Drinking tasty coffee, especially after waking up, can boost your mood and keep you energized throughout the day. However, relying on buying coffee from your local coffee shop daily might not be the best thing.
Sometimes, your favorite coffee shop may be closed and you won’t get your favorite cup of coffee. In that case, the best option would be brewing coffee at home. If you drink several cups of coffee daily, you can save a lot of money by brewing coffee at home rather than buying ready coffee. However, there’re certain things you need to know to make good coffee at home.
In fact, making tasty coffee isn’t as difficult as you might think. It’s something you can easily do. It takes simple things such as proper storage of coffee beans and brewing with the right method to make a perfect cup of coffee. Here’s a complete guide on how to make good coffee at home.
Tips and Rules for Making a Perfect Cup of Coffee
Tip 1- Choose Top Quality Coffee
When buying coffee, you’ll find Robusta and Arabica beans. Arabica beans have more flavors to choose from than Robusta. Generally, Arabica beans taste better than Robusta. Cheaper beans often contain low-quality Robusta beans that have harsh flavors despite a higher caffeine content. Although Arabica beans are more expensive than Robusta, they make tastier coffee.
Also, there’re many commercial coffee brands to choose from. However, not all of them taste good. The best coffees are specialty coffees. Specialty coffees state the region and country of origin. They offer great tasting experiences. Regardless of your budget, choose the best beans within what you can afford.
Tip 2- Buy Fresh Coffee Beans
The best tasting coffee is the one brewed with fresh coffee beans. They should only be a few days old after roasting. Preferably, buy coffee beans from a nearby roaster to stand better chances of getting fresh beans rather than buying them in a grocery store or supermarket. Coffee beans sold in supermarkets may not be fresh. Since they’re exposed to light on the supermarket display, they will have oxidized or overstayed and not very fresh. Wherever you buy roasted beans, ensure they’re properly packed in vacuum-sealed coffee bags. You can also buy whole green beans and roast them at home.
Tip 3- Store Coffee Beans Properly
After opening the original packaging of the coffee beans, ensure you store them in a sealable and airtight container. Crock ceramic jars with rubber seals or mason jars are great for storing coffee beans. Avoid refrigerating roasted beans since they’re porous and can absorb food odors and moisture. Flavor experts don’t advise freezing coffee beans, especially dark roasted beans. When buying roasted beans, only buy a supply you can consume within a week to ensure they remain fresh. Store them in a cool dry place and at room temperature.
Tip 4- Grind Coffee Beans at Home
Grinding coffee beans increases their surface area, thereby allowing for more oxidation. As a result, they lose their freshness quicker than whole beans. Thus, buying pre-ground coffee means that it has likely oxidized and lost some flavors, especially if it was kept on the shelf for quite a long time. It’s advisable to grind coffee beans just before brewing coffee. That way, you’ll brew with freshly ground coffee for a fresh-tasting brew.
Tip 5- Avoid using cheap coffee filters
Cheaply priced coffee filters often yield low-quality coffee. Instead, invest in dioxin-free or oxygen-bleached paper filters. You can also invest in gold-plated filters. Top-quality coffee filters allow for maximum coffee flavor. Thus, invest in top-quality filters for the best-tasting brews.
Tip 6- Brew with Top-Quality Water
Most people overlook the water quality when brewing coffee. Using poor quality water, such as tap water containing off-flavors or chlorine can ruin your brew. Also, brewing with hard water containing minerals will result in under-extraction, hence a weak-tasting brew. Besides, minerals in hard water can result in the buildup of mineral deposits in a coffee maker, thereby demand more regular descaling.
Also, brewing with heavily distilled or filtered water may be harmful to your brewing appliance. Although such water won’t cause mineral deposits, it’ll leach minerals from metallic components of a coffee maker, thereby degrading its performance with time. Also, heavily distilled water will allow for more bonding with ground coffee, thereby causing over-extraction, hence a bitter brew.
Any serious coffee lover should only brew with bottled spring water. Alternatively, use carbon or activate charcoal filters on your tap. Avoid brewing with distilled or softened water since the minerals present in water are important in brewing.
Tip 7- Avoid Economizing on Coffee
Avoid using a lower amount of ground coffee when brewing just to economize. Doing so will result in weak and low-quality brews. The standard amount of ground coffee when brewing is to use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 oz cup or 2 ¾ tablespoons of ground coffee per 8 oz cup.
Tip 8- Use the Right Water Temperature
Using hotter water than the recommended temperature will result in extracting bitter coffee compounds. Similarly, using a lower water temperature than the recommended temperature will result in under-extraction, hence a weak brew.
