A great cup of coffee in the morning can end up setting the mood for your entire day. However, you may not always be able to access your specially crafted, barista coffee - as we’re finding out currently. If that's the case, you may have found yourself in the position of needing to brew a good cup of coffee yourself. Follow our simple tricks and you’ll be able to brew your own perfect cup of coffee every morning, right in the comfort of your own home.
Making the perfect coffee at home is easier than you may think. Obvious, but perhaps too obvious, things such as storing your beans correctly and grinding your own coffee can make a huge difference to the taste of your brewed coffee.
Our Tips for Making the Best Home Coffee
Buy Fresh, whole bean coffee
If you’re buying bags of pre-ground coffee, you’re doing it wrong. Instead, you need to be starting with fresh, whole coffee beans.
Coffee reaches its peak flavour just days after it has been roasted and should be consumed within a month of its roast date. Without question though, coffee is best when used within days of being roasted. If you can, try and source fresh coffee beans from local coffee shops or from local roasters - this is the surest way of getting the freshest coffee beans.
If you’re buying from supermarkets, avoid coffee beans stored in large tubes. Oxygen and bright light infiltrate these containers easily, diminishing the flavour and freshness of the coffee beans inside. Instead, look for vacuum-sealed bags.
Store your beans properly
To ensure that the coffee you buy lasts longer, make sure you’re storing it properly. Whilst a vacuum-sealed container would be optimal, a more readily available glass mason jar (with rubber gasket) would work suitably as well.
Despite some information on the internet, you should never refrigerate your coffee beans, as they’re porous and will absorb moisture. Again, you should also never freeze your coffee beans. Instead, to ensure you get the optimum flavour out of your coffee beans and there is no waste, consider buying smaller amounts of coffee beans at a time.
Grind your own beans
It’s widely agreed in the serious coffee circle that coffee begins to lose its flavour just 3o minutes after being ground. For this reason, as any barista will tell you, it’s best to grind just before brewing a coffee. This will ensure you get the best flavour out of your coffee beans.
Consistency and grind size will impact the flavour of your coffee, so it’s important that you’re accurate with your grinder. Too coarse a grind and your coffee will be weak. Grind too fine and you’ll over-extract the coffee and it will become bitter.
For use at home, we recommend a manual hand mill. These grinders are generally the cheapest available but allow for an accurate grind. Blade grinders are available, but are more expensive and often result in inconsistent grind size, leading to a bitter taste.
If you would like to learn more, read our detailed article on grinding coffee.
Use good water
The quality of the water you use is an often overlooked element of brewing coffee, despite being an important one. Using hard water will result in the water not bonding correctly with the coffee particulates, leading to a weak coffee. Hard water, due to the minerals that can be found in it, can also result in limescale buildups in your coffee maker.
Serious coffee lovers insist on using either bottled spring water or carbon filters on their taps. Don’t use distilled water, as a lack of minerals is just as harmful as too many.
To determine whether you have hard or soft tap water where you live, which in turn will determine whether you need to look into using bottled water or a filter, reference your local water providers website.
Brew at the correct temperature
Water that is too hot can “burn” coffee, extracting unwanted compounds, making the coffee bitter. Most baristas will brew coffee at 195°F-205°F/ 90.5°C-96°C. We find that when the temperature creeps up past 96°C, the texture can become a little powdery, and when it’s at the lower range it’s not quite sweet enough. Which means the sweet spot – for our palettes, at least – is at around or just over 94°C/201°F.
Once brewed, drink your coffee within 30 minutes. Don’t let coffee sit in a brewer all day long. Make it as you need it, which will ensure freshness and a perfect coffee every time.
Pre-infuse your coffee grounds
To pre-infuse your coffee grounds, insert a filter into the hopper and add your coffee grounds. Alternatively, insert your filter above your mug and add your coffee grounds. Use a kettle to preheat some water to around 88 degrees. Pour just enough water over the grounds, so that they’re wet and not saturated, to let them boom (they’ll get puffy). After 45 seconds, continue to pour over. This process ensures you get the most flavour out of your coffee grounds.
Keep your equipment clean
Make sure to routinely clean your storage containers and grinders every week or so to remove any oily buildup. For your coffee machine, run a solution of vinegar through it every month to remove any limescale buildups, making sure to rinse thoroughly before reuse.
To learn more about coffee machine maintenance and cleaning, read our blog on how to clean your commercial coffee machine.
How do you brew the perfect cup of coffee in your home? We’d love to hear from you!