6 tips to properly brew a stellar cup of joe, right at home
It’s easy to spend a small fortune at the local coffee shop over the course of the year. And, if you’re as pumped about coffee as we are, spending a little more on something you love isn’t a bad thing. But, it is worth it to know how to make your own great cup of coffee, to help you save, and to give a brew your barista would envy.
Home Brewing Saves You Big Bucks.
According to Business Insider, making coffee at home can save you between $300 – $1200 per year, if you’re spending $5 – $25 per week at the coffee shop. And, that means more money to spend on quality coffee beans throughout the year, say, on Kona Bold Extra Fancy – Medium Roast.
You might think that you’ll sacrifice quality if you decide to start making your daily brew at home. After all, not everyone is a professional barista or coffee connoisseur – but following a few easy steps will give you a cup of coffee so good you will never find yourself craving the corner coffee shop concoction again.
1. Buy freshly roasted coffee beans
To ensure maximum flavor, buy freshly roasted beans. It’s worth considering switching to an independent coffee roaster, or coffee farm. Independent coffee roasters tend to roast in small batches, and you can count on your beans being fresh!
2. Buy whole beans
Whole beans are better than pre-ground beans because they retain more of their oils, which helps the bean to last longer, and packs in more flavor. Coffee bean oils begin to evaporate as soon as they’re ground up, which leeches out the flavor.
Even with whole beans, make sure to store your coffee in an airtight package. Air robs the bean’s moisture level and dries it out, robbing it of flavor. Though you may have heard it’s a good idea, don’t refrigerate beans and only freeze them if you won’t use them for weeks. Instead, store your coffee in a cool, dark place (e.g. a kitchen cupboard). This will keep your coffee fresh as long as possible.
3. Grind with a burr grinder
Burr grinders mill your coffee beans evenly, making the crush size consistent, which helps to coax out a more flavorful brew no matter your method. Blade grinders don’t crush beans unevenly, giving you less than ideal grounds no matter your method. And because those coffee bean oils begin to evaporate once ground, it’s best to grind your beans just before you intend to brew with them.
4. Brew with filtered water
Coffee is 99% water, meaning the water you brew with is key in allowing your coffee to really shine through. Filtering your water is a good option because it sifts out any impurities that may eclipse the flavor of the coffee grounds you so carefully prepared. Purified and distilled water aren’t the best options because they remove too many of the natural minerals found in water, leaving it more acidic, which in turn makes your coffee taste more acidic.
When you are ready to move from “serious about coffee” to “kinda fanatical about coffee”, you can even “create” the perfect water for coffee by starting with distilled water and then adding the optimal mineral mix for coffee. Products like Third Wave Water (available from Heavenly Hawaiian) add the perfect levels of Calcium and Magnesium to the water destined for your coffee cup.
5. Dial in the ideal brewing temperature
The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is around 200 degrees F. Water boils at 212 degrees F but brewing at that temperature can harm your coffee. To avoid scalding your beans, let boiling water cool off for thirty to sixty seconds before pouring it over your coffee. This will cool it closer to the optimal temperature, helping to extract the right amount of flavor from those coffee grounds.
6. Measure the right proportions
Use too few coffee grounds, and it will over-extract the bitterness of the coffee leaving you with a cup that looks like weak tea and taste like bitter, hot water. Use too many grounds, and under-extraction will result, ruining the flavour profile of your favourite coffee. This usually results in a coffee that is sour, lacking sweetness, with a disappointingly quick finish.
If your coffee is good, you don’t need much coffee.
- Use around 1 tbsp of coffee grounds per 6 oz cup of hot water for a perfectly extracted cup of coffee.
- Use about 10 heaping tbsp for a 12 cup pot of coffee
Be Your Own Barista
Now that you know how to create the perfect cup of coffee, right at home, it’s time to experiment with the equipment you use. Some people prefer the pour-over method of coffee making, while others like the classic French Press, or even the newer, Aeropress method. Pour-overs may be the most straightforward method for brewing and result in an excellent cup. If you are just starting this journey, pour-overs are a great starting point. Whatever method you choose, you’ll make a great cuppa everytime, as long as you stick to the above guidelines.
Be your own barista, and take pride in each cup of coffee you make for yourself and your guests!
At Heavenly Hawaiian, we roast in small batches, ensuring quality and freshness in every bag. Check out some of Heavenly Hawaiian’s roasts to see why we have again been named one of the ten finest coffees in Hawaii (Hawaii Coffee Association 2018)!