Even though being a barista is a skill on its own, not to take anything from it, you don’t necessarily need to go to a coffee shop to get that perfect cup of coffee. Actually, it’s not that difficult to brew your own coffee and have a tasty cup whenever you want. Given that you can safely drink up to four cups a day, why waste all that money on coffee shops when you can easily make your own coffee at home. However, many things need to be taken into account when making your own coffee.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at how baristas make their coffee when they’re home, not at the job, and the tips they have for making your own coffee.
Let’s get started!
In this article, we’ll cover each of the five main brewing methods to see which one fits you the best. Baristas differ in 5 brewing methods – cafetiere, chemex, V60, aeropress, and Moka pot.
Cafetiere is a fast and easy method, and a great plus is that you don’t need coffee filters. This method requires minimal effort and you can easily brew for yourself and for your friends and family.
The Chemex method is used to pick up the subtle flavors of the coffee and make a very smooth brew.
The V60 method is a bit different from Chemex, but it’s in reality almost the same thing, with this method picking up the distinct flavors of the coffee. You can also make two coffees at a time and be more efficient.
The Aeropress is used to make a strong, full bodied coffee for just one person.
And lastly, the Moka pot is here to brew on the hob and make a thick pot that can be topped with hot water.
If you’re going to be brewing your own coffee, there are some things you’re definitely going to need.
A coffee grinder is one of those things, as coffee tastes best after it’s been ground well, and freshly ground beans are the only way to truly achieve perfect coffee. There are hand grinders and professional-grade grinders, and these professional grinders allow you to adjust the grind in small increments to suit your brew method, which helps with consistency.
You’re also going to need a scale. Different coffee beans have different consistencies, and weighing your beans appropriately is going to determine consistency and taste. When you weigh your grounds, you’re basically ensuring that you use the same amount of dry coffee to water ratio – and once you find that perfect combination, you can brew it again and again just because you know exactly how much coffee you need. You should find a scale that’s going to measure up to .1 gram.
A pouring kettle is another piece of equipment you’re going to need, and it’s much better than a regular kettle. Even though regular kettles work fine, you’ll have more control over extraction with a pouring kettle.
Filter papers are an absolute essential if you want to brew your own coffee, as there’s a filter paper to suit every type of coffee brewing method – always check the manufacturer’s recommendations before you purchase the paper.
Coffee seeds are, obviously, the most important thing on this list. It’s important to experiment with different coffees and roasters, as there’s not much to brewing your own coffee if you’re always going to stick to the same old without trying out something new. Chocolaty? Acidic? What are your preferences? These are the questions you’ll be answering yourself when you start brewing your own coffee, and you’ll start to notice subtle differences between brews.
Making Your Coffee
Now, let’s start making coffee – method by method.
By rule, you should stick to a ratio of 60 grams of coffee per liter of water. Even though there are coffees out there that prefer that ratio to be a bit less or a bit more than 60 grams, most coffees work best when you stick to the 60-to-a-liter ratio.
The examples before you all use 18g of coffee and 300ml of water to make a cup of coffee for one. If you want to go for a stronger blend, feel free to add 5 more grams of coffee.
The best water temperature for coffee is between 88° and 92°, and that applies to all coffee types, so make sure to keep your water just under boiling.
This is the easiest and the most classical way of making coffee, be it for yourself or a group of people. There’s also no need for filters with this method, which certainly puts you at an advantage.
To start this method, boil a kettle of water and let it cool down slightly, just so it’s under the point of boiling.
After that, add 18g of coarsely ground coffee to your cafetière, and follow that up with 300 milliliters of your, now slightly cooled down, boiled water.
Stir that up and put a lid on it so it doesn’t cool down. Let the coffee brew for 3, to 3 and a half minutes, and after that just push down the cafetiere filter until you reach the grounds.
Your coffee is ready to be served now!
Chemex and V60
These methods are fairly similar, so we decided to put them together. The only difference is in the way you grind the coffee. V60 needs a finer grind that Chemex because of the thickness of the coffee filters used for each.
Once again, start off by boiling water and letting it cool down slightly. Now, take your paper filter and put it into the V60/Chemex and pour a small amount of water all over the paper. This is only to get the paper wet and remove the taste of paper, nothing besides that, and you can discard that water after you’ve done that.
Once you’ve ground your coffee, add it to your filter paper. The grind for V60 should be quite fine, whereas the Chemex grind is coarser, like the cafetiere. For V60, add 18 grams, and add 30 grams of coffee for Chemex – with 500 milliliters of water.
Add double the amount of coffee you have, only in water. If you’ve added 18 grams of coffee for the V60, add 36 grams of water and wait for 30 seconds. This is called the blooming period, and it allows the coffee granules to absorb the water and open up, so maximum flavor is extracted. Making coffee isn’t a science, but details are very important if you want that perfect brew.
Continue adding water after 30 seconds have passed, and pour it slowly in a circular motion until you reach the required limit.
