It isn't hard to make an amazingly good cup of coffee at home. These simple tips will up your coffee game and have you wondering why you ever bought drive through coffee. In this post, you'll learn how to make the best coffee at home with seven simple tips.
Looking for specific coffee recipes? Check out: How to Make Coffee: 17 Best Coffee Brewing Methods
7 Tips to Make Good Coffee at Home
There are a few general things that will help you make the best coffee at home, no matter what brew method you like.
So to make coffee with the best results, here are a few things to consider before you get started.
1. Use fresh, whole coffee beans
Start with arabica whole beans that have been roasted recently. Coffee beans begin losing their flavor about two weeks after being roasted.
Robusta coffee beans don't have the same pleasant flavor notes as arabica, but they have a place in a good espresso mix – adding the crema. So if you're into espresso, a good arabica/robusta mix would be just fine.
If you’re using pre-ground coffee, the freshness is sealed inside until you open the bag, but just keep in mind that it only maintains its best flavor for about a week after it's open, and that's when it's stored properly.
Have you wondered how long coffee lasts, or if ground or whole beans stay fresh longer? Well, the whole bean coffee wins – the beans have less surface area exposed to heat, light, moisture, and air (elements that cause coffee to lose its flavor) than ground coffee does.
2. Get a burr grinder and a scale
Having a burr grinder on hand is recommended for making the best tasting coffee. A burr grinder gives you control over how well you want your beans ground. It will result in a more even grind size (when compared with other grinding methods) which will help with extraction. Better extraction means better flavor.
When shopping for a burr grinder, why not invest in a coffee ground scale as well? Once you determine your preferred water to coffee grounds ratio, a scale enables you to measure out just the right amount of grounds so that you can make the perfect cup of coffee every time.
Here are the best coffee grinders.
3. Use filtered water and a gooseneck Kettle
For best flavor results, it’s a good idea to use filtered water that has no odd flavors from chemicals and minerals. We use a Berkey water filter system.
For methods that require you to heat and pour hot water over your coffee grounds, a gooseneck kettle is recommended because it gives you control over the rate and direction at which you are pouring which impacts the taste of your coffee.
4. Use the right temperature water
Use water that is 195°F (91°C ) to 205 °F (96 °C).
If the water is too hot, it can over-extract the grounds which will make your coffee taste bitter. If the water isn’t hot enough, it won’t extract the flavor well enough, resulting in a weak brew.
An easy way to get your water to the right temperature is to bring it to a boil and then let it sit off the heat for around 30 seconds before you brew your coffee.
5. Use the right size grind
Before you begin brewing check to make sure you're using the right size grind for your method.
Depending on which coffee making method you use:
- coarse grounds are extracted more slowly, giving you a more mellow taste.
- finer grounds are quickly extracted, producing a stronger, and sometimes bitter flavor.
If you're purchasing pre-ground coffee just ask for the size you need for your brewing method.
If you're grinding your own, most burr grinders come with brew method instructions and clearly marked grind size indicators – easy peasy.
6. Prime your coffee maker
Many coffee makers (french press, pour over…) perform a little better when they are primed, or pre-moistened.
To prime just pour a little hot water over the filter (if you're using one) and into the coffee maker.
This will make the brewing process a little better and warm things up so your coffee will stay hotter a little longer.
7. Use the right amount of coffee
Some coffee lovers like to weigh their beans to get as close as possible to the same results each time they brew. While I think that is more precise, I don't weigh mine.
But I do like a fairly consistent, strong cup of coffee. To achieve that I usually use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for each serving (around 8 – 12 ounces of water).
If you like a strong flavorful cup of coffee that's a pretty good rule to go by. Most brewing methods will work well with that ratio.
There are some exceptions like espresso and Turkish coffee. But generally speaking 2 tbsp per cup will do just fine.
More reading: 11 Most Popular Types of Coffee from Around the World
How did you make out? Was your cup of coffee as good as you hoped? I would love to hear what worked for you and what didn't. Join me below.