes.
Check back here to find some recipes that can serve as a functional starting point and produce a relatively good brew with the use of consumer equipment.
"No matter how much you understand how these things work, you'll probably never really understand them as well as you can by just tasting it." Patrick's mom, Karen Barter.