How To Make Good Coffee At Home

By on 2014
how to make good coffee at home

Where do you get your coffee fix? How do you want it? There are plenty of variations to enjoy a cup of freshly-brewed scrumptious coffee and you would have probably tried a lot in many different places before you arrived into what you really love. And when you do find it it’s a no-brainer that you would like to know how to make your favorite coffee at home.

There just a dizzying array of options. Do you prefer a strong blend or a mild one? Lattes? Simple brewed coffee? There are different approaches and equipment involved which may vary upon your coffee preference but the following are the main tips to adhere to in preparing great coffee in your own home.

Your Coffee Beans

Every cup of coffee starts from its basic component which are the coffee beans. Check on your bean supplier or the manufacturer’s labels and notes so that you get to purchase coffee beans that are to your liking especially when trying out new varieties. It is ideal to acquire newly-roasted coffee grains for freshness. Each different kind of coffee bean variety has different flavor features. Geography also plays a big part as coffee plants from different regions tend to have varying qualities. Out of the more than 6,000 varieties of coffee there are only 3 types which are widely used.

Arabica coffee beans are used to create some of the world’s most exquisite coffee offerings. Its numerous sub-varieties are mainly named after their country or area of origin. This variety exhibits light to medium bodied character and have a sharp-tasting almost-sour taste. It’s also very aromatic. Robusta coffee bean variety is much cheaper in comparison to Arabica beans. Robusta beans are also blended with various other coffee types to achieve certain flavors. This type also contains 50% more caffeine than Arabica coffee beans. This variety exhibits a very strong character, is full-bodied, and has a woody cocoa-like flavor. Rounding up the three main coffee bean varieties are the Kona beans. What sets this variety apart is its powerful aroma. These are produced in smaller quantities and are quite expensive. This variety thrives on tropical climates but is primarily from Hawaii.

The beans undergo a series of processes. One of the most important and flavor defining is the roasting. This process changes the chemical and physical makeup of coffee beans and the amount of roasting likewise alters the taste. Light Roasting lets you taste the inherent characteristics of your coffee beans. This produces a highly acidic character with light body and has no obvious trace of any roasting-induced effect on the flavor. Medium Roasting imparts a bit more of a “roast flavor” and produces a much less acidic character. The coffee bean’s chemical makeup has been slightly altered already especially its sugar content which due to the roasting has already caramelized. Full Roasting or Dark Roasting imparts a strong “roast” flavor and aroma. The coffee bean’s natural characteristics are already hardly noticeable. The coffee bean’s bitterness and sweetness are both accented producing a very complicated flavor.

Next up is the grinding process. This plays a huge influence on the brew’s taste and strength as this process establishes the amount of coffee elements that are infused in your brew. The type of grind is mainly dictated by the type of coffee maker that you will be using. Coarse grinds are commonly used for French press and percolators while medium to fine grinds are typically used for drip coffeemakers. Super fine grinds are for espresso machines. Grinding coffee beans too much will certainly generate a bitter brew and coarse grind will certainly result in under-extraction.
Pre-ground coffee beans are available for convenience but it is a fact that freshly-ground beans produce better-tasting coffee. There are a couple of grinder options from manual grinders to motorized ones while some mid to high end coffeemakers on the other hand have grinders built-in to the unit.

Your Brew

This process is where the real coffee extraction occurs. The key elements for extraction are the contact time and the water temperature during the process. Here are some of the common types of coffee makers and how they extract coffee.

  • French Press – It’s a glass or stainless steel mug-like device with a lid, a filter and a plunger. Coffee grounds are placed in the bottom with hot water and left for at least 4 minutes or more for extraction. This method does not use electricity and lets you control the flavor of your coffee.
  • Percolator – These are commonly used for high-volume applications like big offices, cafeterias and the like. Coffee grounds are continuously steeped in hot water.
  • Automatic Drip Coffee Machine – This is the most common type of coffee maker. Pre-measured amounts of coffee grounds to the filter chamber where water continuously drips and passes through the ground coffee for it to extract the coffee flavor.
  • Espresso Machine – The espresso is the basic component of a lot of different coffee beverages such as cappuccinos, cafe lattes and so much more. Hot and pressurized water is used for extraction from finely ground coffee. Some units also have a milk frother for preparing lattes and more.

The water used must be free from odors and contaminants that will affect the flavor of your brew. Check the suggested coffee grounds to water ratio of the coffee maker of your choice. The recommended water temperature is between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum extraction. Optimum brewing time is required for correct coffee extraction. French press and drip coffeemakers have a minimum of 4 minutes of contact time while espresso machines on the other hand operate between 20 to 30 seconds. Keep these guidelines in mind and you’re in for a real treat of a brew!

Sit Back and Relax

Coffee tastes better freshly-made! Consume your coffee immediately after brewing and appreciate its flavor and aroma. Check if the characteristics you are looking for are present so that you could improve your next brew. But most importantly, enjoy!