As more and more of us make the transition from only drinking coffee out to making our own coffee at home, we slowly start to realise that making coffee is easy. But making really good coffee? Not so much so.
Like anything, it’s all about practice. Don’t get frustrated if within the first month -or even year!- you are still not coming closer to that coffee you get at your favorite place. There’s a steep learning curve. But making great coffee is incredibly rewarding.
So, we thought we’d help you skip a few levels ahead with some of our collective knowledge that we’re acquired over years of trying to make better coffee with whatever tools we had available in our kitchen.
1. Chill Your Coffee
By which we mean: before grinding your beans or before using ground coffee.
Why? Because every degree matters. When brewing coffee, even one single degree over the line can result in burnt coffee: too strong, too bitter, and devoid of all the delicate flavor notes that we so appreciate.
When grinding coffee, the raw friction causes a rise in temperature, which is already setting us up for failure.
Depending on what grinder you use, this can be exacerbated or attenuated – but it will always result in ground coffee being too warm. Then, when we pour our boiling water, we’re practically burning our coffee instead of brewing it – all because of a couple of degrees’ difference.
Before grinding the coffee beans, pop them in the fridge for about five minutes. This will offset the temperature change caused by grinding!
If you’re using any sort of brewing method that is made of metal like a moka pot or an espresso machine, you might want to consider doing this with ground coffee, too. Metal parts are prone to rises in temperature, which is why a short (two-minute) stay in the fridge will act as a shield for your ground coffee, preventing it from burning.
2. Use a Coffee Canister
The way we store coffee is very important. Not only because it is absorbent, meaning that it will soak up any aroma or smell if they come into contact for long enough, but also because coffee can go stale quickly if we’re not careful.
The catch is that stale coffee is almost impossible to tell from simply plain coffee. You’ve probably already experienced it: you get one coffee that tastes great the first time you make it but kind of bland after that. It’s because it wasn’t stored properly!
Luckily, all the work has been done for us. Coffee canisters are very inexpensive and protect our coffee from both sunlight -to which coffee’s very sensitive to- and any other outside elements.
Some coffee canisters even come with a CO2 valve, which lets coffee release carbon dioxide (a natural process) through the valve without letting air in.
They are a must-have in any kitchen and can keep your coffee in prime condition for months!
3. Buy Fresh Coffee!
Since we were talking about how coffee can lose all its properties when stale, another big thing you should be aware of is that a lot of big companies, to save money, grind and package their coffee months (some even years) before they are actually put up on the shelves of supermarkets. They go stale way before they see the light of day, and customers are none the wiser because we have grown accustomed to stale coffee.
Instead, buy your coffee from small companies that operate much like us at Big Dick’s Coffee: by roasting coffee just days before it is shipped.
Generally, buying online is the safest measure you can take to ensure freshness, as companies like us usually work by calculating demand and only making enough to meet it.
Bigger companies, however, simply make as much of the product as they can in the hopes it will sell. Not good for freshness at all.
With these three simple tips, we trust you’re on your way to making better coffee without having to buy expensive gadgets and equipment. In no time, you’ll be sharing with others tips of your own!