Brewing great coffee at home
Great coffee at home can be a minefield. With the pandemic in our rearview mirror, some of us will be running back to the local coffee shop for the joys of a barista-prepared cuppa. But, we know you lot have gone a bit mad and purchased a bunch of coffee brewing kit and we really want to help you to be able to prepare and enjoy a delicious cup at home as well in the local coffee shop. So in this post, we will discuss 5 ways to make great coffee from home.
Ultimately, the best way to make coffee at home is down to how you like your coffee. The method you choose will result in a different tasting experience.
There are 5 main brewing methods, this is excluding an espresso machine, that is a whole blog in itself and we will get to that at a later date.
- Cafetiere/French Press – it’s fast and easy, and free from filters. Make tasty coffee for yourself or your household with minimal effort.
- Chemex – this method picks up the subtle flavours of the coffee and makes a smooth brew. It can be one of the less forgiving methods, but when you nail it, it’s excellent. The Chemex also looks extremely cool.
- V60 – the resulting flavour is like the Chemex, picking up the distinct flavours of the coffee. This method is suitable for making one or two coffees at a time.
- Aeropress – this method makes a stronger, fullbodied coffee for one person.
- Moka pot – it’s brewed on the hob and makes a thick, muddy coffee that can be served strong or topped with hot water.
- Scales – this doesn’t need to be fancy, you need to be able to measure the amount of coffee you are using per brew and also how much water you are adding. Some scales come with a timer too which can be handy when you start experimenting with brew times.
- Good, fresh coffee – there’s a reason why many coffee companies and roasters advertise as “locally roasted” or “freshly roasted” it’s because this is when the coffee is at its best. Coffee sitting pre-ground in a bag on a supermarket shelf will never be the same as freshly roasted beans, even if this is high quality coffee at the time of roasting. So make sure your coffee is nice and fresh.
- Grinder – you can get some really nice hand grinders or if you prefer an electric grinder, but for best results grind just before you brew.
- Filter Papers – these are different depending on the method, ask in your local coffee shop if you don’t understand the different sizes of filters.
Method 1: Cafetiere/French Press
Let’s start with the classic cafetiere. It’s the easiest way to make coffee for yourself or a group, with no need for filters.
Follow the steps below and you won’t go wrong: (2 cups)
- Boil the kettle and allow it to cool slightly.
- Add 30g of coarsely ground coffee to your cafetiere.
- Add 500ml of your slightly cooled boiled water.
- Give the coffee a good stir and place the lid on to keep the coffee warm.
- Wait for 3 and a half minutes to let the coffee brew.
- If there are excess grounds that have floated to the top, remove with a spoon and discard.
- Wait for a few more minutes, and then push down the cafetiere filter until you reach the grounds.
- Serve and enjoy!
Method 2 & 3: Chemex and V60
We’re going to cover these together as they are very similar processes. But, there’s a difference in the way that you grind the coffee for each brew method. The V60 requires a finer grind than the Chemex, due to the thickness of the coffee filters used for each.
- Boil the kettle and allow the water to cool slightly.
- Put your filter paper into the V60/Chemex and pour a small amount of water all over the paper. This wets it and removes the ‘papery’ taste. Discard this water afterward.
- Grind your coffee and add it to your filter paper. The V60 grind should be quite fine, whereas the Chemex grind is coarser, like the cafetiere. Add 18g for a V60, and we’d recommend a minimum of 30g of coffee to make 500ml for a Chemex.
- To start, add water weighing double the amount of the dry coffee. So, if you have 18g of dry coffee in your V60, then add 36g of water and wait 30 seconds. This is called the bloom. It allows the coffee granules to absorb the water and open up, so the maximum flavour is extracted.
- After 30 seconds, continue adding the water, pouring slowly in a circular motion until you reach your required amount of water.
- Let all the coffee extract through the filter. This process should take around 3 minutes for a standard V60 and between 3.5 and 6 minutes for a Chemex, depending on how much coffee you’re making.
Drink and Enjoy!
Method 4: Aeropress
The Aeropress makes a stronger coffee for one person, with a bit more body than a V60. Fun fact: the Aeropress was invented by the same company that created the ‘flying disc’ which holds the world record for the longest Frisbee throw.
- Boil the kettle and allow the water to cool slightly.
- Put the circular Aeropress filter into the detachable plastic cap, pour some water through to wet the filter.
- Assemble the Aeropress and place it with the numbers upside down on the scales. Add your 18g of ground coffee. The grind is similar to your V60 grind, something slightly finer than salt.
- Add double the amount of water for dry coffee and wait for 30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom.
- Add the rest of the water up to 300ml. Wait for 1 minute and then give the coffee a good stir. Reattach the cap and turn the whole Aeropress back the right way up.
- Place the Aeropress over a cup or pouring jug and slowly apply downward pressure. There should be some resistance here; if it pushes down too easily then your grind is too coarse. If it’s difficult, then it’s too fine.
- Once all the coffee is extracted, sit back and enjoy.
Method 5: Moka Pot
For the last method, we’re going old school with the Moka Pot. This method creates a thick, strong coffee, with water pushed up through the coffee grounds as it boils, extracting as it goes.
- No need to boil the kettle. Just fill the bottom of the Moka Pot with water up to the valve.
- Add your coffee to the filter basket and level it off, add the filter to the base of the Moka Pot and then screw the top of the pot back on. You can brew coffee using a Moka Pot without filter papers; the paper removes some sediment.
- Add heat! The Moka Pot can be placed directly onto a gas or electric hob. Wait for the water to boil and then lower the heat slightly to produce a constant simmer. This will cause the water to rise through the coffee and up the spout, spilling the coffee into the top part of the Moka Pot.
- Once the pot starts to hiss, the coffee is ready and should be served immediately! Water this one down if needs be – it’s strong!