Who says home brew coffee can’t evoke the same feelings and flavors as your favorite coffee house? While you might not be able to recreate the decor and vibe of your local coffee shop, whether it's French press or cold brew coffee, you can create a delightful coffee drink in your own home. No experience is needed, just a desire and will to create the perfect cup of coffee.
You deserve the absolute best coffee experience, and we are here to help make sure you get it. So, let's dive in and discover the tried-and-true methods for creating the perfect cup of coffee at home every time.
7 Steps for a Better Coffee Experience at Home
So, you love coffee, and you want to recreate the coffee experience from your local coffee shop or the hidden gem you discovered on your last vacation? We can help. Many aspects of creating the perfect cup of coffee, beyond the physical place you are drinking, involve sourcing and curating the best coffee-making materials.
While the coffee beans and water used in making coffee are absolutely the top two ingredients in creating a top-notch coffee experience, so many other factors play an essential role in developing and executing the ideal coffee drinking experience at home. For example, with cold brew coffee, the brewing process can take up to 24 hours; but then the coffee can remain fresh in your refrigerator for up to a week, so the ingredients, time, and care you put into it have a long-lasting effect.
- Use high-quality coffee beans
- Brew with purified water
- Find the right grind size
- Measure with a scale for precise ratios
- Store your coffee beans properly
- Select your ideal brewing method
- Start with a clean coffee maker
The heart and soul of a memorable cup of coffee are the coffee beans. They are the foundation of your entire caffeine experience, from a pour-over to a cold brew coffee, so it is essential to invest in high-quality coffee beans. We did a deep dive into the four main types of coffee beans, examining their strengths and benefits. 100% arabica beans are the most highly sought after and highly produced across the globe. Experimenting with different coffee beans is always encouraged because we all have our own unique flavor palates.
The 4 main types of coffee beans in order of production and availability are:
In addition to choosing the right type of coffee beans, deciding on the perfect roast for your taste buds and brewing style is equally important. Light roast, medium roast, and dark roast beans all offer different flavor profiles that ensure an ideal coffee experience is available to everyone. The even better news is that you do not have to commit to one roasting style. At the same time, many people prefer a specific roasting level; even more, people have different preferences depending on the time of day they are drinking or their brewing method.
Lighter color bean, floral notes, dynamic fruit or floral flavor. We recommend this roast for the pour-over method.
Medium roast coffee beans:
Darker color bean, sweeter than light roast due to the caramelization process, mellow and smooth, which is why we recommend this bean roast for cold brew coffee.
Thick body, smooth and chocolatey flavor, strong aroma, dark roast beans are great for espresso or cold brew coffee.
Water for your Coffee
This doesn't get talked about enough, but purified water is key in elevating your coffee game, as 98% of coffee is water. Treat the water you use for coffee the same way, if not better, than how you treat the water you are drinking by itself. If you only drink bottled water at home, that is your sign to stop using faucet water to fill your coffee machine. This goes for all brewing methods but especially with cold brew coffee, considering how long the brewing process is.
2 at-home methods for purifying your water for consumption are:
This is the cheapest method. All that is required is to bring water to a boil and then keep it at a rolling boil for 1-3 minutes. Water boils at a lower temperature in higher altitudes, so the higher the altitude, the longer it should boil.
The Brita at-home water filtration system began gaining popularity in the United States in the late 1980s. It still holds 70% of the at-home water filtration market share. Water filtration systems can be found in all forms and price points, with options for everything from filtering your water before it enters your home, faucet attachments, and filtering water bottles and straws.
Grind Size of your Coffee Beans
Size matters. The ideal grind size of your coffee beans is directly related to your preferred brewing process. The amount of time the coffee beans are in contact with water during the brewing process is referred to as “contact time.” The shorter the contact time, the finer the grind. The best way to demonstrate this is by comparing an espresso to a cold brew coffee.
The espresso brewing process takes between 20-30 seconds, therefore making an espresso requires finely ground coffee. In fact, the fine grind is often referred to as an espresso grind. On the other hand, the cold brew coffee process takes between 12-24 hours and therefore requires coarsely ground coffee beans to create an amazing cold brew coffee experience.
There is a range of coffee grinds to support the wide variety of coffee brewing styles from espresso to French press to cold brew coffee, with the five main coffee grinds being:
- Extra Finely Ground
- Finely Ground
- Medium Ground
- Medium-Coarsely Ground
- Coarsely Ground
In addition to grind size impacting your coffee results, how you grind your coffee beans is equally vital. Allow us to introduce the burr grinder, sometimes referred to as the Burr mill. This lean, mean grinding machine creates uniform coffee grounds. You have the flexibility to grind coffee beans to your desired coarseness to avoid clogging your coffee brewing machine.
What makes it so unique? Compared to a traditional grinder that uses a blade, burr grinders can grind coffee beans between two revolving abrasive surfaces. So, whether you are doing a quick brew process or the almost-day-long cold brew coffee process, you want to ensure that your coffee grounds are equally soaked to create a consistent coffee drinking experience.
Scale to Measure your Coffee Grounds
Measuring your coffee grounds is something we all do, but measuring using a scale will enhance your coffee experience because it adds a level of precision you cannot achieve with a measuring cup. Fortunately, kitchen scales are very affordable and do not take up much space on your kitchen counter, so it is something we absolutely encourage you to add to your coffee brewing routine.