Extract the coffee through the filter, or rather let it be extracted (as you won’t be doing any of the extraction yourself). A V60 should take about 3 minutes to do this, while a Chemex will take anything between 3 and a half to 6 minutes. That depends on how much coffee you’re actually making.
After that, you’re done and feel free to enjoy your coffee!
This method makes a very good cup of strong coffee for a single person. So, if you need that cup that’s going to wake you up – this is the way to go. It also offers more body than a standard V60 coffee.
Once again, boil your water and let it cool down a little. Now, put the circular Aeropress filter into the detachable plastic cap and pour some water to wet the filter for the same reason we do it with the Chemex or the V60.
Following that, assemble the Aeropress and place it with the numbers upside down on the scales. Add your coffee, preferably 18 grams. Your grind should be slightly finer than salt, and it’ll be reminiscent of your V60 grind.
Add double the amount of water, just like with V60, and allow the coffee to bloom. Add the rest of the water once the 30 seconds have passed, and wait for a full minute before you give the coffee a good stir. Now, reattach the cap and turn the whole Aeropress back the right way up.
You can now place it above a cup or a jug and slowly apply downward pressure. It’s good that you’re feeling some resistance, because if you’re not, that means you haven’t ground your coffee well and the grind is too coarse. If it’s a lot of resistance, then you’ve ground your coffee too much and the grind is too fine.
Once you’ve extracted all the coffee, feel free to drink it!
This is the last method we’ll be presenting, and it’s sort of old school, as this is how coffee was firstly made. You can make a solid cup of thick and strong coffee with this method.
This method doesn’t start with you boiling the kettle. You should just fill the bottom of the Moka Pot with water up to the valve.
Once you’ve done that, add your coffee to the basket for the filter and level it off. Add your filter to the base of the pot and then screw the top of the pot back on. You can brew your coffee with a Moka Pot without filter papers, as the paper removes some of the sediment.
Now it’s time to turn the heat up, and place the Moka directly onto a gas or electric hob. When the water finally boils, turn it down a bit to keep it on a constant simmer. Water will rise through the coffee and up the spout, spilling the coffee into the top part of the Moka Pot.
The pot will start to hiss, and that is a sign that coffee’s ready and it should be served! Feel free to water it down if you feel that it’s too strong.
Other Methods and Interesting Recipes
Something that’s rated well amongst many experts are drip machines. This is actually the quickest way to make coffee, as most of these machines have pre-prepared containers with coffee. Think Nescafe’s Dolce Gusto.
This machine only requires water and electricity to make coffee. All you have to do is add one or two of the containers you want to make coffee with and you’re ready to go. This is a great method if you’re making coffee at home, and the most obvious advantage of this is clearly speed. It doesn’t take more than two minutes, literally, to make coffee.
Another reason coffee makers are so popular is because of the simplicity – you don’t have to bother with buying filters and grinding your own coffee.
However, there are drawbacks to this method. Experts say that there’s no better coffee than the coffee you grind yourself. Sure, putting a container in your coffee maker and pressing the wanted setting is quick and easy, but the taste and the effect of coffee can’t even compare to what you get when you grind your own coffee and when you do it properly.
If you’re drinking coffee just to sober yourself up, and you’re not so much of a coffee enthusiast, then we’d definitely recommend getting a coffee machine, as your investment will pay off very quickly, and you’ll see that that’s very close to the sort of cup you’d get at the coffee shop. However, if you have time and you love tasty coffee, then we definitely recommend that you start grinding your own coffee and prepare it with one of the methods we’ve explained.
This method of coffee making is something you must have surely seen on TV, or at least at your grandmother’s place. Back in the day, making coffee with a French press was actually the only way you could make good coffee.
Once you’ve brought your water to a boiling point, grind the beans to a consistency similar to breadcrumbs, and they should be uniform in size, all similarly sized. Now, add those grounds to the French press.
Once the water is at the temperature we’ve already defined as ideal for making coffee, add it to the French press and stir it vigorously into the grounds. It usually takes about 4 minutes to brew before plunging the press slowly, which will separate the grounds from the coffee.
If you’re not going to be serving the coffee immediately, then don’t leave it in the French press. This will only result in the coffee becoming bitter. Pour it into a carafe and enjoy it later on!
Perfect Ice Coffee
If you’re living in an area where temperatures can reach sky-high limits, then you’re definitely a fan of iced coffee. This drink is a favorite of all those living in hot areas, and here’s a recipe for perfect homemade iced coffee.
You’ll need ½ a cup of sugar, and ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract. You’ll also need a cup of coffee (that’s already cooled down to room temperature) and some milk or cream to taste.
This is actually a syrup, and to make it, combine sugar and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once you’ve let it cool down completely, add the vanilla extract and set that aside in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be served. Serve it over ice with some milk and syrup just to taste.
Tips for Coffee Making
Finding the Right Coffee and Roast is 90% of the Job
This is the most important part of your coffee-drinking adventure. It doesn’t matter how good you are at making coffee, if you don’t find a good roast for yourself, your coffee won’t be good. It’s crucial to understand that we all have different tastes, and just because a roast is rated highly doesn’t guarantee that you’ll actually find it tasty.
