How to Make the Perfect Coffee at Home
The idea of making our own tasty and aromatic coffees from the comfort of home is certainly appealing: pouring the perfect espresso, getting the balance of coffee and milk just right, enjoying the scents of freshly ground and brewed beans; all wonderful prospects to look forward to and made even more tempting when we consider the money saved when compared to expensive High Street coffee shops.
However, we might also believe that making coffee from home is a time-consuming, complex or messy process, so it’s understandable to instead choose the local coffee shop rather than preparing your own drink at home.
But making your own delicious coffees from scratch is far from difficult and can be learned in no time! With just a little practice, quality coffee beans and the right equipment, you’ll soon be making perfect, delicious coffees from your kitchen with little fuss.Take a look at our handy guide for preparing your own coffee drinks from scratch.
Choosing the Right Coffee
The first step in creating your own coffees is, of course, selecting your chosen coffee bean. At Coffee-Direct.co.uk , you will find a selection of more than 100 freshly roasted coffees for you to enjoy.
Using a Coffee Grinder
While there are a number of methods that can be used to prepare coffee, each involving a different piece of equipment, one consistent tool that you should definitely look to invest in is a quality coffee bean grinder.
There are several reasons why a grinder is a key piece of equipment to have at home: the most intense flavours and aromas come from freshly ground beans; a grinder allows you to prepare small batches of ground coffee, helping to maintain the freshness of your whole beans; different preparation methods require a different coarseness, so a grinder will allow you to prepare ground coffee to a very exacting standard, leading to greater flavours in your finished drink.
The recommended coarseness of a grind generally varies between the most popular preparation methods:
- Cafetiere and percolator – coarse grind
- Filtered – coarse to medium coarse grind
- Espresso – fine grind
- Turkish – very fine grind.
If you are aiming to prepare your coffees using one of the above methods, there is a good chance you will also be looking to add some steamed or frothed milk to your drink, whether for a latte, cappuccino, macchiato or a flat white.
Steaming milk does require a bit of practice, but it’s a great skill to have once you have got your technique down, and it can really take your coffee creations to the next level. When steaming milk, you will be aiming to both heat the milk and whip in air to create small bubbles or ‘microfoam’.
- Use a clean stainless steel jug to steam your fresh milk.
- Place the steaming arm into the milk, submerging only the tip.
- To put air into the milk, open up the steamer valve to full and lower the jug until the arm tip has almost been removed. This allows air to be gently introduced to the milk without large bubbles forming and is the technique used to create foam.
- As the milk begins to thicken and you have created your foam, raise the jug so that the arm tip is fully submerged once more in order to heat the milk (during this heating process, try to position the arm tip and slightly angle the jug so that the milk begins to spin).
- Temperature is important and you won’t want your milk to boil. Therefore, measure the temperature of the heating milk by placing a hand on the bottom of the jug. Continue to heat the milk until the bottom of the jug becomes uncomfortable to handle.
- At this point, close the steamer valve and clean the arm. You now have your finished milk, which should be smooth and soft. If your milk has some larger bubbles inside, simply let the milk sit for a few seconds before gently tapping the jug onto a hard surface.
Preparing Your Chosen Coffee
Depending on your preferred coffee, there will be different approaches to how your drink is prepared.
Aim for a ratio of around 1/3 espresso, 1/3 hot milk, 1/3 foam. To allow enough room in the jug to hold both the hot milk and foam, only add enough milk to fill about 1/4 of the jug.
To make the foam, place the steaming arm just under the surface of the milk and begin to steam, angling the jug at a 45-degree angle. This should introduce enough air to create a good foam. Keep the arm submerged under the surface until the jug begins to become too hot to touch, at which point move the steam arm to the base of the jug for a few seconds, resulting in an equal measure of hot milk and foam. Into your cup, add your espresso and hot milk, then carefully add the foam.
Use the same amount of coffee as in a cappuccino but add mostly hot milk and only a small amount of foam. As little foam is needed, you can place the steaming arm straight to the bottom of the jug to focus on creating the hot milk. Keep the arm submerged until the jug begins to become too hot to touch, then raise it to the surface for a few seconds to develop a small amount of foam. Into your cup, add your espresso and hot milk almost to the top, followed by a touch of foam.
Taking its name from the idea of ‘marking’ or ‘staining’ an espresso with milk foam, the macchiato was created to identify an espresso that contains a small drop of milk; as this milk will disappear under the crema, the foam was originally used to identify the espresso with added milk. Since its creation, the macchiato has slightly changed into an espresso topped with foam milk.
Steam your milk using the same method as a cappuccino, keeping the steaming arm close to the surface to introduce enough air to create the foam. Then simply add your espresso to your cup and top with the foam.
Originating in Australia, the flat white has since spread across Europe and North America to become a popular favourite. Essentially a small, strong latte, flat whites can sometimes be prepared with double espresso shots and are mostly milk and coffee, with only a little, if any, foam.
The Americano is very simple to prepare: pour clean, fresh hot water into a cup and add a single or double espresso on top (by adding the espresso to the hot water, you will retain some of the crema).