How to make coffee-shop-quality coffee at home.
New to the home-brewing game?
So you’ve realised you like good coffee.
You can’t drink the stuff you used to think you liked.
You only accept tea when you’re offered a drink at a friends house.
You role your eyes at Nespresso evangelists.
There’s only one girl rocking some dungarees, or man with a well-groomed beard in your entire city that you buy your morning coffee from.
I get it. I also get that you’ve probably bought a bag of coffee beans from nose ring girl or nice beard man to create this cup of joy at home. But it’s not as good. And before you spend your pennies on beard oil and piercings, maybe I can give help you out with some of the cost effective equipment you need to be heading in the right direction of coffee excellence at home.
1. Brewing method
There are a lot of options here at a lot of different prices. My first piece of advice, unless it is a passion deep in your heart, is to avoid making espresso at home. It’s messy, wasteful, really expensive and difficult. I enjoy an espresso, but for £1.60, beard man kills it. So here we’re talking filter coffee brewers. And a great place to start - and where a lot of coffee professionals remain - is with the humble and very affordable Hario V60. If you want to create the medium to light bodied coffees with excellent flavour clarity similar to the pour overs in your local coffee shop, pick up a V60 and some filter papers. A french press has it’s place but you’ll find your coffee has a lot more body and a lot less flavour clarity. Your favourite barista uses a V60 and so should you.
Here lies your biggest investment - probably around £100 to get near the results of your coffee guy. If you’re not ready for this investment, some of the roasters on Postroast do offer grinding the coffee for your brewing method. But when you are ready, grinders like the Wilfa Svart are a few steps in the right direction to making your coffee sing. Grinding your beans moments before you brew it means the flavour and aromatics are preserved in the bean for as long as possible. Your barista friend with the sleeve of tattoos will tell you that you should brew coffee within 15 minutes of grinding it. I agree.
You just need these. Have you ever tried to make a cake without weighing your ingredients? It was horrible. You threw it away because Monty rejected it too. The girl with the beanie spent 3 days on a course, presumably in London, learning about coffee extraction and how to manipulate flavour by using half a gram less coffee. You’ll soon realise it’s important and fortunately, doesn’t have to be expensive. Baristas will use ones that go to a tenth of a gram, but at the start some £10 digital salters from wherever the heck you like will do you just fine.
Timing your brew is useful. Good news - it’s free and on your phone.
You’ve got one, of course you have. But what you have admired is the copper one with brass and walnut details that dungaree girl uses. She uses this because it gives her a lot of control. The water comes our constantly and predictably, she knows how much turbulence she wants in her (also copper) V60 which she just can’t achieve with her £15 Kenwood. Not completely essential at the start but as you learn more about coffee and want to really refine your brews, they’re very much worth it. Whilst rolled up jean man’s costs £200, you can pick up one for only £35. Hario Buono’s are a good starting point. They look great, are excellent quality and will last you years and years. Not to mention what it will do for your insta stories.
You thought you used the same stuff as your hipster hero’s. I’m sorry to tell you that they spent thousands on a filtration system or in some cases, they even mineralise their water with extra magnesium and calcium to make it perfect for extracting coffee flavours. You shouldn’t do this, it’s a step too far. It’s worth noting that this is a regional problem. If you live in the north, you may be blessed with pretty decent water straight out the tap but if you find yourself in the south east, and particularly in London, you’re screwed. A great place to start is with a standard Brita Water jug. These are all about softening water so it doesn’t taste chalky and fill your kettle with limescale. The good news is, its the carbonate hardness that these are targeting that is also what makes your coffee taste disappointing. Pick one up when you buy your budget scales and you’ll be getting that bit closer to the cup you get in you favourite coffee spot.
Any questions, speak to your friendly baristas. They’d love to impart their knowledge and help you out. And for more info on getting the best out of you coffee at home, check out future blogs at Postroast. ’Til next time.