Making a great cup of coffee is about more than just throwing some grounds in a machine and pressing “brew.” If you’re interested in putting on your barista apron and turning your kitchen into a home version of your local coffee-your-way café, you may want to explore the techniques and tools you’ll need.
After all, there’s more to coffee than just “black, extra hot.”
There are many different types of coffee drinks—and with the beverage’s continuing popularity, something new is always on the horizon. With a little ingenuity maybe you can add your own concoction to the ever-increasing menu of specialty coffees. Maybe a Giganti Peppermint Oreo Mocha with five extra shots? That’ll get you moving.
One way to improve the quality of your homebrewed cuppa joe is to grind your own beans. The benefits are many, but the process does come with a warning: You may never be able to enjoy pre-ground coffee again.
By waiting to grind your beans until you are about to brew a pot of coffee, you get a fresher, richer taste. And if daily grinding is too much of a daily grind (sorry), even keeping a few days’ supply on hand will score you a fuller-flavored cup than you would have even if you bought an expensive specialty brand of ground coffee. That freshness—and don’t discount the benefit of the aroma of freshly ground beans—is considered the biggest advantage to grinding your own beans.
In these days of buying local in an effort to reduce the steps between production and consumption (and therefore eat fresher food), grinding your own coffee is another small way to take control of your food. And who doesn’t like to “get their hands dirty” a little, rather than relying totally on others? That’s why you like to cook, right? It increases the level of satisfaction with the final product when you involve yourself in the process.
After you’ve started grinding your own coffee, you may want to step things up a bit more in your home coffee shop makeover. There is a range of coffee drinks to learn to make: espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and beyond. In order to make those at home, you’ll need some special equipment:
However, if you aren’t looking to go for the full coffee-shop setup, in addition to a grinder you may want to consider an automated milk frother. These are small, simple machines that you can easily hide away in your cabinet until ready for use.
Adding frothed milk to your coffee also gives you more flavor options—it’s easy, for instance, to add flavored syrups to your drinks. The balance that can be created by adding smoothly frothed milk to the more acidic flavor of coffee makes for a complementary combination.
While you grind and froth, be sure to take care of the simple maintenance things that, over time, make a huge difference in the quality of your coffee. Keeping your coffee filter fresh and clean, for instance, can mean the difference between getting the most out of your beans and enduring a subpar, overly-bitter, pick-me-up. Fortunately, simply stocking up on a bunch of water filters, charcoal filters (for the machines that take those), or basket filters for larger machines should have you prepared for whatever kind of coffee creation you desire.
Making a great cup of coffee is a labor of love—both a beverage and a calling. But whether it’s your favorite part of the day or just something you use to make it from the shower to the office in the morning, a few simple steps and a little extra care can turn your coffee break into a coffee oasis.
Categories: Tips & Advice