How Do I Make The Perfect Cup of Coffee at Home?
Everyone knows it by now. It’s become a cliche in today’s culture. Stop buying $5+ coffees at Starbucks and all of a sudden you have an extra $150 in your bank account every month.
So you go out and make coffee at home, use your favorite creamer, or even branch out and try some awesome sounding recipes, but it’s never the same. Nothing you make at home is as good as that Starbucks Mocha.
So you put all your coffee gear back on the top shelf and go back to your morning routine of waiting 15 minutes in the drive-through.
What if I told you there are a few simple tweaks you can make to your morning coffee routine that will get you a cup of coffee that’s as good as that Triple Caramel Cappuccino you love so much at Starbucks?
I’m a barista at Bridge Coffee Co. in Yuba City, CA. We are very proud of the quality product we produce every single time. I want to share a few things I do at home to make coffee that’s every bit as good as what I make in the shop.
**This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you purchase from my links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Start With Really Good Coffee Beans
This one may go without saying, but some things affect the coffee quality that you might not think of! Let’s start with a little science.
When you add water to ground coffee, some solids and gasses dissolve into the water.
If the coffee is ground ahead of time, or if it sits on your shelf for months, many of the gasses in the coffee bean escape and you’re left with a flat tasting cup of coffee.
Grinding your coffee fresh makes a world of difference! Coffee pros can tell the difference in the taste of their coffee as little as 11 minutes after grinding.
I recommend using a burr grinder for a more consistent grind.
Grind coarse if you’re using a french press, grind medium if you’re using drip coffee, and grind fine if you’re using an espresso machine or Moka pot. Blade grinders like the Magic Bullet work in a pinch.
Water Can Totally Change the Taste
The quality of water you use can seriously impact the taste of your coffee. If you’re using tap water, all the minerals in your water will make a difference you don’t want to taste (who wants salty coffee?).
The coffee shop I work at has multiple industrial water filters behind the scenes working overtime to make sure your coffee tastes fantastic! For home use, a carbon filter like a Brita or bottled water will do work fine.
Milk Makes a Huge Difference
If you’re going for a latte or cappuccino, the milk you use is going to make a huge difference. Sometimes that difference is even bigger than the coffee you put in your drink.
Don’t worry, though; you don’t need a big, expensive machine or years of experience to make a great hot latte at home. It’s critical that you understand a few key things about milk.
First of all, temperature matters, a LOT. There are sugars and proteins in milk that change as the milk heats up. The perfect temperature for sweet, creamy goodness in your latte is 140-155 degrees Fahrenheit (60-68 C).
You can heat it on the stovetop with a thermometer and get it just right. Any hotter and the milk starts to lose its sweetness. Pass 180 F and the milk scalds. Trust me; you don’t want to drink that milk after it scalds.
Second, texture matters. I’m sure you’ve heard that distinct sound in your favorite cafe. The snapping, hissing, gurgling sound of a barista steaming milk.
They are doing more than just heating your milk when they steam it in that shiny pitcher. They are also adding air and then emulsifying it into your milk.
You can achieve that same texture at home with a french press. Just pour your milk into the press and then pump the filter through the milk for about 30 seconds, or until the milk doubles in volume.
Yes, there are that many bubbles in your milk at the coffee shop, and yes, it does make your coffee taste AMAZING!
I’ve used this method at home, and sometimes, my milk comes out even better than when I steam it at the shop! I’ve made some of my best latte art after heating my milk on the stove and frothing it with a french press. It could take a few attempts to get it exactly the way you want it, but once you get it down, you’ll never go back!
Try Some Different Brewing Methods
There’s a bunch of ways to brew your coffee at home. The french press is great when you need a single cup of coffee quickly when you’re getting ready for work.
The classic coffee pot is great when you have guests over or want to sip on a cup of joe from dawn to dusk.
The Keurig is becoming a household staple for its world-changing convenience.
Espresso machines are great too, but it can cost well over $100 for a beginner model and over $500 for something that can start to mimic coffee shop quality.
My personal favorite for milk based drinks is a Moka pot. It is a cute little pot that works by sitting on your stovetop and passing boiling water through your coffee.
It produces a highly concentrated shot of coffee that works great in lattes and cappuccinos.
The best part is it costs only $20-40 depending on where you get it and what size you buy! You can’t beat the price or quality.
Coffee Flavor How You Like It
If you’re grinding your coffee fresh, using filtered water, and making your milk right, you’ve already got a great cup of coffee.
Now here’s the fun part.
Experiment with different chocolates and caramels, and it will all taste great!
Once you have a perfect latte, you can try all your favorite recipes and make something even Starbucks will want on their menu!
This article was written by Tanner Sheffield, Shift Supervisor at Bridge Coffee Co. in Yuba City, CA. For more information on the shop, check us out here!