Tips That Will Change Your Morning
The local coffee shop is your natural first place to go when you need a quick cup of coffee. But if you’re like most people, you probably go there once a day or a couple of times a week.
At home, you have more flexibility to choose the coffee beans and the grind of the coffee you drink. That means as a coffee lover you can make the coffee you actually enjoy drinking.
That being said, making coffee at home is easy. It requires a bit of know-how, time, and patience. Luckily, you don’t have to be a coffee expert to get the most out of your home coffee experience.
As long as you have the right information, you can make a perfect cup of coffee every time, or at least get close to it. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of what you need to know when you want to make coffee at home.
What Makes a Good Cup of Coffee?
There are a lot of different factors that go into making a good cup of coffee. The two main factors are the coffee beans and your brewing method. When it comes to the beans themselves, your preference will be the greatest influencing factor.
The brewing method is something that can be controlled by the brewer but is also very dependent on what you’re brewing.
If you’re making coffee with a French Press, you’ll want to use a different brewing method than if you’re making a cup of drip coffee.
Decide what you want out of your coffee
The first decision you need to make with coffee is deciding what you want it to taste like. The most important factor here is your own personal preference. This could be anything from the type of coffee beans used, the water temperature, the brewing method, or anything else that makes you enjoy your cup of coffee.
Strength and flavour decisions can be manipulated by the grind, brewing time, and amount of coffee used. Generally, stronger means a finer grind, more coffee, or longer steep or brewing time. Weaker coffees involve a coarser grind, less coffee or shorter steep or brewing time. These factors can be manipulated to impact the final cup, and dialled in with your taste buds through experimentation.
Not all grinds are the same; there is no one-size-fits-all grind size for making a quality cup of coffee.
One of the most important things to remember is to not overthink it and change one variable at a time. The question stops being ‘what is the best cup of coffee’ and more ‘what is the best coffee for me’
Decide on your coffee taste preference
One of the more significant decisions prior to brewing is deciding what kind of coffee you want to drink.
Importantly it is a great start to taste a variety of roast levels and origins; which will give an indication of the range of coffee that you may enjoy. The way you do this is by trying a wide range of different roasters or an entire range of blends and single origin coffee and seeing what kind of experience you get from each one.
Once you find your preferred roast level and flavour, you can start narrowing down the specific coffee beans you want to use. The most important part while deciding is not making a decision before you taste the coffee.
You can decide what kind of coffee you prefer after you’ve tasted it and continue to look for those certain types of flavour characteristics either via the flavour descriptors on the bag or through suggestions from your local coffee shop or local roaster.
Different Types of Coffee
There are a lot of different types of coffee that you can try out. Depending on your personal preferences, you can decide which one is the best for you. Most roasted coffee is broken down into two categories - blends and single-origins. Within these, there is the roast style, which can fall under Espresso or Filter roast.
Blends are a mix of different origins, while ‘single origin’ denotes coffee from one country (origin), or more specifically estates, farms or land parcels. The difference in terms of roast style refers to the level of roast. Espresso being darker, fuller and heavier bodied - designed for espresso brewing, or a Moka pot. Filter roasts are lighter, higher in clarity, and retain a more acidic character and terroir-based flavour - designed for pour-overs, batch brews; generally extractions that do not require a pressure of an espresso machine to brew.
Knowing your preference and how you brew is the most important factor in deciding which type of coffee is for you. Most commonly, blends roasted for espresso are used in cafes and are often named the ‘house blend’.
Pour overs and batch brews that you may have experienced in shop are usually prepared using a “single-origin - filter roast” These retain the coffee’s character and are much more focused on highlighting acidity, flavour expression and character.
Choosing a Coffee brewer
Once you’ve decided on the kind of coffee you want to make, you can start looking into specific types of brewing apparatus. These can range from the simple french press to the more versatile and loved Aeropress, and even an expensive but highly functional prosumer espresso coffee machine for home.
Once again, the brewing device will determine the types of brew that you will make and ultimately limit or promote the experimentation you are able to do.
Devices that steep coffee, or brew coffee under pressure generally make a stronger ‘perceived brew’ whereas a single pass pour-over or percolated coffee tends to produce cups that are cleaner, lighter, and have more clarity.
Whatever your decision, the brewing process remains the same. Adjust each variable independently and once per brew. Dose, time, temperature and yield are your most important parameters.
Taste each brew and write down what you liked or disliked for each cup in an effort to improve on the next.
The 5 Steps to Making The Perfect Coffee
The process of brewing coffee is quite simple. There are a few steps that you can follow in order to achieve a great cup of coffee.
It’s important to aim for consistency and repeatability in order to be able to replicate the results reliably on a daily basis.
Firstly, always preheat your coffee device and cups. This ensures all materials are nice and hot, and not drawing away heat from your brew.
Secondly, measure the amount of coffee beans to use and grind fresh every time. Keep this consistent to retain a repeatable process.
Use a scale to measure the amount of water added or resulting beverage weight. This will allow you to control the amount of water used or stop shots when they reach your desired brew ratio (Coffee weight in : coffee weight out)
Measure your time from the first pour, until the last drop. This will allow you to aim for a certain target for every brew. This will also give you an indication of your technique and grind setting, as they will directly affect your brew time.
Drink the beverage from hot to cold. This gives you a good range of flavour for each brew, and how to improve or repeat on the next. Drinking at all temperatures allows you to taste the full range of flavours in your extraction, and you’re able to get a full picture of the coffee’s characteristics as they change with the temperature.
With these basic guidelines you will be on your way to producing a perfect cup of coffee every time, and enjoy the coffee-making process along the way.
For more great tips on how to make the perfect cup of coffee check out our coffee brew guides.