Wherever you are, sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee is sure to bring you either a sense of comfort or a jolt of energy during a slow rainy workday. But what if you’re stuck at home and you’re not quite sure how to get the perfect coffee shop brew using your home coffee maker? Maybe it’s about time for you to learn and enrich your coffee experience. Here, we’ll give you the best beginner tips on how to make coffee at home, as well as how to get that elusive balance of flavor and strength.
Choose Your Coffee Beans
Becoming your own barista starts with knowing which coffee beans you’ll brew. Here are some things to note when choosing the right coffee bean type for you.
Whole Beans vs. Ground Beans
The first thing to note in coffee brewing for beginners is choosing what kind of beans to have. There’s a whole debate out there as to which beans you should buy for your brews. Some prefer ground coffee beans, and some like it whole. Well, what’s the difference?
Whole bean coffee is simply the roasted beans in their complete form, whereas ground coffee is the entire beans ground into a fine powder ready for brewing. Their difference starts with the brewing experience.
Although you can brew whole bean coffee - although this is quite uncommon - most coffee lovers prefer to grind on their own to add to the coffee-making process. This added step allows them extra freedom on the flavor and caffeine extraction. While some coffee brewers swear by pre-ground beans, others insist that whole beans have a longer shelf life because the oxidation process is slowed. In another note, buying pre-ground coffee saves time if you’re always on the go.
Some brewers also say that freshly ground coffee beans offer better flavor notes than pre-ground coffee, but we’ll let you be the judge for that.
Coffee Bean Roast Levels
Roasting coffee beans brings out the richness and aroma of every brew. And knowing how to make coffee at home also starts with learning the coffee bean roast levels. Check out these levels, so you’ll see what you’ll like!
- Light brown
- Non-oily surface
- Origin flavors are more distinct
- Have the most caffeine and the most acidity
- Non-oily surface
- Balanced flavor
- Less acidity than light roast
Medium Dark Roast
- Dark color
- Some oil on the surface
- Fuller flavor
- Lesser acidity
- Shiny black
- Visible oil
- Pronounced bitterness
- Have the least acidity
Pick Your Brewing Essentials
Another important part of every beginner’s guide to coffee brewing is picking out your brewing essentials. Of course, you can’t brew better coffee without the usual brewing equipment. Here’s a list of equipment must-haves for your coffee brewing at home.
You can’t make coffee without hot water. Kettles are vital in the brewing process, and it's one of the more affordable coffee brewing equipment on the market. You can go with a simple stovetop or electric kettle. You can also take it up a notch with an electric gooseneck kettle where you can set your heat temperature so you don’t have to wait for the water to cool down.
If you choose to buy whole beans, you must have a coffee grinder. A coffee grinder is a device used to grind coffee beans to your preferred size. Grinders can be manual or electric. With manual grinders, you’ll be the master of your ground size because it will depend on how much you’ll crank the grinder. On the flip side, electric coffee grinders have options where you can choose the grind size. For coffee brewing beginners like you, we suggest an automatic coffee grinder so that you can quickly grind your coffee beans.
Coffee press machines fulfill press brewing methods. These include the French Press and AeroPress. This brewing equipment works by dousing the coffee grounds in hot water for a few minutes and then pressing the coffee plunger to filter out the grounds. If you’re up for this brewing method, here’s an AeroPress starter kit you can look into.
A pour-over set is another device used to execute the pour-over or drip coffee method. This brewing technique entails pouring hot water through coffee grounds in a filter. To learn how to make drip coffee at home, you’ll need the following materials: a coffee server, a dripper, and a filter. Fortunately, there are numerous pour-over beginner sets available today so that you can easily kickstart your pour-over home brewing.
The following at-home coffee-making essential you can also delve into is an espresso machine. When you’re an enthusiast of espresso drinks, it will be difficult for you to try brewing them at home without the proper equipment. Having a home espresso machine will be convenient for coffee connoisseurs who are avid drinkers of macchiatos, lattes, and cappuccinos.
Extra tip: Make sure you clean your brewing equipment after using them. Keeping your equipment clean will ensure a healthier and more flavorful brew!
Add Some Brewing Accessories
Now that you know which coffee beans to choose and the brewing equipment to pick, the next step in the guide to coffee brewing for beginners is to know the coffee accessories you can use. Some of these accessories are optional materials you can use, but they still give you an additional feeling for your overall coffee brewing experience.
Drippers and Coffee Filters
Drippers and coffee filters are important for the pour-over brewing method. The drippers are placed on top of the coffee servers where the filtered coffee will flow. Then, the filters are positioned in the drippers to seep precisely through the coffee grounds.
Coffee Mugs and Espresso Cups
How can you drink your coffee without a container? Mugs are specially designed for hot beverages like coffee, chocolate, and tea. This container is usually heat-resistant, so we won't burn or scald our hands with freshly brewed coffee.
Espresso cups, on the other hand, are smaller than typical coffee cups. They’re also called demitasse cups because they are half the size of regular cups. Espresso cups also hold about 2 to 3 fluid ounces of espresso shots.
For beginners, investing in a set of scales for brewing coffee is a good idea if you want to make precise measurements. Measuring the coffee grounds and the water to be heated with coffee scales will change the way you brew your coffee. Changing how you measure your coffee's ingredients can make it more flavorful, well-balanced, and more enjoyable to drink every morning.
Lastly, you need good storage for your coffee beans and coffee grounds. Coffee containers keep your beans and grounds fresh, making your brews savory. To properly store your beans and grounds, get an airtight storage container to keep them fresh and fragrant.
Unleash the Inner Barista In You
As most coffee lovers and baristas would say, coffee brewing is a thrilling experience. For beginner home brewers, it’s an even better one. They get to learn the ways baristas brew their favorite cafés. When it’s raining, they can just whip up something from their kitchen and even play with the ingredients to mix their own caffeine concoctions. Who knows, these tips might entice coffee lovers to start a coffee shop at home.
Now that you have a guide to start brewing at home, go ahead and begin unleashing the inner barista in you. Happy brewing!