Most of us are stuck at home right now without access to the baristas whose services we used to rely on the fuel our coffee addiction through the working week. You might be using this time to re-kindle old hobbies, get stuck into that online course you always wanted to do or try to nail the perfect banana loaf. One thing is for sure though, that daily cup of coffee is as important as ever, and while you can’t nip down to your favourite local coffee shop anymore, we’ll help you brew a cup at home that will rival it in a few simple steps.
Buy Quality Coffee
Coffee is an ever-changing bean, which slowly releases both gasses and aromatics after it has been roasted. Quite often, the coffee on supermarket shelves has been on there for up to a year – enough time for it to lose a considerable amount of its flavour. Look for a “Roasted on” date. If there isn’t one on the bag, don’t even think about it as it is most likely stale. If you were to buy from an independent, quality roaster, they will normally roast and ship speciality coffee to you within a week, giving you super fresh, delicious beans – a great start.
Store your speciality coffee properly
To chill or not to chill. This is the question asked by so many and we say no to chilling! Coffee does not need to be stored in the fridge or freezer, just an airtight, opaque container and in a cool dry place – the original bag in your cupboard is fine, as long as the bag has a ziplock or similar. The constant freeze and thaw of keeping the coffee in a freezer can produce small water droplets inside the container, which is not good.
Whilst you can get your coffee ground for you by most roasters, grinding your coffee freshly just before you brew ensures that the coffee retains all of its flavours. All of the coffee’s natural flavours are locked in the bean’s essential oils, and once the coffee is ground, the oils evaporate pretty quickly. You can pick up hand grinders for about £20, which will do the job perfectly, or you can spend a little more to get an automated grinder and make it a little easier on your guns. The important thing here is to sacrifice a few extra seconds in the morning to grind just as much as you need for that brew.
Ok, this is the first real step into coffee geek-dom, but it will help you get a great coffee every time. The golden rule is 60g of coffee per litre of water but this is, of course, down to personal taste.
Filter your water
This seems like a pain, but 98.75 per cent of a cup of coffee is water so it’s really important that this water tastes good too. A simple filter jug is easy to get hold of and will make the world of difference to your coffee (and tea, and keep your kettle free of scale!).
Buy a V60 or an Aeropress
Most people begin with two types of coffee makers at home – a cafetière and a stove top, and whilst these still make great coffee, now’s the time to branch out and try a V60 or an Aeropress. Both make super clean and beautiful filter style coffees and will immediately turn you into a home brew pro.
To help you get started, here are some basic recipes for a Cafetiere, V60 and Aeropress
18g Speciality Coffee, medium coarse grind (a bit more coarse than table salt). Pour in 300ml of water, about a minute off the boil. Leave for 4mins (without the plunger on) then give it a quick stir. Scoop the creamy white foam off the top then place the plunger on the surface of the coffee (but don’t plunge) and pour the coffee into your pre-heated cup.
18g Speciality coffee, medium grind (like table salt). Place the filter paper in the V60 and wet it with plenty of water and discard in your drinking cup. This gets rid of the papery taste and pre-heats the cups in one. Pop the coffee into the V60 and give it a little shake to make the grounds flat. Pour in 50ml of water (1min off the boil) and give it a swirl to make all the grounds wet. Then pour another 150ml in and give it a swirl, followed by a final 100ml. Now you just leave it to gently drip though, which should take between 3 and 4mins.
Put your filter paper into the aeropress and place over a cup. Pour some clean, boiled water in to let it wash the paper and warm up the cup below. Discard the water and, with the Aeropress still above the cup, add 16g medium fine ground coffee (a bit finer than table salt). Then add 250ml of water (1min off the boil), give it a good stir, pop the plunger on top to stop it dripping through and leave it for 2mins. At the 2minute mark, start pressing the plunger. It should take around 30secs till you hear a hissing sound, at which point stop.
Dickon Morris runs New Ground Coffee – an independent, ethical coffee enterprise based in Oxford. (Use code IN_IT_TOGETHER for 10 % off New Ground coffee – posted to your door).