Passionate coffee lovers know that not all coffee tastes the same. After all, there’s a reason why baristas go through extensive training until they’re able to get out the coffee bean flavor that their customers desire.
You’d know how different home-brewed coffee can be from a barista’s specialty if you’ve ever tried brewing coffee at home and ended up with a cup that’s too sour or too bitter to consume.
Worst of all, you might have ended up with barely any flavor at all. If struggling with home-brewed coffee is something you’re unfortunately familiar with, here are some precious secrets to help you fully enjoy your coffee at home.
Use Fresh Coffee Beans
First things first, if you’re looking for a rich taste and heavenly texture, you’d better stay away from instant coffee. While some premium instant coffee can deliver an acceptable taste, there’s no doubt that the best coffee is made using coffee beans.
Moreover, not just any coffee beans will do; you’ll need to stack up on fresh and whole coffee beans rather than pre-ground ones. The whole trick in making coffee lies in the extraction process.
Coffee beans are naturally rich in aromatic compounds, which give it its unique taste and are naturally preserved inside the whole beans. As soon as they’re ground, these substances start escaping quickly, resulting in loss of flavor. To preserve this flavor as long as possible, only grind the coffee beans right before brewing.
Grind to Proper Coarseness
When it comes to grinding coffee beans, the coarseness of the ground will greatly affect the final taste you end up with. As Dee from Page One Coffee explains, grinding coffee beans to appropriate coarseness is necessary for getting the extraction process right.
Under-extracted coffee will taste sour and acidic, while over-extracting coffee will make it bitter and thin. To extract the flavor correctly, you’ll have to grind the coffee beans to the right coarseness according to the kind of brewing method you’ll do.
For instance, it’s best to use a coarse grind for french presses, a medium-coarse grind for pour-overs, and a fine grind for espresso.
Quality and Temperature of Water Matter
There’s something that’s often overlooked when brewing coffee, and that’s the water used. That’s ironic really, given that water makes about 98.5% of any coffee cup. Using low-quality water or one that tastes funny will definitely mess with the final taste of your coffee.
Another less obvious fact is that water temperature plays an important role in the extraction process. Using water that’s not hot enough or too hot is equally damaging to the quality of coffee you get.
Ideally, water should reach a temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll be able to accurately measure the water temperature by using a thermometer, but you can also use water that’s approximately 60 to 30 seconds away from boiling.
Explore Brewing Methods
Once you get the basics down, you’ll be free to explore the world of possibilities that come in the form of brewing methods. Sure, it will take a lot of time, trial, and error until you make the perfect cup of coffee, but it will certainly be worth the effort. Here are a few options you can explore:
Many people prefer getting a coffee machine to do the job for them. There’s no doubt that coffee machines can deliver great quality. If you don’t mind investing in a coffee machine, you can get one for your espresso, macchiato, and American coffee needs.
Boiling coffee can be the most practical option, right after using a coffee machine. You’ll only have to boil water and add your coffee grounds, not necessarily in this order. For instance, Turkish coffee is made by boiling the grounds with the water over low heat, and it’s a great option when you feel like having a rich and intense cup of coffee.
Steeping or immersion is another method to get quality coffee. You may be familiar with french-presses; they use the steeping method to submerge the coarse coffee-grind in warm water that’s left for a few minutes.
The dripping method (aka pour-overs) is arguably the best method in extracting flavor. It also involves some form of immersing the coffee grind in hot water, the only difference is that it includes a filter through which the extracted coffee drips slowly until your coffee is ready.
If you want to enjoy a sweeter and more refreshing change of taste, then you can’t ignore the cold-brews. Similar to steeping and dripping, cold brews involve soaking the grind in water (a cold one). Afterward, it’s left for 14 to 18 hours for the extraction to be complete.
There are no limits when it comes to experimenting with coffee. While all coffee-lovers must start with the basics, their adventures will never end once they get the hang of it. They’ll be able to make barista-like espresso, Turkish-coffee, French-pressed, or even cold-brewed coffee. Afterward, they can start experimenting with more fancy recipes, like cappuccino and flavored-coffee.