How would you like to enjoy the amazing taste of a coffee-shop cappuccino or flat white every day? What do you need to make great coffee drinks yourself?
Just a few secrets only experienced baristas know. We’ve been snooping around and here are a few tips to help you!
If you’ve been buying whatever coffee caught your fancy at the store or what brand was on offer, you need to educate yourself about the main coffee types in the world – that would be Arabica and Robusta, and learn a bit about roasting grades.
Did you know that Arabica coffee is widely considered superior, yet Robusta is perfect for espresso? Read the labels carefully and see what sort of brewing method is recommended for each type of coffee.
This is quite tricky because fresh coffee is hard to come by. Freshly roasted beans need 5-10 days for degassing and getting rid of carbon dioxide, which would make your brew too bubbly.
Ideally, you should use coffee that’s 10 to14 days out of the roaster and for that you need to find a local supplier who can deliver quickly. As for the coffee at the supermarket, even the most expensive brand takes weeks, if not months to reach the shelves… not exactly fresh!
We all know what it is to wait for coffee, especially in the morning and you probably won’t like the idea that you also need to grind some beans before you put the machine on. However, ground coffee loses flavor more quickly than whole beans.
Crushing the beans exposes the small particles to air and oxidation depletes them of their delicious flavors. Baristas say that one hour is enough to ruin your coffee, so grind only the amount you’re going to use immediately.
Tap water should not be used for coffee and it’s not just the impurities you should be worried about. Depending on the area you live in, the tap water might be too salty or have nasty aromas. Would you like your coffee to smell of chlorine? Probably not!
Experts recommend using filtered water for the perfect brew. An acceptable alternative is using bottled water, only make sure it is not soft water. You need hard water with plenty of minerals like calcium or magnesium to extract a maximum of flavors from the coffee.
This is also about water, specifically the temperature of the water. For the best results, the temperature of the water should be below the boiling point. The perfect temperature is between 195 and 205 degrees F.
If you’re using an espresso machine, make sure to set the temperature right and for pour-over brewing methods, bring the water to the boiling point, then let it cool down for one minute.
Let’s say you’ve made a great brew. Still, something is missing. Unless you like your coffee black, you’ll want a fancy drink as you get at the coffee shop! There’s nothing stopping you, is it? There are several easy ways to froth milk like a pro or, if you prefer, you can froth your favorite coffee creamer.
If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can use a hand-held electric frother, a blender or even a mixer to make some velvety foam, just perfect for a home-made cappuccino.
Just how much coffee and how much water go in a great coffee? According to industry experts, the golden rule for a good strong brew is two tablespoons of coffee for 6 fl oz of water.
Obviously, you are allowed to experiment and fiddle with the ratio as much as you want. In fact, you’re encouraged to experiment and find a coffee that’s perfect for you.
We’re talking about French Press here. Experts say you should pour hot water in the pot, then discard it before you start brewing. This will keep your coffee from getting cold sooner.
Don’t beat yourself over weak under-extracted coffee or an extremely bitter brew. Happens to the best of us! Just pay attention and figure out what went wrong – maybe the water was too cold, maybe you scorched it or simply you bought some low-quality beans. You’ll know better next time!
Being a barista is fun and so is being just a coffee fan! Use all the tips above and, most of all, use your imagination!
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