Food & Recipes

5 Expert Coffee-Making Tips to Help You Become Your Own Barista

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With many of us spending more time at home than ever before, our humble abodes have become much more than just a place of shelter and comfort. Our homes are now functioning as offices, school classrooms, gyms, restaurants, and cafes, due to lockdowns and restrictions surrounding COVID-19. 

If you’ve been forced to let go of your morning visit to your favorite café, or you’re working from home now and want quality coffee on demand, you may be looking for ways to equip and teach yourself to make barista-quality coffee from the comfort of your home.

While you won’t become the best barista overnight, these expert tips and list of essentials will have you brewing the perfect espresso, latte, or cappuccino in no time at all.

Invest in the right coffee machine.

Investing in a good coffee machine will make a major difference to the taste of your coffee but, with so many different makes, models, and designs on the market these days, it’s hard to know which machine is right for you.

Reassuringly, there are coffee machines for all tastes, lifestyles, and budgets, from easy-to-use, low-cost pod machines to the full bells-and-whistles automatic espresso experience.

But before you rush out and buy the biggest and best machine — or the most affordable — on the market, it’s a good idea to think about the type of machine that will suit your needs and space. George Lakatos, Managing Director of JURA Australia, shares his top tips for those considering purchasing a machine in 2020:

  • The number of people who drink coffee: How many people are coffee drinkers in the household.
  • The number of coffees consumed per day: Based on the number of coffee drinkers, calculate how many they consume each day, make sure you include a buffer for visitors.
  • What space is available: An ideal location is next to a water supply, sink, bin, and fridge. Measure the space available to ensure the machine fits comfortably with easy access.
  • Sustainability: Beans or pods? Sustainability is at the core of many homes these days. If it’s like this in your home, choose a machine that offers a bean only option, making them better for the environment. You can also use reusable travel cups to take this further and reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

Pods vs Beans

While pod machines are easy-to-use, compact, and affordable, when it comes to taste, nothing compares to espresso coffee made from freshly-ground beans. 

Beans

While a good machine is the most important element in your coffee station set-up, quality coffee — whether than be beans, ground coffee, or pods — should be next on your list. Again, finding the perfect brew comes down to personal taste and how you drink your coffee. Whether you choose to buy a bag of beans from your favorite café or sign up to a coffee bean subscription service where you’re sent new beans to try each week or month, rest assured that there’s no shortage of quality coffee in the U.S.

Whether you buy beans, ground coffee, or pods, be sure to keep your coffee in an air-tight container and away from direct heat or sunlight to preserve freshness and taste.

Making Coffee

You’ve got your machine and your beans, now it’s time to put your barista skills to the test. So what does it take to make a great cup of coffee?

“Making a perfect coffee is all about managing the parameters of grind, dose, and temperature,” says De’Longhi Product Trainer, Cheryl Bosworth. “It’s also important to make sure your filter basket is clean and your coffee beans aren’t stale. Freshly roasted beans are a must — if you are using beans that have been open too long or are months and months after the roasting date, you just aren’t going to get the best intense flavors.”

“These parameters should suit the coffee you are using but the only true way to really know if you have the best coffee is to taste and experiment. Our taste is very personal so it’s always important to look at the cream, time the pour, smell for a pleasant aroma, and then taste. If it tastes good to you then you know you are on the right track.”

Feel like you’re doing all the right things but aren’t happy with the taste of the coffee or the consistency of the milk?

“If you don’t like the taste think why and try and relate that to one of the parameters. For example, if it’s weak and watery this usually relates to a coffee that is pouring too fast and you may need to adjust the grind finer or add more coffee grounds to the dose,” advises Cheryl.

Your Coffee Station

Creating a designated space to make coffee, stocked with all the essentials, will help to create a café vibe at home. When it comes to setting up your coffee station, you want the space to be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Open shelving is the perfect way to check both of these boxes.

“Keep the essentials within easy reach and store coffee accessories in plain sight,” says Vanessa Colyer Tay, Head of Styling at Temple & Webster.

“Showing off ceramic canisters and stacking earthenware mugs also helps to counteract the smoothness of stainless steel coffee machine finishes with texture and warmth.”

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.

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