If you’re a Coffee lover like me, you’ll know that drinking a cup in the morning is about more than just fulfilling a daily routine. It’s a way of waking you up, making you feel better and a self-assuring means of helping you believe you can overcome whatever the day has in store for you.
Because coffee plays such an important role in so many people’s lives, and with more and more people opting to make their favourite cup of coffee at home, I thought I’d share some tips that I’ve learned by experimenting with home brewing equipment over the last couple of years, with the aim of helping you achieve a better quality cup of coffee in your own kitchen.
Now I’m not pretending to be a barista here, these tips are simply from my past experiences with both, drip filter coffees, automoated brewers, espresso machines and pour-over brewing.
I’ve had to learn the hard way by sacrifcing many a bean along the way to getting a consistent brew, hopefully after reading this you’ll be able to improve the results you get from your coffee brewing efforts.
1. Pre-warm your cup
This is my number one tip. No matter what type of coffee you brew, unless it’s a refreshing cold brew coffee for the summer, it’s most likely you enjoy drinking your coffee hot not tepid.
If you’re part of the pour-over brigade, temperature plays a critical role in ensuring you achieve a top quality brew.
No matter what brewing method you choose, allowing the coffee you’ve carefuly brewed to go sloshing around in a cold mug means you’ll be left with a substandard cup of coffee that not only does a disservice to you, but also to the beans you’ve taken time to prepare.
By making sure your cup is warm before the coffee hits its walls will mean the flavour, aroma and the texture of the coffee is maintained for longer, which is always a good thing.
I tend to boil the kettle, let it settle and then pour the hot water into my cups and leave them to heat for around 10-15 seconds before pouring in my coffee, or if I’m feeling lazy, I pre-heat the cups on top of my Sage Barista Express whilst I prepare my espresso and texture my milk for a latte.
Whether you choose one of the methods I’ve mentioned or you find your own, always remember to keep that cup hot!
2. Don’t be precious about your beans
This one took me quite a long time to get my head around and commit to, but believe me when I say, you’re doing nothing for the quality of your cup of coffee by saving those special beans you bought for a special occasion.
The reason you should use your beans as soon as you can after you buy them is, the longer you leave them sat in the packet or kilner jar after they’ve been roasted, the less flavour they’ll impart during the brewing process.
If your beans are less silky and citrussy and more cardboardy and boring, it’s most likely you’ve had them sat around for too long.
As I’ve mentioned in some of the posts on The Bean Pole, coffee is a beautiful thing with some extraordinary flavours, but I think I speak for everyone when I say, no one wants a coffee that tastes like corragated paper.
So, to combat this, keep your bean supply short and regular, but what ever you do stay away from the freezer. Freezing coffee beans is the equivalent to trying to lick some flavour out of a concrete wall, it’s just never going to happen!
3. Wet those filters
If you’re a fan of making your coffee using a drip filter machine or you prefer a V60 brew or any pour over coffee that involves using a filter of some sort, make sure that bad boy’s wet.
Filters of any kind always have some degree of flavour, even if it’s not advertised, and bleached paper filters are the biggest culprit. Hitting the paper filter with some water before you brew your coffee will help eradicate some of that taste, with the added benefit of helping your filter hug the surface of your machine, chemex or V60.
Bear in mind that I’m only talking about a smidge of water here, no need to recreate the Sri Lankan monsoon pre-brew.
4. Wet the screen
So I’ve been using my Sage Barista Express for a while now and for a long time I loved it (I still do) but there was one thing that constantly annoyed me at the end of every espresso I brewed and that was the basket that held the grounds sticking to the screen that releases the water and helps brew the espresso itself.
My workaround? Make sure you do a 2-3 second run through of your machine so that water is dispensed and the screen is wet, this will help your basket slide off easier at the end of the process, whilst also ensuring the water is dispensed evenly over the grounds at the start of the brew.
Having the water dispense evenly across the grounds will give you a better texture and will ensure you’re pulling every last bit of flavour fro the coffee grounds.
5. Stay away from boiling water
Impatience is a killer, especially when it comes to brewing methods that require you to pour water over the grounds.
Whatever you do, stay away from boiling water unless you want to annihalate your coffee beans and have a brew that resembles something you’d find in a pot hole.
If you do opt to make your brew using a french press, chemex or V60, boil the water then relax for about a minute. Catch up with what that person you don’t actually care about is doing on Insta or pop to the loo, treat yourself, but leave that kettle alone for 60 seconds after it’s finished boiling. Trust me you’ll thank me for it when you’re supping on a top brew!
So there we have it 5 tips that should make you a better brewer of coffee at home. I had to learn the hard way, but you don’t.
If you have some top tips on brewing coffee at home, don’t be shy! Share your thoughts in the comments or leave a comment on my Facebook page, which you can Like by clicking here.