The recommended temperature of brewing hot coffee is around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Most modern coffee makers have a mechanism for regulating the temperature automatically. If your coffee maker doesn’t have such a mechanism, use a thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, boil the water and keep it away from the heat for approximately 45 seconds to attain an optimum temperature for brewing.
Also, it’s worth noting that brewed coffee doesn’t retain its flavors for very long. Reheating or boiling brewed coffee will only make the coffee taste bitter. Also, leaving brewed coffee on a heating platform for a prolonged period will make it taste bitter due to over-extraction.
Tip 9- Invest in a Grinder
If you want to brew perfect coffee at home, consider grinding your own beans. Coffee tastes great when brewing with freshly ground coffee. Only grind coffee beans that you can use in one brewing cycle or within a few days if you must store ground coffee.
Tip 10- Invest in a Scale
It’s important to weigh coffee beans before grinding to allow for consistency and the best-tasting brews. Since the density of coffee beans differ, weighing them before grinding will allow you to brew with the appropriate amount of grounds. That way, you’ll get consistent brews every time.
Tip 11- Keep Your Brewing Equipment Clean
It’s important to clean coffee grinders and storage containers regularly to get rid of any oil and dirt buildup. You can run your coffee machine with a vinegar solution every month to get rid of any mineral buildup. Rinse the equipment thoroughly before using it to get rid of any remnant vinegar odor.
Best Brewing Methods to Make Good Coffee At Home
Now that you know some tips on how to make a perfect cup of coffee, it’ll also help to know the best brewing method that can give you a perfect cup of coffee. There’re numerous methods of brewing coffee. The best brewing method for you will depend on your preferences. Thus, choose a method that can brew the best-tasting coffee as per your taste preferences.
Here’re some of the best coffee brewing methods to choose from and how they work:
Method #1- Pour Over
Pour over is among the oldest and best ways of brewing coffee. With this method, you simply pour hot water through ground coffee placed on a filter. It works by allowing the coffee to drip very slowly through the grounds into a carafe or mug.
Properly brewing pour over coffee is aromatic, complex, and delicious. With this method, you should use medium to fine grounds. Also, use a ratio of 1 part ground coffee and 16 parts water for the best results. The required brewing time is about 3-4 minutes.
Here’s how to brew coffee using the pour over method:
Step 1- Boil water in a gooseneck kettle.
Step 2- If you’re using whole coffee beans, grind them to a medium-fine grind, with a consistency similar to that of granular table salt.
Step 3- Place a filter in your pour over brewer. Rinse it with some hot water to get rid of any papery residue and warm up the pour over brewer. That way, your brew will remain hot for a longer period. Pour the water after rinsing.
Step 4- Add enough ground coffee to the filter. Ensure the grounds are leveled on the filter.
Step 5- Upon heating water to a temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, or 45 seconds after removing boiling water from the stovetop, pour it slowly over the ground coffee. That way, you’ll saturate the grounds with hot water for maximum extraction. Start pouring water over the middle area of the grounds and work outward. You can stop pouring water once the brew starts dripping through.
Step 6- Pour over the remaining hot water. The dripper should be kept ½ to ¾ full. You’ll need 3-4 minutes to brew.
Step 7- Remove the coffee filter and serve the brew.
Method #2- Drip Method
The drip brewing method is loved for its simplicity. The drip method is also great for making a lot of brew to serve a crowd. You’ll need a fine or medium grind depending on your drip coffee maker.
Here’s how to make perfect drip coffee:
Step 1- If you’re using whole coffee beans, grind them to a fine or medium consistency depending on the kind of drip machine you’re using. Generally, the grounds should have uniform consistency like table salt.
Step 2- Put the ground coffee into the filter basket. Place the filter basket in your drip machine. Turn the spout in such a way that it goes over the middle area of the ground coffee.
Step 3- Pour enough water into the water reservoir of your drip machine. Turn on the drip machine.
Step 4- Once the brewing process is complete, turn it off and serve the brew.
Method #3- French Press
Another easy method of brewing coffee at home is using the French press. It’s a classic coffee brewing method that involves soaking grounds in very hot water. It works best with coarse coffee grounds. It makes a rich and full-bodied brew. With this method, you’ll make coffee in about 4 minutes.
Here’s the standard process of brewing coffee with a French press:
Step 1- Boil water with a kettle.
Step 2- Grind coffee beans to a coarse grind. Their consistency should be like that of breadcrumbs. They shouldn’t have fine grit.
Step 3- Add enough grounds to the French press.
Step 4- Once the water attains a temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, pour it into the French press. Stir the water to mix it up with the grounds.
Step 5- Allow the coffee and water to settle for approximately 4 minutes.
