Any coffee lover will tell you that a good day starts with a good cup of coffee. Whether you are at home relaxing, reading a book, stressed, or working, a delicious cup of coffee can elevate your mood. Sadly, you can’t buy a cup of espresso or a latte from coffee houses every time you need a nice cup of coffee. Well, did you know that you can make high-quality barista coffee at the comfort of your home? Yes, you don’t need to be a trained coffee connoisseur who has mastered grinders, extraction levels, grind size, and other technicalities to make top quality coffee at home. Let’s give you some easy to follow tips on how to make barista-grade at home.
Now, before we begin, there are vital things that you need to understand to get started:
Go for quality coffee beans
Coffee beans are pretty much the heart of coffee and coffee making. Buying quality beans is the only way you will enjoy good coffee. No matter the technique or the brew method used, it is impossible to make coffee with low quality coffee beans. Do not focus on how much money you are paying to get quality roasted beans. A good pack of quality coffee beans is always worth the price. For example, if you are an Espresso lover, then you know what brands like Lavazza super crema, Kicking Horse, and Coffee Bean Direct can do to your coffee. The good thing if you don’t have access to these brands, there are other types of coffee beans that will still do the magic for your espresso or latte recipes.
Here are tips to look out for when selecting coffee beans
- Check the date on the bag- remember coffee beans also go stale
- Find information on the bag, where it is from, the manufacturer, etc.
- Buy coffee beans from local independent coffee shops
- Choose dark brown beans- They are not too acidic or too bitter.
Get a good Espresso Machine
This is another significant component to consider if you are thinking of being a barista at home. Espresso machines are excellent for flavored, milky base coffee recipes, the cappuccinos, and the lattes. If you do not have one look at:
- The simplicity of the machine- look at the features and the automated control options
- The right size- do you want a big or a small one?
- Ease of operation: steps required to brew, additional equipment (is it self-sufficient) and the maintenance of the machine
- Price-You, don’t have to go for an expensive machine. There are lots of good espresso machines on a budget.
Using the right measurement scales make all the difference when it comes to coffee brewing. You need to weigh your coffee and water properly. Remember, too much or too little of something can spoil everything. Make use of your weighing scale, measure the water, and the milk for espresso and cappuccinos. For instance, if you are going for a plain espresso shot of 30-40ml, you will need .15 ounces of water and 7-8 grams of coffee.
The water should not be too soft or too hard. If it is too soft then your coffee might not be rich as it should be. On the other hand, if it’s too hard all the flavors of your coffee brew will be overwhelmed.
Now that you know a thing or two about getting started, you are now ready to make barista coffee at home!
Step 1: Prepare your cup and Portafilter
These are items from your espresso machine. Ensure they are dry before beginning the process.
Step 2: Grind your coffee beans
Put your fresh roasted beans in the portafilter. Ensure that you have the brew basket ready, double-check to ensure it is for the correct shot; i.e. single, double or triple. When using your grinder, be careful not to over-extract or under extract.
Step 3: Evenly distribute the coffee
Before you tamp your coffee, please make sure that it is evenly distributed. You can do this by gently tapping the handle of your portafilter. This step is vital as it ensures that the extraction of the coffee grounds is at the same degree or something close. Distributing ensures that air doesn’t enter the coffee
Step 4: Compress the coffee grounds
Now it is time to tamp your coffee. In other words, the time to distribute the grinds into an evenly distributed puck. To do it correctly, place the handle on a clean flat surface or tamping mat if you have one. Begin to tamp with little pressure then give it time to settle down for a moment. Tamp again with a much higher force, and then withdraw to pull that espresso shot.
Step 5: Wipe and clean any excess grounds
After tamping your coffee, you will end up with smooth grounds. However, to ensure that it is very smooth and soft, place the tamper on top of the puck and spin. After that, clean any excess dry coffee on your portafilter.
Please note, you can only proceed to brew if your beans are compressed and even. Don’t be afraid to dose another batch if it’s not up to standard. This step is critical for a tasty result
Step 6: Pull the shots!
You are now ready for your coffee. This can be an easy or tricky part of the entire process. To do it right, begin by placing your port filter in the group head (the place where the port filter is secured to brew coffee). Proceed to ensure that the metal tabs of your port filter are aligned to the slots in the group head. Now pull the handle of the right till it is upright. It should feel very tight
The ideal brewing time is between 20-30 seconds.
Step 7: Time to enjoy your brewed espresso!
At this point, you should feel like a trained barista. After the machine stops, you can remove the cup from the machine tray. Please note the machine stops manually or automatically depending on the type and how you set it. You must also remember the kind of shot you are making determines how long or short your coffee should be brewed. Single shots take less time.
If you love plain espresso, this is the time to enjoy it like that. At this stage, you can also make a latte.
Simple steps to making a latte
To begin, you will need milk; ideally steamed milk. While steaming the milk, ensure you lookout for the small, light bubbles (micro foams). This is the best option. Once you have your steamed milk, pour it over your already made espresso. Allow the milk froth to pour smoothly so that it can mix well with the espresso cream. To ensure that you don’t over pour you can use a spoon. You will know that you have done it right if the result is a soft creamy base with a frothy top.
Step 8: Do stop there, do some cleaning
Now that your barista coffee is ready don’t forget to take time and ensure that you leave a clean portafilter. First, ensure that you dismantle the puck, then proceed to clean your handle, including the group head properly. Always ensure the equipment is dry before making another shot.
It’s that easy! You can be a barista in the comfort of your own home. If you have been spending lots of cash on a cup of espresso or latte, then it’s time to save some bucks! Just get yourself a proper espresso machine, and some quality coffee beans then follow the steps above. You can say goodbye to slow, dull days with barista-grade coffee at home!