With so many people working from home now, I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how you can still drink great coffee when you may not be able to get to a cafe.
Coffee is quite an art form in Australia so bringing it into the home is the next step in our coffee culture evolution. I’ve been in the coffee industry for 25 years as a barista and a cafe owner and now as the director of customer relationships at specialty roaster Campos Coffee. So, I’m happy to share with you the six key things that everyone can observe to make better coffee at home that will make a world of difference for every cup.
7 Really simple tricks to make great coffee at home
Seems obvious, but the better quality of coffee you use the better the cup will be. We are so fortunate to have access to some of the best coffees in the world right here in Australia, and some of the best roasters too. Now more than ever is a great time to support Australian roasters. Most have online stores, and if you can purchase take away coffees, maybe buy a bag from your local cafe as well.
Like any food product, fresh is best. Try to purchase coffee that has been roasted in the last few days, and is properly sealed. Ideally, buy whole beans and only grind what you need per cup to keep the coffee as fresh as possible. Once the coffee is ground, its exposure to oxygen is far higher, and it will lose its freshness much faster.
Heat, light and oxygen are the enemies of coffee. Quality coffee will come in a resealable bag, with a one-way valve. If storing the coffee in the original bag, remove as much air as possible and store somewhere cool (the pantry cupboard usually is fine). There are many storage containers available now explicitly made for coffee.
What you need to make great coffee at home (cont.)
Each type of brewing method (plunger, filter, espresso) will have a suggested ‘recipe’. Good roasters will have this information available to consumers either on the coffee package or on their websites. Look for videos of pros doing right, as well as detailed guides on their websites like Campos’ Brew Guides.
Most people never think about the water but water makes up the majority of your cup of coffee. Bad water quality will ruin even the finest coffee. Depending on where you are in Australia, the quality of water may vary, and using filtered water will generally produce a better cup. The temperature of the water is also essential. Unlike with tea, using boiling water straight out of a kettle is too hot, so let it cool for a bit before pouring. Better quality espresso machines allow you to adjust brewing temperature to suit the particular bean.
You could do a whole article on milk type and quality – just like with the water, milk can make or break the coffee. Temperature is also a factor, and burning the milk is an easy mistake to make. Milk frothing thermometers are great to have on hand, as (in most cases) you don’t want to heat the milk above 65 degrees celsius.
Try plenty of different coffees. Much like wine, different regions, terroir (environmental factors that affect bean growth and development), and roasting styles will give different results. There are coffees out there that will transform the way you think, feel, taste and experience coffee.
The recent Australian International Coffee Awards, run by the Victorian Agricultural Society, has categories like milk coffees, espressos, and filter coffee. The winners can be found here, and might give some ideas of different types of coffee to try. Enjoy!