Home coffee brewing is an amazingly fun and rewarding hobby and daily ritual. Experimenting with new brewing types will bring out different qualities in the coffee and provide a different taste.
Some of my newer Coffee Lovers completed a questionnaire to ask what are their biggest challenges with coffee making, and many lamented the fact they couldn’t seem to get the result they were after at home. Speaking to them further, I was able to uncover their mistakes and offer some advice which has made a difference to their coffee experience.
This has led me to start working on my first EBook, available soon for our Coffee Lover Tribe, with instructions and tips on how to make the best home-brew coffee using different brewing methods.
The e-book is still on its way (soon, soon, I promise, I promise!) but I couldn’t wait to share these 5 great tips that will get you immediately on the right track to better coffee at home. Please read and enjoy, and always feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
1.Use only fresh, whole, amazing beans
This is a big factor in creating a great coffee at home. Like all food, Coffee can oxidise and go stale. - there are many reasons for this, not being stored in a cool dry dark place being the number one. We have covered storage of coffee beans a little further below.
Make sure you have beans that are as close to their roasting date as possible. I recommend getting a fresh bag of beans every month or two, so order your beans in quantities to work towards this time frame. Sure, you can buy a bag of budget 5 kilos for $10 from the supermarket but how long have those beans been on the shelf and what will they taste like??? Honestly, because you love coffee as much as I do, get some awesome fresh beans.
Choose Organic wherever possible - my previous blog explains this in greater detail, and choose Fairtrade growers also. You can make a difference to your health, the environment, and other communities through choosing better tasting high-quality coffee beans.
Buy your beans whole, not ground and make sure you invest in a quality grinder. You need to grind the beans right before you use them to get the absolute best result. More about grinding in my EBook, but consider the basic idea of comparing a whole bean, having a relatively low surface area, compared to ground coffee particles, with a much larger surface area. Oxidisation and deterioration affect the ground beans quicker than the whole beans because there is more air to coffee space going on. And nothing smells better than freshly ground coffee right?
2.Choose a Good Roaster
It is worth buying beans for a well reputed or recognised coffee roaster. If your coffee is tasting bitter, there's a chance your beans weren't roasted properly and it’s not your coffee making skills! Roasting is how we get all the delicious aromatic coffee flavours that we love from the ‘raw’ green beans. Without roasting, we wouldn't have coffee. Check for industry awards or even try the coffee before you buy it if you can.
We love our beautiful air roaster which is a gentle way to roast and gives a smooth consistent roast flavour. We also hand select and blend every batch manually. Visitors to the Coffee Shed often are surprised at the number of beautiful girls wandering in and out for all corners of the space – these are my Roasting Angels, and they oversee every batch when I can’t. If you can’t get yourself a Roasting Angel, try my coffee and know that it was lovingly Roasted In The Zone.
Must. Keep. Everything. Clean.
A dirty plunger, coffee maker or espresso machine can definitely change the taste of what you are drinking. Make sure your equipment is clean - especially brush out used coffee grounds in your port -a-filler if you are using an espresso machine after each coffee you make. Dirty coffee appliances can cause the coffee to be bitter and off tasting.
After every use, clean whatever tool you are using according to manufactures instructions. This allows you to go easy on the chemicals (or use none at all) and will increase not only the lifespan of your equipment but will ensure a cleaner, purer final taste. Use the best water to clean your gear as well as make your coffee (more on this next) and reap the rewards.
Water is a real key to your coffee pleasure, as it makes up the major part of the drink. It needs to be filtered and neutral in pH so the flavours of the Coffee come through.
The water you use can transform the character of a coffee. It can accentuate acidity or neutralise it entirely, and change the way coffee extracts. Hard water and soft water have different effects on the process, as does temperature.
We are fortunate that clean drinking water is a readily available resource in most Western countries. What it boils down to is if you can drink it, you can brew with it.
Because coffee beans contain oils that can go rancid (like any good food oil can), it is important to treat them right so this doesn't happen. Light, moisture, air and heat are all the enemies of fresh beans. Store your beans in a dark, cool, dry place. Preferably not in the refrigerator or freezer as this can cause condensation in the bags (and moisture is the enemy!). Sealed coffee bags or opaque airtight containers in your pantry should be just fine. Look for a one-way valve in commercial packaging to release the carbon dioxide that is naturally expressed as the beans age.
Try to keep beans at a consistent 25 degrees and sealed from air and you will keep them fresher longer.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and they help you in your home brewing adventures. If you have not already signed up to our newsletter, make sure you do it here so you will be one of the first to receive our Home Brewing Guide for free.