Using scales to measure baking ingredients by weight instead of volume is a tactic the Europeans have always used. When the first American settlers left Europe to come to North America, scales were in short supply. However, cups and spoons were readily available. This not only shaped the way early settlers cooked, but it also affected their recipes that were then handed down to each generation and became the accepted way to cook, bake and brew coffee in the United States of America. It was a measuring system derived out of necessity.
Storing your Coffee Grounds
Storage, not just a cute way to organize your perishables but an effective way to maintain freshness for the maximum amount of time. Air, moisture, heat, and light can shorten the life of your coffee beans or ruin them altogether. We must protect the things we love; luckily, that is easy to do with coffee beans.
The 3 qualities to look for in good coffee bean storage are:
- Airtight container
- Opaque container
- Room temperature environment
Most coffee drinkers are aware of needing an airtight container, but many fail to factor in that this container should also keep light out. Stainless steel and ceramic coffee bean containers are great choices. In addition, there is a wide selection of trendy modern and classically styled containers that are perfect for keeping your coffee beans in tip-top shape for the maximum amount of time.
How long will your coffee beans stay fresh in an airtight, opaque container? For several months, compared to a maximum of two weeks if not correctly stored. In addition to only lasting two weeks, coffee beans exposed to the elements will almost immediately lose their flavor and aroma.
So, even if you plan on quickly downing your coffee supply, the only way to ensure that it is good to the last drop is to take care of your coffee beans from the get-go. With brewing styles such as espresso or pour-over, you will be accessing your coffee bean supply daily. However, you will be accessing it weekly or every few days with cold brew coffee, so keeping them secure during their downtime is essential.
Brewing Method for your Coffee
We cannot stress enough the importance of discovering a brewing method that you love. While all brewing methods are wonderful, not all brewing methods are created equally. So many factors go into creating an idyllic coffee experience. Your personality, taste preferences, and time availability will play a pivotal role.
4 of our favorite brewing methods are:
- Pour-Over Coffee
- Cold Brew Coffee
- French Press Coffee
Espresso is quick to make; in under 30 seconds, you can have a piping-hot shot of caffeine to get your day started with a bang. The actual process of setting up your espresso to brew will take some time and commitment to grinding, measuring, and preparing the brewing process. If you have the time in the morning to do this, or if you find the routine of making coffee in the morning to be a relaxing or productive way to start your day, this is an excellent brewing method.
The pour-over method of brewing coffee is a favorite method among those that find the methodical act of brewing coffee to be a favorite part of their day. This brewing method requires a time commitment that, while previously not an option for most working adults, is now available to more people with the increase in more work-from-home job opportunities.
Cold Brew Coffee:
The Cold brew coffee brewing method is great for those of us who enjoy cold coffee as opposed to hot coffee, but also for the coffee drinkers who want the appeal of fresh coffee each morning without needing to allocate a daily prep time. Cold-brew coffee brews for up to 24 hours, however, this process only takes a few minutes to prep, and the remainder of the brew time is done on its own. So, you can pop a pitcher of cold brew coffee in your refrigerator and have a fantastic cup of cold brew coffee ready for every morning that week.
Fun fact, despite the name, the first patent for the design of the French press was in Italy by the Italian designer, Attilio Calimani, in 1929. Similar to how Georgia is known as the Peach State, despite being the third-largest producer of peaches, behind California and South Carolina. However, you haven't been completely lied to. Despite both French and Italians claiming ownership of the French press, today's method is considered a "Frenchified" version of the Italian design.
The French press brewing method takes roughly 10 minutes and requires coarsely ground coffee beans. Like the espresso method, but unlike the cold brew coffee method, the French press brewing method requires a specific brewing kettle.
Cleanliness of your Equipment for Brewing Coffee
When we think of brewing coffee, we know the coffee beans, water, and a multitude of other aspects play a pivotal role in creating the best coffee experience. However, do not overlook the cleaning process. Your coffee machine, no matter if it's for espresso, a cold brew coffee pitcher, or even a single-serve pod option, needs to be cleaned consistently.
How often should you clean your coffee machine? Your coffee maker should get a thorough cleaning every three to six months. If you are making coffee daily, definitely err towards the three-month mark. In the same way that purified water impacts the flavor profile of your coffee, so will any excess debris in your coffee machine. It is also essential to get to all the intricate parts of the coffee machine when cleaning, not just the ones you can see.
Coffee In-House Experience
Visiting a coffee shop in person is not always an option, and sometimes leaving the house is not on the agenda for the day. However, staying at home should not require you to sacrifice a high-quality, perfectly caffeinated morning ritual. So, whether you can't make it to your local coffee shop or you prefer the idea of creating a cozy cold brew coffee pitcher at home, you don’t have to give up quality or taste.
As with all good things in life, brewing the perfect cup of coffee will take some time and patience, but we guarantee it will be worth it. How you begin your morning will set the mood for the rest of your day. Set yourself up for success before you even leave your house. There is no dress code; come as you are. Grab your favorite coffee beans or pre-ground bag of coffee and your favorite mug, and brew up something amazing.