We have all spent a lot of time at home recently. If you are a lover of cafe culture and lovingly crafted coffee drinks, this might have led to some severe withdrawal symptoms!
Too often, coffee at home means instant, or at best, some mass-produced coffee pods. However, it is possible to make cafe level coffee drinks at home with the right equipment and techniques.
From espresso to v60 and even cold brew, delicious coffee is not as difficult to make as you think.
Let’s take a more detailed look at three of the most common ways to make excellent coffee at home.
For many, a perfectly pulled espresso is the holy grail of coffee. It is also one of the most intimidating to make for yourself. Espresso is much more concentrated which means acidity and bitterness will be more prominent in the taste.
You will have seen all the machines and gadgets your local barista has behind the counter. How could you possibly replicate that at home?
The reality is, home espresso will require the most significant investment and learning curve of these three methods.
First on your list needs to be an espresso machine. You can spend thousands on one of these.
A sensible investment for someone just starting would be a couple of hundred dollars for something like the Ultima Pro from Capresso.
Small machines in this range do have their limits but typically come with a milk frother and enough pressure to create a decent morning espresso.
Next, you need to consider your coffee. Ideally, you would grind your own, but that will require a grinder. Ideally a burr grinder and one of those can cost more than a budget espresso machine! If you’re looking to keep things simple, there are multi-use machines in the market that combine these functions in one neat package.
Finally, to get you dosing for your shot right, you will need a scale to make sure you are using the right amount of coffee.
A typical shot requires 13-18grams. You will only discover the perfect amount for your machine from experience.
The rest really comes down to technique. You could learn on a professional course, but these days there are so many online tutorials that you can learn and experiment at home.
For the true coffee lovers out there, learning about espresso through trial and error will be just as enjoyable as the coffee itself!
If espresso at home sounds like way too much effort, then maybe a v60 is the right choice for you.
V60 will give you a less intense cup of coffee when compared with a shot of espresso. The flavour tends to be more rounded and you’ll get to experience the coffees beautiful aromas as you’re brewing.
The Hario v60 is a manual coffee brewer. It has quite a long history but has become more prevalent in recent years with the rise of third-wave coffee culture, which emphasizes pour-over methods of brewing coffee.
The v60 itself consists of a carafe with a large, ‘V’ shaped cone on the top. This cone angles in at 60 degrees, giving the method its name.
Brewing with a v60 starts simple and gets increasingly nuanced the deeper in you get. At the most basic level, you place filter paper in the ‘V’, add coffee and then pour your hot water in.
After a short wait, your coffee will start gently dripping into the bottom of the carafe, and in no time at all, you will have a delicate coffee to enjoy.
This is an oversimplification though. To get the best results, you need to get the amount of coffee, your water temperature and pouring technique just right.
You will need a scale for this method, and many people also use a special kettle with a long spout that is ideal for getting your pour perfect every time.
The type of coffee and the specific grind will be different than what you should use in an espresso machine. Just like with espresso, some online tutorials and experimentation will be the key to success.
Of all the methods of at home brewing, nothing is more straightforward than cold brew.
The experience of drinking cold brew is a distinct one. When having a cup of hot coffee you will smell the aromatic coffee oils but in a cold brew the aromas are contained in the liquid. This makes the flavours more vibrant and floral, with just a hint of bitterness. Cold brew made with high quality coffee beans is fresh and refreshing; not too bitter, not too rich.
You probably have all the equipment you need already, and you can get great results without much of a learning curve.
A coarse grind is best for cold brew. You want it to look pretty similar to raw sugar. Keeping it coarser helps to limit bitterness.
Start with about one ounce of coffee per cup of water and combine in a container of your choice. Cover and leave it out at room temperature overnight.
After about 12 hours, it’s time to strain your coffee. To avoid too many bitter flavours, you should gently strain your brew through a strainer and cheesecloth. Avoid squeezing the cheesecloth; just let the coffee naturally drip through.
This may sound time-consuming, but the best benefit of cold brew is that you can make large batches. You can easily make a week’s worth of coffee all at once and just keep it in the fridge, ready to drink!
Bean Choice Matters
With all of these brewing methods, there is one constant – coffee choice matters.
Even if you have the best equipment and technique, you won’t make a good cup of coffee without good quality coffee beans.
For the best results, you should purchase high-quality speciality beans like the Vietnamese coffee beans roasted by Belvico.
Not only will you be supporting farmers and small-time producers more directly, but you can also build a real connection with your morning coffee.
Unlike large corporate roasters, you will know precisely where your beans have come from, safe in the knowledge that they have been grown and harvested in an environmentally and ethically sound way.
Try it for yourself and see the difference that high quality, freshly roasted speciality coffee can make when brewing coffee at home.