Today, coffee is the most preferred beverage in Australia. More Australians are now preferring to take coffee over tea. Besides, most people now prefer to brew coffee rather than making instant coffee. Brewing coffee allows you to experiment with different types of coffees.
Although buying coffee from a coffee shop is a quick way to get caffeinated, you can save money by brewing coffee at home. However, before you attempt to brew coffee, it’ll help to learn the tips in this article to stand better chances of making tasty brews like a professional barista.
Use Fresh Coffee Beans
If you want to brew a perfect cup of coffee, only use fresh beans. When whole coffee beans are opened from their packaging, they remain fresh for about two weeks. Ground coffee, on the other hand, remains fresh for about 7-10 days. As a result, it’s advisable to avoid buying whole beans or ground coffee beans in bulk. Only buy what you can consume within a week.
You can easily tell that your beans are stale once they start emitting a fruity smell rather than a roasted, earthy aroma. Also, if the brew fails to produce a noticeable crema (a tan-colored froth over the brew’s surface), then you’re using stale beans.
You need to use the right grind size for different types of coffee makers such as espresso machines, drip filters, plungers, and percolators among others. Generally, longer brewing time requires using coarser coffee grounds since the grounds will remain in direct contact with hot water for a longer period.
Espresso machines work best with fine grounds (like beach sand) since water flows through the grounds very quickly. On the other hand, drip filters work best with medium-fine grounds while percolators brew the best coffee when using a medium grind (like table salt). When brewing with plungers, use coarse grounds (like sugar) to prevent sediment from flowing through to your drink when plunging.
If you don’t have a coffee grinder, or you don’t have enough time to grind your own coffee beans, buy pre-ground beans from your local grocery store. Typically, pre-ground beans have a label indicating the best coffee brewing method to be used with the grounds. If you prefer grinding coffee beans at home, check for the user instructions of your grinder about how to grind different grind sizes.
You can prevent coffee from losing its flavors or going stale sooner than its shelf-life by storing it in airtight glass containers. Also, the containers should be stored in a dark and cool place. Avoid refrigerating or freezing coffee as it can lose its taste.
Customizing Your Brew
While some coffee lovers like it bitter, others prefer it weaker. If you prefer weaker coffee brews, brew with the recommended amount of grounds without reducing them. Reducing them will cause over-extraction since a lot of water will pass through the grounds, making them release bitter flavors. If you want it weak, just brew coffee as you normally do, preferably percolator coffee or drip filter, and dilute the brew with some hot water once ready. If you’re using an espresso maker, you can stop it mid-shot to get half of the brew rather than a full brew.
If you love taking strong coffee, consider brewing with stronger-flavored coffee beans, like dark roasts. Also, use a lower amount of water than you normally do but with the same amount of coffee grounds. Alternatively, extract two espresso shots instead of a single shot.
If you want to reduce the grounds, the best alternative would be using a plunger coffee. In this case, you can add more grounds or brew for longer than recommended for a stronger brew. If you prefer a weaker brew, reduce the recommended coffee grounds and brewing time.
Remember that reusing coffee grounds or topping an almost empty plunger won’t assist in saving money. You’ll only end up with a bitter brew. Used grounds only have bitter flavors left since all the important flavors are already extracted.
Use the Recommended Temperature
Taking a warm latte can be a terrible experience. As an owner of an espresso machine, it’ll help to take the temperature of the milk to ensure it reaches the recommended temperature (65 to 70 degrees Celsius) when frothing. A thermometer is very affordable and easy to find in local homeware and kitchenware stores.
Also, excessive heat may ruin your plunger coffee. If you don’t have a thermometer, boil water in a kettle and set it aside for 30 seconds away from the heat to gain the ideal temperature for brewing. Once done, you can pour the water into the carafe. Although a drip filter or percolator adjusts itself to the optimum temperature, it’ll help to pre-warm your coffee equipment like the carafe and coffee mug to keep the brew hot. You can pre-warm them with some hot water.
When frothing milk, add milk to the jug until half full. Hold the metallic steam wand steadily below the milk surface to create lots of creamy and fine bubbles. Don’t pump the jug upward and downward to avoid creating big bubbles as they won’t last long.
Recommended Amount of Coffee
Percolator- Add ground coffee into the filter basket up to the rim. Press the grounds downward with light pressure using the backside of a tablespoon.
Espresso machine- Add 6 to 7 grams of ground coffee per shot. Alternatively, add coffee grounds into the filter basket. Next, tamp them down to slightly below the level of the rim.
Drip filter- Add 7 to 10 grams of ground coffee per cup. Alternatively, use the provided measuring spoon.
Plunger- Add 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of ground coffee per cup.
Recommended Amount of Water
Percolator- Fill its bottom section with water up to the indicated level.
Espresso machine- Add 30ml of water per shot. Alternatively, use the machine’s preset button.
Drip filter- Add 180ml of water per cup. Alternatively, use the level on the machine’s tank.
Plunger- Add 180ml of water per cup. Alternatively, use the level on the plunger’s jug.
Percolator- Once the hissing noise stops, remove the percolator from the heat, else your brew will burn.
Espresso machine- Always clean the espresso after every brew. Leaving used coffee grounds in the machine will emit bitter flavors when brewing next.
Drip filter- Avoid leaving the brew on the stove or hotplate after brewing as it can become bitter.
Plunger- Plunger your brew within 4 minutes. Reduce or increase the brew’s standing time for weaker or stronger coffee respectively.