How to make better coffee at home
If you're a coffee lover looking to up your game in the kitchen, then you've come to the right place. Read on for tips on how to make better coffee at home, from the professional baristas at Pumphreys Coffee.
1. Know your coffee beans
It's important to know where your coffee beans come from, because it could affect the way you brew them. Good coffee purveyors will be able to tell you the origin of their beans. At Pumphreys Coffee we offer a wide range of single origin beans from around the world.
Kenyan coffee is a great example of one of our single origin beans. This type of coffee has a complex flavour with a fruity acidity and is graded according to size. We roast Kenya AA coffee beans to a medium roast to promote those flavours.
You can buy these beans separately or as part of our African ground coffee gift set.
2. Use fresh, whole coffee beans
Coffee beans peak in the first two weeks after roasting, so for a more flavoursome cup, we recommend using fresh whole beans. Lock in that flavour by grinding them just before you're about to brew your coffee.
To get fresh beans delivered to your door, consider a coffee subscription from Pumphrey's Coffee. Every month, you'll receive a new coffee to try, with information on where it originated, right down to the cooperative or farm where it was grown.
We'll also send you cupping notes to help you pick out the flavours in the coffee so you can develop your palate.
3. Grind only what you need
When you grind your beans, the coffee starts to lose flavour and aromas (known as degassing). To keep your beans fresh, only grind what you need and store the rest.
4. Grind options –get the size right
To get a balanced cup of coffee, try experimenting with your grind setting until you find the right coarseness (the experts refer to this as "dialling in"). The perfect setting will depend on the type of coffee – its age, roast level and origin. You'll need to play about with this, until you get it just right, but as a rule of thumb:
- coffee too fine is slow to be dissolved and can end up being dry and bitter
- coffee too coarse can result in a cup that tastes watery or sour
To help shortcut the grind process, we sell pre-ground coffee made to suit different machines. You can choose from espresso, cafetière, filter, and Turkish.
5. Measure out your coffee
Are you using the right amount of coffee to water? This could make a big difference to the quality of your cup – the more coffee you use, the stronger your cup of coffee.
The standard in coffee shops is a 1:18 coffee to water ratio, and we recommend using scales to get this just right. For something bolder and more rounded with a slightly earthy taste, try our Colombian Fair Trade coffee beans at a ratio of 1:14.
When you buy our Fair Trade Colombian coffee, you're also contributing to a better standard of living for the coffee growers in this part of the world.
6. Use fresh filtered water
Water makes up most of your coffee at home so it makes sense to get this bit right. Use fresh, filtered water when you can – either filter it yourself or use bottled water. Avoid distilled water though, as this can damage your coffee maker and affect the flavour.
7. Get the temperature just right
The temperature of your hot water will affect the speed of extraction – in simple terms, extraction is the process by which your coffee is dissolved in the water. Just like the coarseness of your ground coffee, the temperature of your water, also affects the extraction time.
The ideal temperature is somewhere between 90 and 96°C but this varies depending on the roast level of the coffee. For example, our best Italian roast coffee beans should be brewed at a lower temperature to get the flavour just right. It should be similar to a dark chocolate taste but not so bitter that it tastes burnt.
8. Pre-heat everything you use
We recommend pre-heating everything you use in the coffee-making process. Pouring hot coffee into a cold coffee cup will cool it down significantly, which is like falling at the final hurdle after you've put so much effort into getting everything else right.
9. Clean your machine regularly
You'd be surprised at how much coffee residue can build up in your machine. Every time you make a cup of coffee, the oils from the coffee beans get left behind, and though you probably aren't aware of it, it's affecting the taste of your coffee. For the best tasting cup of coffee, you should clean your machine after every use (or as often as you can).
Try using baking soda with a bit of vinegar and some water. Leave it overnight to soak and in the morning, it should wipe clean with ease.
Or alternatively you can purchase some cleaning powder from us which does the job much quicker and more efficiently.
10. Store your coffee in an airtight container
Store any leftover beans or ground coffee in an airtight container away from excess light, heat, and moisture – and never freeze it! Ceramic or glass is the best type of container to care for your coffee.