How do you like your coffee? Black and strong with no sugar or milk or with plenty of sugar?
For most people, their daily dose of coffee is a morning ritual; they can’t function properly without it. As such, for many, a good cup of coffee is everything.
Are you looking to find the ideal coffee blend? Or are you new to making coffee? If so, then you are in the right place. In this beginner’s guide to brewing coffee at home, we’ll go over everything you need to start making your coffee the way you like it.
Your Coffee is as Good as Your Beans
The first thing you need to do is to get a fresh bag of quality beans. It can be whole coffee beans or specialty coffee from your local coffee shop or an online store.
If you find it challenging to get a fresh bag from your local grocery store, consider looking for some local craft roasters. They will be sure to have a pile of freshly roasted beans.
When you are hunting fresh beans, put quality above quantity. For instance, $20 is not too much for a bag of quality beans. It might seem like a lot, but when you calculate it per cup, you’re spending just a few extra cents. Besides, nothing beats the aroma of freshly roasted beans.
Ensure the Beans are Fresh
Freshness is everything. However, coffee beans lose their freshness after two weeks. If you check your grocery store, you may notice that most coffee beans are already stale.
To ensure you don’t end up with stale beans, check the bag for the roast date, and get a quantity that you will consume within a week or a maximum of two weeks.
Keep your beans away from moisture and heat. This means avoid storing fresh coffee beans in the fridge or in direct sunlight. Instead, lock them in an airtight container at room temperature.
When it is time to brew, grind only the quantity you need for that moment. As soon as the beans are grounded, it begins to lose flavour. You can learn more about grinding here.
Get Your Water Right
Like coffee beans, the water you use in making your brews also matter. The taste of your water will affect the taste of your coffee. Instead of using your tap water, use filtered or mineral water instead.
Use the Right Coffee Brewer
There are so many coffee makers to choose from. Whatever your choice, ensure it’s the right fit for you. You can decide to go with an auto-drip or a manual brewer. The manual brewer method requires patience to learn, so don’t be in a hurry.
If you are entirely new to the game, here are some tips to help you out with manual blenders. In our beginner’s guide to coffee, we’ll discuss two methods for manual blender. We’ll start with the first one: The immersion brewer.
The Immersion Brewer
The immersion brewer method is easy to use. Plus, there are plenty of techniques to choose from. One popular style is the French Press. In less than four minutes, you can have a fresh cup of coffee. Other techniques are the AeroPress and the Clever Dripper.
If you need a challenge, you can move over to the pour-over method.
The Pour-over Method
Some of the most popular pour-over brewers you will find are the V60, Kalita Wave, and Chemex. Pour-overs can create a therapeutic effect as you brew your coffee. Even more, they are beautifully decorated. Don’t forget to get a gooseneck kettle if you want to achieve even distribution.
Choose the Right Coffee Grinder and Filter
The way you grind your beans matters a lot in the final output. If you have an inconsistent and uneven grind, your coffee will taste awful. To avoid such disasters, stay away from blade grinders.
Instead, buy handheld blur grinders such as the Porlex or the Handground. If cost isn’t an issue, then the Baratza Encore is highly recommended. You’ll notice the difference in every cup.
For filters, stick with the brown or white paper filters. You can also get reusable stainless steel filters. If you are using paper filters, ensure to rinse them before use. This will prevent any excess paper taste.
Get the Heat Right: Kettle, Kitchen Scale, Timer, and Thermometer
As far as coffee kettles are concerned, Gooseneck is the gold standard! It’s beautiful and gives you the control you need while brewing. If you can, go for the model that has a built-in thermometer.
Brewing coffee is a game of skill and patience, but you cannot afford to play it by the eye and ear. That is why you need a digital kitchen scale and timer to help you out. A kitchen scale will help you get the right measurement for your favourite recipes.
You don’t need to go all fancy for scales and timers. A cheap kitchen scale with 0.1g accuracy is enough to get you started. Later on, you can check the market for fancier alternatives. For a timer, simply download a coffee app on your phone.
A thermometer is essential because coffee comes out best just before the water hits the boiling point. Water boils at 216F while the best coffees are produced between 195 – 205F. That is why a thermometer comes in handy.
If you got the Gooseneck kettle model that has an in-built thermometer, you are in luck! If not, you can use an old fashioned thermometer. However, if you don’t have any, you don’t have to worry. Simply heat your water to the boiling point, then allow it to cool for 30 seconds before use.
Making excellent coffee is an art. You might not get it right the first time, but you will at some point—especially after going through our beginner’s guide to coffee. Just keep the following tips in mind.
- Preheat your gear. This will keep your coffee warm for longer.
- Brew what’s enough for the moment. Coffee is best enjoyed fresh.
- Don’t reheat coffee. If your coffee has turned cold, pour it away and make yourself a fresh cup.
- Ensure your gears are oil-free after each use. Residual oil can make your next brew taste awful.
- Have fun, and enjoy yourself.
We hope that our beginner’s guide to coffee has been useful in your journey to making the best cup of coffee at home. And remember to enjoy the art of coffeemaking with each brew!