Making delicious coffee at home consistently should be simple and repeatable. With that in mind, here are five simple tips that will make your coffee taste better at home, and they might even make the process a little easier.
Tip #1: Use freshly roasted coffee
Coffee doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be freshly roasted. After all, coffee is a fresh product, so it makes sense to consume it at fresh as possible.
Too many people use stale coffee and expect amazing results. Would you expect your bread to be soft and fluffy after you left it out uncovered on the table overnight? No! So don’t expect the supermarket coffee you just purchased to be fresh. God only knows how long its been sitting on the shelves for 🙁
By using freshly roasted coffee, you’ll be able to taste the difference straight away. Not only this, but you’ll be able to extract all of the coffees antioxidants, taste and other goodness too. At Beyond Coffee, the way we define freshness is, coffee that is no more than two weeks from the roast date. Keep this in mind next time you’re buying your brain juice.
Tip: Coffee should always have a roast date on the packaging so that you can make an educated decision. A best before date on a vacuum or nitro sealed packet of coffee doesn’t cut it; you have no idea when the coffee was roasted. You could still be getting stale coffee. Even if the coffee is nitro or vacuum-sealed, it won’t stop the coffee from aging, but it will help slow down the aging process. For the best at-home coffee results, try to source your coffee as close to the roast date as possible.
Tip #2: Weighing your coffee
If you want to take your coffee skills to the next level, then you should really start dosing your coffee. There are a few things to bear in mind when dosing coffee, and that is you want to measure how much coffee you put in, and how much coffee extract you’re getting out.
For dosing in, you’re going to need to grab yourself a set of scales so that you can weigh the coffee grinds going into your portafilter (for espresso) or brewing apparatus (for filter), i.e. Aeropress, Moccamaster, V60 etc.
After you’ve dosed your coffee into the brew method of your choice, you’re going to need to use a set of scales for weighing out.
Tip #3: Watch your brewing temperatures
Up to this point, you’ve just spent time perfecting your grind, which is fantastic, but you’re still wondering why your coffee is tasting sub-par. Whether your an espresso or filter coffee drinker the brewing temperature will have a dramatic effect on the flavour profile of your coffee. With this in mind, let’s look at your brewing temperature.
Generally, hotter brewing temperatures act as an accelerant for coffee extraction. In other words, the hotter your brewing temperatures, the more oils and acids will be extracted. This will result in an increased body and subsequently, more bitterness. Lower brewing temperatures will result in lower extraction of oils and acids which will give the coffee less body, sweetness and bitterness.
What does this mean for you?
Well, if you’re a filter coffee drinker you have the option of hot-brewing or cold-brewing your coffee. You could have the same coffee bean and brew it in many different temperatures and achieve very different flavours that can be fun and interesting.
However, if you’re an espresso drinker, you’ll want your machine, boiler, and portafilter to be hot—a good starting point for you is 94-98 degrees Celsius. Once heated, you’ll want to make sure your extractions are around 29 seconds, which brings us to tip #4.
Tip #4: The grind size.
OK, your coffee beans are fresh, the machine is heated, and you’ve weighed your coffee out. Chances are your coffee is either dripping slowly from the machine or spewing out coffee at an alarming rate and your left scratching your head. Or you nailed it! – good on you! If not, it’s time to look at another variable—the grind size.
The way I like to think of the grind is like pouring water through a planter box. Let’s say one planter box is filled with large rocks, and the other with fine sand. If we pour the same amount of water into each planter box, we’ll quickly discover that it will take less time for the water to go through the one filled with rock that it would with the one filled with sand.
Well, the same goes here. If your coffee grind is too coarse, the water will go through to coffee too quickly and result in a watery mess. If the grind is too fine your coffee will drip out of the machine and taste foul. Knowing this, its time to play with the grinder.
If you’re making espresso, you should try to achieve a grind that will provide an extraction time of around 29 seconds. You should see that your coffee is now looking more like honey dripping from a spoon. Just make sure you’re looking out for coffee channelling
If you’re a filter coffee drinker, you’ll find that grind size will make a massive difference to the result.
Tip #5 Heating your cups
We have just learnt that temperature plays an essential role in the overall flavour profile of your coffee. So let’s not waste all of our efforts by pouring your coffee into a cold cup.
When you pour the coffee into a cold cup, you immediately lose the perfect drinking temperature. It is for this reason that pre-heating your cups will help to create an ideal vessel for a delicious, juicy coffee brew.
Nuff said, so how do you heat your cups?
1) If you have a coffee machine, use the designated rack for on top of your machine to store the cups and let them warm up there.
2) Boil the kettle and rinse your cup with hot water. We recommend this way, not just because everyone has a kettle, but also the rim of the cup doesn’t get too hot, so when your spouse goes in for that morning smooch you can still feel it 😉
It can be complex learning all the different beans and brewing methods, not to mention expensive too, but knowing these basics will set you on the right path.
For those of you that don’t have the time or money to invest in coffee equipment or learning the complex brewing methods, we have an excellent option that still allows you to make an exceptional cup of coffee with the bear essentials – even if you’re a stickler for freshness. Yes, thats right we’ve thought of that too.
Check out our Beyond brew-bags. They contain freshly roasted coffee and get delivered straight to your door at a frequency of your choice. The best part – they are compostable too. We’ve done all the hard work for you so that you can enjoy repeatable and straightforward coffee brews that taste delicious.