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It may seem impossible to reach the caffeinated glory of your local café haunt. With expensive equipment, bags of freshly roasted beans, and a general social ambiance it would seem that coffee shops have all the odds stacked in their favor.
And it’s not an unfair indulgence. There is something delightful about sharing a cup of coffee brewed by a trained barista. But don’t let the counter placed in between you and your dealer fool you into thinking that delicious coffee is unreachable from the confines of your own home.
The first stop on your road to sensational at-home coffee is evaluating where you purchase your beans. Give up the cans of coffee that have been stewing on the grocery store shelves for months. The problem? They are stale! Instinctively, everyone knows that food should have an expiration date.
Choose high quality beans that have been roasted with care. Many of your favorite coffee shops might already have their freshest coffee selections on display near the check-out counter. You might even walk past it every morning and think, “If only I had the money!” Make the investment- your taste buds will thank you later. A good way to always have fresh coffee is to sign up to a coffee subscription service.
With your freshly roasted coffee in between your fingertips, you are on the road to coffee redemption. Your second step is to choose an appropriate grinder setting. Remember: not all grinds are created equal. That is, your grind size will directly relate to what type of brewing device you are using. Many pour over methods work best if your grind is medium/fine. However, for a French Press you really want to stick to a coarse setting on your machine.
If you have any questions, your favorite barista should be happy to help you. There are also many resources online (with pictures!) that can help you along the way. It is essential that you grind your coffee as close to your brew time as possible. After you have used your grind, its best to toss it instead of reuse it. You have already extracted all the flavors.
In terms of brewing methods, there are plenty of devices that are easy to use at home. A French Press is an excellent place to start. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to store, and forgiving in terms of flavor. Other decent investments include the AeroPress, Hario (or similar brand) coffee drip, and the Chemex.
With all of these methods, filtered water at a precise temperature will make a huge difference. Tap water can exude odors such as chlorine. You might not even notice the difference until you give filtered water a try. The temperature of your water should fall between 195 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction.
If the water is too cold, the coffee can be under extracted and if it is too hot, you can lose taste quality. If you are heating the water without a thermometer (as most of us do) let the water come to a full boil and then remove it from the heating element to cool for a minute.
These basic tips are simply an outline to better coffee that can be made at home. For flavor freaks and coffee lovers alike, there are always new things to learn. So what are you waiting for? Go toss those cans in the back of your pantry! It’s time for something better.