There are over 800 tasting notes and potential flavors found naturally in coffee – so don’t be afraid to wander into different places. There are many different levels when it comes to the roasting of coffee, and all of these levels have a lot of effect on the taste you’ll get from your coffee.
If you’re a fan of fruity, berry, or tea-like flavors in your coffee, then you should probably stick to the lighter roasts. Darker side of roasting is reserved for the people who enjoy a darker, more bitter, whiskey-like flavor. Medium roast is here for people who like chocolate notes.
Freshness, something that we’ve already discussed, is also important and you should always drink your coffee within 24 hours of roasting it. Coffee is always best when it’s made within days of being roasted, and buying from a local roaster is the best way to get the freshest beans. Don’t buy coffee from supermarkets in bulk, just because it’s been put on the display bins. Oxygen and bright light are the worst flavor busters for roasted beans, which almost always causes coffee to lose its flavor when it’s on the shelves.
It’s best to buy ‘em fresh and keep ‘em fresh, and the best way to keep them fresh is by using an airtight container. Glass canning jars or ceramic storage crocks with rubber-gasket seals are good choices. Refrigerating coffee is a no go, as roasted beans are porous and can’t wait to take up moisture and odors of other foods.
Experts also strongly advise that you never freeze your coffee. It’s best to buy a 7-day supply of roast.
Be Careful About Your Grind
Not all grinds are the same, and it makes a lot of difference when it comes to making your own coffee. There is no one-size-fits-all grind size for making a quality cup of coffee and it really depends on your taste what you’ll consider a good grind. However, it’s obvious that you need a grinder and that you need to know how to use it well.
There is only one question you should ask yourself when you’re grinding your coffee “Do I want a sweeter cup or a more caffeinated cup?” – finer grinds allow for smaller particles with a larger surface area to slow the movement of water down, and that extracts more notes of the flavor. A coarser grind, on the other hand, will definitely sober you up – and it doesn’t matter how little sleep you got last night.
So, you’ve stayed up partying until 5 am last night and you have to get to work in half an hour? Grind your coffee coarsely. However, if you have time to enjoy it and you just want to feel those sweet notes, then feel free to grind the hell out of that coffee.
Older roasts basically condition us to finer grinds. We’ve already established that older roasts are worse in comparison to fresh roasts, because older roasts don’t have as much taste. However, the more you grind the more taste you’ll get, so it’s good to grind your older roast to the max, which will ensure that you get as much of that roast as you possibly can.
It’s important to note that you should never mix coffee. You wouldn’t drink white wine out of a glass from which you’ve just drank red, right? Well, same goes for coffee grinders – if you’ve really got a knack for this and you taste everything, then you’re definitely going to taste that former brew in the coffee. That’s why you should clean your grinder after each cup of coffee. Fortunately, this isn’t too difficult, and it makes a huge difference.
Water Quality and Temperature
It’s quite obvious that you can’t make high-quality coffee if the water in your area isn’t good, so make sure that you’re always using good water for your coffee making endeavors. Your water should be agitating the beans just enough to get everything out of them.
If you pour at a lower temperature, you’ll extract fewer of the bean’s nascent flavor notes and end with a more bitter taste – and if you pour it when your water at a higher temperature, you’ll discover a coffee that’s extracted more from the bean.
This is actually a chemical process called hydrolysis – which is essentially shaking loose different compounds in your coffee.
When it comes to the quality of the water, the general rule says – the fewer minerals there are, the better. You may drink water from the tap, but that may not necessarily be the best choice for your coffee, so you should definitely think about buying bottled water for your coffee or at least buying a Brita. Another tip, although this should be obvious, is to never reheat water that’s already been boiled.
There are many cheap filters you’ll find out there, but our advice is that you avoid them and that you really invest into good filters. These filters yield bad coffee, which is something experts constantly stress, and you should look for “oxygen-bleached” or “dioxin-free” paper filters. You can also find long-lived gold-plated filters.
These filters may be expensive, but they’re known to yield maximum flavor.
Mind the Heat
We’ve already said that you should pour water when it reaches 100° C, and instead wait for it to reach that perfect, slightly cooled temperature.
If your water’s too hot, it’ll extract compounds in the coffee that are bitter rather than pleasant – it usually takes 45 seconds for water to get to the temperature that we want after it’s boiled fully, and most good coffee makers regulate this automatically, so you don’t have to worry about it if you have a coffee maker.
Coffee also won’t hold the taste for too long – you only have a small window to drink your coffee, and reheating coffee is just pointless, so we definitely advise that you don’t do that.
You should also measure your coffee by weight, not volume. Coffee is made rather simply, all you need is coffee and hot water, that’s why small details are what defines a good cup of coffee. So, use the same amount of coffee per unit of water each time you brew.
That’s why using a digital scale is such a good solution to this problem, you can measure everything you need in mere seconds and you’re ready to make your coffee.
That’s all, folks! Remember to keep your beans fresh and to keep your grinder clean, and you’ll be having a sip of fresh, tasty coffee in no time.