This is a collaborative post.
Are you in coffee purgatory?
If so, it’s time to get out of it. Being stuck in a rut when it comes to your coffee isn’t a great experience. You want it to taste good, but for whatever reason, you can’t quite make your tastebuds sing.
Fortunately, this post is here to help. We take a look at all the things you can do to make your next cup of coffee fantastic. Here’s everything you need to know.
12 Tips To Make Your Next Cup of Coffee Something Special
1. Only Use Fresh Beans
When it comes to making the perfect cup of coffee, fresh is best. Beans have a significantly better flavour when roasted fresh. Only buy whole beans and then grind them just before you brew your coffee. Don’t use pre-ground products unless you lack a grinder at home – if you are a coffee lover then it could be worth investing in one!
2. Buy The Best Coffee Beans
Related to this, you should also buy the best coffee beans. Some beans are premium, while others are dregs (and often used for non-coffee purposes).
The best beans have a deep, rich, and slightly bitter flavour. These products also emit a beautiful aroma when mixed with hot water, signalling high quality.
Lower-quality beans tend to lack this richness and depth. Brews taste bland or sterile, lacking any real flavour. You might also detect some non-coffee flavours, too.
3. Make The Grind Consistent
Another pro tip is to grind consistently. Changing the size of the grinds affects the total surface area available to interact with water and the degree of oil release.
Most professionals use a burr grinder. This type of grinder allows you to get the particle size just right. You can also get adjustable grinders that enable you to change the ground size, depending on the brewing method.
Baristas define coffee ground size by average particle size. Coarse grounds are approximately 1 mm and are used most commonly in percolators and French presses. Medium-sized grounds are 0.75 mm in diameter and suitable for drip coffee makers and pour-over methods. Medium-fine grounds have a particle size of 0.5 mm and are suitable for stovetop espresso pots, Aeropress, and siphon brewers. Finally, 0.3 mm fine grounds are only suitable for espresso. Turkish coffee (for those who are interested in making it) needs a ground particle size of 0.1 mm or less.
4. Ensure Proper Water Quality
You should also ensure proper water quality when brewing coffee to prevent unwanted flavours from entering the drink (or damage to your coffee-making apparatus). If the water quality in your area isn’t as high as you would like, then consider buying a water filter or getting a coffee machine that pre-filters water before pushing it through the grounds.
Water temperature should be between 90°C and 96°C for the perfect extraction level. Hotter than that and you risk burning the coffee and getting a bitter taste. Lower than that, and the water won’t extract the coffee flavour properly.
5. Choose The Right Coffee-To-Water Ratio
Getting the coffee-to-water ratio wrong can make your coffee taste strange. Most drinks require one to two tablespoons of coffee per six ounces of water. However, you’ll want to experiment until you find a formulation that works for you.
Espressos have the least amount of water and a large quantity of coffee grounds. The idea is to create a strong, bitter shot to get you going in the morning. Americanos have much more water, and the purpose is to have a coffee-flavoured warm drink, mostly to keep warm in the winter.
6. Pick A Brewing Method That You Like
Another tip is to choose the brewing method you like most. While professional baristas swear by high-pressure machine-based systems, you might prefer another approach.
For example, a lot of people like the French Press. It’s simple and fills your entire home with a beautiful aroma. Another even simpler method is pour-over coffee, where you manually drip brew the drink, controlling variables, like the thickness of the filter paper and the number of grounds used.
You can also try AeroPress coffee. This piston-style brewer lets you push hot water through coffee grounds and a paper filter into a cup. The positive is that this method provides you with a pressure-based extraction method that releases the full flavour of the bean. However, you can only make one cup of coffee at a time.
Pay attention to the subtle differences between the drinks each method produces. Press-based methods are best for extracting oils, while passive approaches are superior for drawing other coffee flavours into the drink.
7. Use Frothy Milk
Frothy milk is another essential ingredient for those who love to make more elaborate coffee-based drinks. Using the best milk frother you can find helps you make frothy, delicious drinks that feel substantial and creamy. You can pour espressos into regular warmed milk, but it can feel a little flat.
Of course, cow’s milk isn’t the only type of milk that will froth, so if you’re vegan or dairy-free then you’re covered. Manufacturers now add frothing agents to soy, oat, and rice milk to make them frothier, too. Look for special packs, designed for baristas.
8. Use A Scale
You’ll also want to use a scale when making your coffee. Getting the weights and ratios right is essential for creating delicious drinks just as good as what they make in the cafe.
Don’t use a traditional weighing scale with a pivot point in the middle. This won’t give you an accurate measurement. Instead, use an electronic scale, specifically designed for measuring coffee grounds.
You should also use a scale for the water (unless you have a particularly accurate measuring jug). Once you start using a weighing scale, it becomes significantly easier to follow detailed online instructions.
9. Adjust The Brewing Time To Your Preferences
While it is critical to get the water temperature right, brewing times are a matter of personal preference, at least within reasonable bounds. Longer brewing will lead to a deeper, richer flavour and more caffeine, while a shorter brewing time will lead to a weaker drink with fewer oils.
You may find that you don’t like standard brewing times, and you want to try something else. If that’s the case, then feel free to experiment until you find something you like.
10. Take Your Time
This next tip doesn’t have anything to do with preparing your drink, but rather how you go about actually enjoying it. When drinking your cup of coffee, take your time. Don’t knock it all back in one go before you rush out the door.
The best way to enjoy coffee is with good conversation. Once you’ve made your drink, take some time to appreciate the flavours and aromas that come out of it. Appreciate the moment and everything it means.
11. Pair It With Snacks
Pairing coffee with snacks is another great way to enhance the experience and enjoy it even more. Coffee goes well with chocolate, pastries, and nuts. It is particularly good with pistachios. That’s because the latter contains melatonin in a natural form, acting as a counter to the caffeine in coffee. Traditional coffee houses have been serving coffee with pistachios for many years, and now we finally know why.
12. Learn And Share Your Skills
Finally, once you’ve learned all the skills to make a perfect cup of coffee, don’t be afraid to share them with others. Your knowledge could help them make the perfect brew and spark new friendships.
Remember, there are a lot of people out there who would prefer to make their coffee with a machine or press at home instead of paying high prices in coffee shops. It’s your job to show them how easy creating a delicious cup of coffee can be.
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