How do you make better coffee at home? Are you wondering how to brew good coffee like a barista at home? If you answered “YES” then you have come to the right place.
In this article, we are going to share with you 12 easy coffee brewing tips to help you brew better, more delicious, and more aromatic coffee at home.
Coffee brewing can be tricky. Brew time, water, temperature, grind size, whole coffee beans, fresh coffee beans……and the list goes on and on… there are many factors that can affect the quality of your coffee no matter how cool your coffee maker is.
And the worst thing?
You may not be able to determine where you went wrong.
Learning how to make better coffee at home doesn’t have to be difficult. We are going to share practical tips so that you can make barista-type coffee every single time.
Let’s get started!
1. Brew with Fresh Whole Bean Coffee
Good coffee beans will always brew good coffee unless the other factors aren’t adhered to.
Coffee has a shelf life of around 6 weeks. The coffee you buy from the grocery store has perhaps been stored for an average of 3 to 12 months. If you brew a cup of coffee with the coffee you purchased from the local store, then you are drinking coffee that resembles dingy stale bread. A good rule of thumb is to buy coffee from local independent roasters.
Buy whole bean coffee and grind yourself before brewing.
The sweet smell and delicious taste you enjoy from coffee is caused by the presence of the aromatic compounds in roasted coffee beans. But once roasted, these compounds start to escape from the bean through a process called degassing. As the compounds escape, they carry away a lot of flavors and aromas. And when the beans stay for around 8 days after roasting, roughly 70% of those compounds will have escaped.
The more the coffee stays there, the more the flavor escapes and in the end, you remain with stale coffee.
Grinding fresh coffee before brewing ensures that you enjoy a cup of coffee full of flavors.
If you have to buy pre-ground coffee, do a quick experiment: Choose a bag with a recent roast date and sniff it to see whether you can smell a strong aroma. If no aroma is coming to your nose as that’s an indication the beans are stale.
2. How to Make Better Coffee at Home: Measure with a Scale
If you want to brew good coffee at home then it’s important to get the coffee bean-water ratio right. And while we are used to the simple rule of 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6oz. of water sometimes this rule doesn’t apply. This is because sometimes a tablespoon may lack exactness to help you brew quality coffee.
Even though scoops, eyeballing it, or measuring spoons are good enough to brew a good cup of coffee, if you are looking to make reliable and repeatable coffee use a scale.
Remember that coffee density varies depending on the origin, roast profile, and many other factors. Using a scale will also help you to experiment with different ratios with ease. And if you are looking for a scale, buy a digital one.
3. Use a Good Grinder
When it comes to grinding coffee, consistency is key and this will depend on your coffee grinder.
Generally, coffee beans can be coarse, medium or fine.
Remember that different brewing methods require different grind sizes to make good coffee. So you need to make sure you’re using the right size.
Besides, coffee starts to lose its flavors and aromas approximately 20-30 minutes after grinding. For this reason, it’s best to grind the beans immediately before brewing.
Coffee beans ground too fine can lead to over-extraction so you will get bitter coffee.
And this is the case when you use a blade grinder.
A good rule of thumb is to use a great grinder since the size of the grinds determines how fast flavors are extracted from the beans.
As a rule, always grind your beans in the same size to make all the particles to brew at the same rate.
And if you can control the exact size of your ground coffee, the better you will be able to make good coffee.
A burr grinder will allow you to control the grind size.
Depending on the brewing technique, espresso will require fine grinds; Aeropress and pour-over require a medium grind, and coarse grind is good for French Press.
4. How to Make Good Coffee at Home: Consider the Water Quality
Coffee is 99% water. This means that the quality of water can make or break the taste of your brewed coffee.
Water that tastes bad or with strange odors will produce coffee that tastes bad. In other words, what you use is what you get.
Hard water that contains minerals will prevent coffee from mixing well. The high minerals will also stick to your coffee machine thus you will be forced to descale it regularly.
As a rule, always use purified water. Although in some places tap water can be pure in some, you will need water that has undergone filtration or bottled water.
Just make sure you don’t use distilled or softened water at all.
5. Use the Desired Brew Temperature
This is where many automatic drip machines become impracticable. Many don’t reach the desired brew temperature of 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Well, the latest, fancy coffee makers come with manual temperature regulation features but the older ones don’t.
If you want to extract the best flavors out of your coffee, the water should be at the right temperature.
Remember, the higher the temperature the faster the extraction will take place the lower the temperature the longer it will take to extract flavors out of coffee.
But here is the thing: Coffee brewed with water below 195 degrees F lacks the pleasant acidity and distinctive flavors and water above 205 degrees F will produce bitter flavors.
Here, you will need to have a thermometer close by.
6. Roast Beans at Home
Well, roasting beans can be tricky especially if you have a busy lifestyle. We created a guide on how to roast coffee beans here. Take a look at it to know how you can do it at home.
The best part is that you can roast your own beans in a coffee bean roaster, an oven or in a skillet. And roasting takes around 10 to 20 minutes.
It’s also less costly than buying roasted coffee and you have the opportunity to choose from a variety.
7. Consider the Roast Type
Four types of roast exist light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Here, you need to choose your preferred roast.
8. Learn How to Store Your Beans the Right Way
If you want to make better coffee at home, always learn how to store beans properly. Unfortunately, this is where many coffee addicts get it wrong and end up brewing coffee with a strange taste.
Storing coffee wrongly will make it go bad.
Sometimes coffee comes in a foil bag with pinholes and a one-way valve. This storage bag keeps coffee from going bad so you can leave your coffee there but make sure to keep the bag at room temperature.
If your coffee did not come in a foil bag or any other specially designed bag, store your coffee beans in an airtight container away from light and warmth to avoid losing their freshness.
9. Pre-Wet the Grounds
This is a trick that only a few coffee lovers, especially you reading this post will know. If you can quickly heat a small amount of water, sprinkle your grounds with an ounce of water before brewing. This will lead to pre-extraction where the flavors will start to come out to the surface grounds. And when you start to brew, the extraction will have already started.
10. Use a Gooseneck Kettle
This is especially important if you are going to use the pour-over coffee brewing method.
Well, gooseneck kettles aren’t necessary for brewing better coffee at home, but they are preferred because of their narrow spouts that facilitate precise pouring and more control over the amount of water you pour.
11. Use Proper Brewing Technique
The two brewing techniques are immersion and pour-over. If you are just getting started with brewing, you’d better stick to an immersion brewer.
Generally, the French press uses the immersion technique. It’s easy to use this technique.
Pour over brewing technique, on the other hand, takes a little more effort to set up, but for experts, this is the best method to use.
With this method, you put a filter on top of a coffee pot where the filter holds your coffee grounds. Wait until your water is about to boil then sprinkle in the first lot of water.
12. Use the Right Filters
If you want to enjoy coffee without the residue, use a filter. Remember that filters are made with different materials.
Filters that can hold fine particles of coffee are suitable as they keep bitter flavors from getting into your cup of coffee.
Paper filters will keep many of the coffee oils from entering your cup. For this reason, you should use metal filters.
How to Make Better Coffee at Home- Experiment
When it comes to learning how to make better coffee at home, you must be ready to experiment with different brewing methods and different coffees. You can also experiment with different coffee makers. Experiment with different factors from grind size, to water temperature to roast type until you get the best coffee you can enjoy.