Once you’re addicted to drinking coffee from coffee shops, it’s like there’s no turning back. Homemade coffee just doesn’t feel the same anymore. While coffee shops provide us with amazing coffee, they raise the bar too high, making us feel intimidated to prepare our own coffee. It gets pricey in the long run too. One of the simplest ways to save money is to make your own coffee.
Cafe quality coffee is not something impossible to achieve. All you need is some research, a little more patience, and a bit more attention than normal to your morning coffee ritual. Simple things like buying the right beans and storing them well can make a huge difference. Once you understand the process and ingredients well, you can easily master it. Then, there’s no way you’ll ever waste your money on coffee shops.
Little details like knowing which beans to buy, how to store them, the coffee to water ratio, brewing temperature, grind size of beans, and finding the right coffee maker can all add up to create the perfect cup of coffee you love having everyday.
Good Coffee Needs Good Beans
First things first! Say goodbye to instant coffee grounds available in stores and say hello to WHOLE beans. Good quality whole-beans give fresh, flavourful and aromatic coffee while old, outdated beans produce bitter, dry and tasteless coffee.
So how do you know it’s fresh? Look for the roasting date. Good coffee brands that value quality proudly display their roasting date because it shows how fresh they are. If the roasting date is not clearly mentioned, it’s best to steer clear from such brands. Remember, coffee beans start losing their flavor soon after they’ve been roasted. Oxygen and bright light can damage the flavors after its roasted, and if the packaging was not good enough, the coffee can turn rancid. Use those beans within a few days of being roasted. Obviously, the ideal situation would be to roast your own beans, but if that’s not possible, buy beans with the latest roasting date on them. Look for beans that have been packaged in sturdy, vacuum-sealed bags.
Grind Your Own Beans
Once you have your beans, grind them yourself! Coffee made from freshly ground coffee tastes amazingly different than you can imagine. Grind your beans right before you’re ready to brew them as this will give your coffee maximum flavor. Grind only what you’ll need, because with time, ground coffee starts losing flavor. Aromatic oils in the beans start to evaporate right after being roasted and even more after its been ground.
To grind your own beans, you’ll need to invest in a good coffee grinder. Although there are many cheap blade grinders available easily, burr grinders turn out to be much more efficient and versatile in the long run(even if they’re expensive). Burr grinders have amazing consistency and come with many adjustability features, whereas blade grinders cannot adjust their grind from espresso (very fine) to French press (very coarse). If you don’t want to spend a lot, consider getting a manual hand mill for a nice, consistent grind (but at the cost of some manual labor).
Storage is Important
As minor as it seems, storing coffee right is also critical to its freshness. The most common mistake people tend to make is storing coffee in the fridge. If you’re one of them please take it out immediately. It is very important to avoid freezing your coffee. Coffee is really good at absorbing moisture from its surroundings, which means it will take in food odors and affect aroma and flavor as well. A continuous freeze/thaw cycle, when you take coffee out and put it back in the fridge, also affects the flavor, freshness and consistency of your coffee.
Store your coffee in an opaque, airtight glass or ceramic container and place it in a dark and cool location such as your kitchen counter or a cabinet.
Get the Ratio Right
If you’ve mastered the coffee to water ratio yof your favorite cup of joe, there’s no way your coffee will ever go wrong. Experts suggest that measuring your coffee by weight instead of volume gives you more control over how much you’re putting in.
Usually, 1 g of coffee over 15 to 20g of water produces a good range of ratios that ensures proper extraction, without it being too strong or too weak. So you could go for a coffee to water ratio of 1:20 for a medium cup of coffee. Try going upto 1:14 if you like it stronger, or upto 1:30 if you like it lighter.
While scoops or measuring spoons are fairly good, for consistent measurement, invest in a scale. This will allow you to generate the same coffee to water ratio whenever you brew. A digital scale eliminates all the guesswork needed to calculate ratios and makes everything easier.
It’s Brew Time!
Now that you have good quality whole beans that you’ve just ground, it’s brew time! Find the brewing method that works for you. Automatic drip machines usually offer a mild to medium pot of coffee, whereas a French Press produces a much bolder flavor.
Brewing temperature for you coffee should depend on the grind size of your coffee. The finer the ground, the lower temperature it’ll need. Very hot water on fine grounds will extract a bitter coffee whereas just warm water over coarse grounds will give you a dull, murky brew.
Baristas usually regard a temperature range between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (or just below boiling) as ideal for balanced brewing. If it’s lower than that, you’ll end up under-extracting a sour, acidic cup of coffee. Cheap automatic drip machines usually don’t reach ideal brewing temperature but high-end models do, and they also offer manual temperature adjustments.
Measure the temperature of water before adding and if you find out that your coffee maker doesn’t reach 195 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, try pre-boiling your water in a kettle before. Don’t go over 205 degrees Fahrenheit as it could burn the coffee.
Coffee makers could seem complicated to handle for new brewers. It might take a while to fully understand how it all works but once you get the hang of it, there’s no turning back! You need to take control of the brewing process to make cafe quality coffee at home.
Considering a pour-over setup can help you extract flavor from the beans. A pour-over device gives you more control to the brewing process. Not only do you get to experiment on different water temperatures but you can also make coffee using a variety of grind sizes, and coffee to water ratios.
For easy, hassle-free coffee making at home, invest in a good automatic coffee maker. These machines might be expensive, but if you’re all about making perfect espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, it’s going to be totally worth it! Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, coffee makers come with some incredible options to make consistently good coffee. The Breville comes with six brewing modes and customizable flavor and taste settings for it’s “my brew” option. Get your own affordable Breville from Qavashop. You spend a little more and you can get your hands on coffee makers that come with built-in automatic grinders, steam wand, and touchscreen displays to let you pick your favorite setting for grind, brew, and milk froth levels.