The sights, smells and sounds of a great coffee being made for you by a professional barista are hard to beat.
We are looking forward to the doors of our favourite coffee shops opening once again, and in the meantime our baristas would like to help you to make a perfect cup of coffee at home!
Here are some top tips to help you improve your coffee brewing techniques...
Fresh coffee makes better coffee
Good quality, fresh coffee is hard to beat and the smell and colour is usually a good indicator of freshness. Coffee will go stale if left unused too long and so the first step in upping your coffee game is to start with a good quality, fresh product.
Grind, or buy ground: that’s a good question!
How much space do you have in your kitchen for coffee making equipment? For many people, it’s a question of practicality. We have reviewed various home coffee brewing options in our what is the best way to brew coffee at home blog, but fundamentally, to make a great cup of coffee, the coffee product you use must be stored correctly. Coffee beans will keep longer than ground coffee - as a rule - and grinding beans as and when you need them ensures your coffee taste is a fresh as possible. Coffee reacts with light, heat, and moisture, all of which speed up the degrading process. So, to keep your coffee as fresh as possible, store it in an airtight, opaque container in a cool, dark place once you have opened the pack.
Improve your coffee knowledge
One of the main attributes of being a successful barista is having a good understanding of the product. Country of origin, altitude, bean variety and processing, amongst other environmental factors, all collectively contribute to the flavour of a particular coffee product. You can find out more via our bean-to-cup coffee journey page, including a tasting notes wheel designed to help you identify coffee flavours. A great way to learn more about the flavours of coffee, is to try two different coffees side by side. Brew both in the same way and taste one at a time. This will help you identify different characteristics of each brew, which is hard to do with a single cup.
Should I use filtered water to make coffee?
We are very fortunate in the UK to have access to high quality drinking water. Filtering in a hard water area can improve the taste of your cup of coffee as filtering does remove some chlorine and trace mineral deposits, the amounts of which vary depending on the hardness of the water in your local area. However, the main thing to remember when brewing your favourite coffee at home is that using water at boiling point can impair the flavour of your coffee by over extracting it and turning it bitter. To avoid this, use water that’s around 30 seconds off the boil.
How much coffee to use per cup?
Again, this comes down to preference and perhaps how large your cup is. There are multiple charts and online sources available, which outline various coffee to water ratio rules, including the golden ratio (60g coffee per litre of water). One of the main points is consistency. If you measure out your coffee accurately on a set of gram scales, then it allows you to replicate a specific taste. Most good quality coffee machines and coffee products will give you guidance on the volume of product to use and you can fine tune it to suit your tastes from there.
When it comes to making a particular type of coffee, how much milk to use and whether it should be textured or foamed, our coffee cross section will also help you make the perfect cup.
Consistency is key
Identifying your perfect blend is usually done through trial and error. Everyone has a personal preference when it comes to their favourite brew, and to ensure you can make this over and over again, the one thing to ensure is consistency. Weighing out your coffee, ensuring freshness, using the same water and all the measures we talk about go into making the perfect cup.
Get a barista qualification
Did you know that there is a City and Guilds barista qualification? At Lincoln & York we don’t just source, roast, blend and pack the best coffee, we also train the best baristas in the business to make sure you always experience the very best coffee taste.
To find out more about the City & Guilds Level 2 Barista Skills course, click here.