There’s something luxurious about sipping on a perfect cup of coffee – especially when you’ve made it yourself. You don’t need to be a barista to do it – simply follow these tips, and you’ll be able to make cafe-style coffee at home.
One of the best ways to ensure that your coffee stays fresh and delicious is by storing it properly. Ideally, you should buy whole coffee beans. This is because ground coffee starts to lose its freshness within a couple of hours, and can turn stale in just a few days. To really get cafe-style coffee at home, you should keep your whole beans in an airtight container and grind them immediately before use.
However, that’s not always possible, so here are our tips for keeping ground coffee as fresh as possible:
- Keep it in a dark, airtight container. According to Hand Ground, reducing the time your coffee is exposed to oxygen is crucial for keeping it in good condition. This is because the coffee will oxidise when exposed to the air, which in turn will make your coffee lose its lovely aroma and flavour.
- Avoid steam and moisture. Like oxygen, humidity can also affect the flavour of your grounds.
- Do not keep it in the fridge! It is a common myth that this will help preserve your coffee, but it will actually do the opposite. Coffee will absorb moisture and any aromas in your fridge – and nobody wants a cup of garlic coffee.
The base ingredient for many coffee drinks – including flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos – is the espresso. Enjoyed across the world, this is a method of brewing that creates a small, extremely concentrated cup of coffee. Espresso machines do this by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee at enormous pressure. The fine coffee grinds slow the hot water, which increases the pressure necessary to push the water through the filter.
This process sounds complicated, but as long as you have very fine coffee grounds and an Aeropress, you can make an equivalent shot of coffee that will work extremely well in any coffee drink.
Here’s how to do it:
- 28g of finely ground coffee
- 100ml of filtered water
- Brew time 1min
- Extraction 30s
- Rinse your filter with hot water. This will get rid of papery flavour and will pre-heat your brewing gear. Discard the water before brewing.
- Put your coffee into the Aeropress. Pour all the water straight in and give it a good stir to make sure all coffee grounds are soaked. Put the cap on and wait for 1min. Your brewing time starts as soon as water hits the coffee grounds.
- After 1min flip your AeroPress into your container/cup and press it down hard for 30 sec until it is empty. The harder the pressure, the better your coffee shot will be.
- Transfer your espresso into your coffee cup and enjoy!
Much like making shots of espresso, steaming milk for a latte or flat white sounds complicated, but in practice it’s pretty easy. You just need to know what type you’re aiming for – do you want a mound of fluffy foam, or silky microbubbles?
You can create both foam and microbubbles using a milk frother. There are lots of different options which range from inexpensive frothing wands to very fancy models that you can control remotely using your phone. How much you want to spend really is up to you, but a machine with a steam wand will give the best results. While simple frothers will just add air, a steam wand will also heat and move the milk. This reduces the chance of making a thick head of foam, which is nice to drink but won’t make a proper latte.
If you’re looking for a simple froth, you can also use a French press. Measure your heated milk (which should be around 65C) into your French press. Make sure the milk level is higher than the steel filter at its lowest point. Pump the plunger up and down quickly to create air bubbles in the heated milk.
This is where making cafe-style coffee at home gets tricky. You’ll need to have mastered the art of steaming milk, and even then, it takes a lot of practice to make the latte art look good. A basic design can be created by pouring an espresso into the bottom of a round cup, and then adding a small amount of steamed milk. Swirl the espresso and milk together. Pour more of your milk slowly and evenly from fairly high, and then move the milk closer to the cup as you finish.
Here’s a video of our founder James creating some gorgeous latte art:
As you can see, this is a pretty difficult technique to master. Here are some tips that might help you create that perfect pour:
- Pay attention to the temperature of your milk. You’ll want it to be between 55 – 62C. While you can go as low as 50C, make sure to never go above 70C. This will boil the milk and destroy any microbubbles.
- Pour into the centre of the espresso. You’ll want to have as large a canvas as possible, and hitting the sides of the cup will immediately destroy any design.
- Plan ahead! What design do you want to create? We recommend starting off with a simple heart, and then moving onto a leaf or rosetta pattern.
- If everything goes wrong, that’s okay! If you’ve followed our advice, you’ll still have a great-tasting coffee. And if the design really matters, use a stencil and add a light dusting of chocolate powder.
There you have it – by using these tips and some good quality coffee, you’ll easily be able to create cafe-style coffee at home.
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