Step 6- Slowly push the plunger down to separate the ground coffee from the brew.
Step 7- Serve the brew. However, don’t leave any extra brew in your French press since it’ll continue brewing and give you a bitter brew. Pour out any extra coffee into a thermos or carafe.
Method #4- The V60 and Chemex
The V60 and Chemex coffee makers are two major types of drip coffee makers. Both feature an hourglass kind of brewing mechanism. Thus, they work in a similar way. However, the Chemex uses a special filter that’s heavier than regular coffee filters to regulate water flow through the ground coffee. The Chemex works best with a medium to coarse grind whereas the V60 works best with a fine to medium grind.
Here’s the standard process of brewing coffee using the V60 and Chemex coffee makers:
Step 1- Boil water in a kettle and set it aside for about 1 minute to attain the optimum brewing temperature.
Step 2- Put a filter into your V60 or Chemex. Pour some hot water over the filter to wet it and remove any papery taste. Pour out the water.
Step 3- Grind enough coffee. Add it into the filter.
Step 4- Add water to the V60 or Chemex. The amount of water to add for a start should be twice the weight of the grounds. Allow for 30 seconds after adding the water for the grounds to bloom. That way, the grounds will absorb water, thereby opening up for maximum flavor extraction.
Step 5- Once 30 seconds pass, add more water in a circular manner up to the desired amount.
Step 6- Allow the brew to drip through the coffee filter. It’ll take about 3 minutes to brew with a V60 and about 3 to 6 minutes to brew with a Chemex.
Step 7- Serve the brew.
Method #5- The Aeropress
If you’re making a single-serve brew, the Aeropress is your perfect choice. It makes a smooth, clean brew and works best with a fine to medium grind. You’ll need to use 1 part ground coffee and 12 parts water for the best results. It’ll take you about 2 minutes to brew with the Aeropress.
Here’s the standard process of brewing coffee using an Aeropress:
Step 1- Boil water in a kettle. Allow it to cool for about 45 seconds.
Step 2- Insert the Aeropress filter in place, which should be inside the removable plastic cap.
Step 3- Pour some hot water through the filter to wet it.
Step 4- Assemble all the Aeropress components. The numbers on the Aeropress scales should be upside down.
Step 5- Add enough ground coffee into the filter. Add some water, twice the amount of grounds, and allow for about 30 seconds for the grounds to bloom.
Step 6- Add more water as per the needed amount. Allow the coffee to brew for about 1 minute. Next, stir the mixture. Turn the Aeropress right up.
Step 7- Place the Aeropress on a jug or cup and apply pressure on the plunger slowly. Allow the coffee to extract and serve.
Method #6- Moka Pot
The Moka pot is an Italian invention that makes a strong brew that’s comparable to an espresso shot. It works by passing pressurized boiling water in the form of steam through ground coffee. It works best with fine coffee grounds. You’ll need to use 1 part coffee and 2 parts water. It’ll take you 5 minutes to brew coffee with a Moka pot. It’ll give you a strong, sharp brew.
Here’s how to brew coffee with a Moka pot:
Step 1- With this method, you won’t require a kettle to boil water. You’ll simply add water to the water tank on the bottom. The water level should reach the valve.
Step 2- Add enough grounds to the coffee filter basket. Level the grounds. Place the basket in place and mount the top chamber in place. Although you can use a Moka pot without a paper filter, adding a paper filter will prevent sediment from getting into the brew.
Step 3- Place the pot over an electric hob or stovetop. Allow the water in the pot to boil. Once boiled, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer constantly. That way, water will flow through the grounds and the spout, thereby forcing extracted coffee into the upper chamber of the pot.
Step 4- Your brew will be ready as soon as the Moka pot starts hissing. Serve it immediately. Water it down in case the brew is too strong for your liking.
Method #7- Cold Brew
Sometimes, it may be too hot to drink hot coffee. In this case, a cold drink works perfectly. That’s where cold brew comes in handy. Cold brew coffee allows you to enjoy the flavors of coffee during a hot day. You’ll need coarse grounds to make cold brew and at least 12 hours to get a perfect brew. This method results in a smooth, mellow brew.
Here’s how to make cold brew coffee:
Step 1- Grind coffee beans into a coarse grind.
Step 2- Add the coarse grounds into a jar containing cool water.
Step 3- Stir the contents and refrigerate them or store them at room temperature.
Step 4- Allow the ground to steep for a minimum of 12 hours.
Step 5- Strain the brew into an empty, clean jar. You can use a mesh sieve lined with a cheesecloth or coffee filter when straining.
Step 6- Serve the cold brew concentrate with milk or water.
Step 7- Refrigerate any extra cold brew concentrate.