Whether you’re trying to save money by not going through a drive-thru every morning on your way to work, you have no need to pick up coffee because you work from home, you want to save time, or really, whatever your reason may be, sometimes it is just nice to be able to make barista worthy coffee at home in your own kitchen.
Here’s how you go about doing that.
Buying the Right Coffee
If you’re unsure what kind of coffee to purchase, aim for coffee grown in Central America because it will have a good balance of flavor within a medium roast coffee. Coffee grown in Africa tends to be a darker roast, so if that’s what you’re looking for, purchase that instead.
Additionally, you will want to buy whole bean coffee. Coffee retains its flavor better when it is still in bean form and ground only right before you use it. Additionally, you will want to buy only what you will use within the next few weeks or so. Older coffee beans will also start to lose their flavor over time.
Try to buy beans that list the roasting date within the last month. The longer ago they were roasted, the less fresh they are.
Don’t be afraid to splurge a little either.
Storing the Coffee Beans
Once the original package has been opened, you’ll want to keep the coffee in a mason jar or a ceramic canister in a cool, dry, and dark place for optimum freshness. Do not, under any circumstances put the coffee in the fridge.
Putting the coffee in the fridge will both ensure the coffee absorbs every other scent in the fridge, and also that it absorbs moisture, which flattens the taste.
If you must store the coffee long-term, put it in an air-sealed package and freeze it. It can stay good for months longer that way. Before using it again, let it adjust to room temperature completely. Do not refreeze it. But remember that if you freeze it, the taste might be completely different.
Brewing the Coffee
Grind the Coffee
Investing in a coffee grinder is essential for the perfect cup. As mentioned before, you’ll be buying your coffee in whole bean form, and grinding up just what you’ll need for the pot or cup before you make it.
Some grinders even have different settings for how coarse the grounds will be.
Use Filtered Water
This eliminates impurities that could affect the taste of your coffee.
A lot of this depends on personal preference and what works for your lifestyle. Some people prefer automatic drip coffeemakers, others prefer French Presses or a pour-over. Whatever choice you make, simply adjust the coarseness of the ground coffee.
As a note, French Presses will not have as clean of a brew as others because they do not use filters. However, you’ll get a more complex flavor.
A lot of people get into brewing temperatures and times, but this is not necessary for everyone. Most coffeemakers will have some settings to play around with that you can adjust until you find the ones that work for you.
You can steam and foam your milk at home for that extra touch of coffee shop vibe in a cappuccino or late.
Steam wands are relatively inexpensive. Some espresso machines may even come with one. Cappuccinos are equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth, whereas lattes have more steamed milk and only a thin layer of milk froth on top.
Steaming milk takes practice, however. The more noise it makes, the foamier it will be.
You can also make mochas by adding 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tbsp white sugar per 1 cup (actual cup, not just the cup you drink out of) of coffee.
This is the standard ratio, though you may wish to adjust to your taste.
Then add roughly 2 tbsp of milk.
Most stores will also sell syrups that can be added to coffees that require less effort, though may not taste exactly the same as a cup from a coffee shop.
One of my favorites is Agave syrup!
Final Thoughts, and More Pro Tips!
Consider Using a Scale. Measuring out coffee beans by weight before grinding them might be the trick you need to ensure your perfect cup.
Another good practice is cleaning your coffeemaker often. This will keep everything tasting optimal. Even if all other impurities were kept out due to filtered water and no other contaminates, the natural oils from the coffee grounds themselves will eventually start to alter the flavor of new pots. After too long, everything will begin to taste burnt.
And my last Pro Tip – Consider Pre-Warming your mug.
This is especially useful if you are setting specific temperatures of your coffee. If you are adamant about the coffee temperature, everything could be ruined as soon as you pour it into a cold mug. The easiest way to warm the mug is to pour some hot water into it first, before dumping it out and replacing it with the coffee.