5 Simple Things You Can Do to Get Barista-Style Coffee
About 2.25 billion cups of coffee are drunk everyday, and coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world (after oil). THAT is how important coffee is in our lives.
Most of us get by drinking instant coffee, but for those of us who are more picky coffee drinkers (or just simply want to enjoy a more decent cup of coffee), we are willing to spend a portion of our daily budget to get the best coffee from a coffee shop.
However, making that barista-style coffee by ourselves is really not that difficult, and with a little effort, we too can enjoy the best coffee without having to burn little holes in our wallets.
With that, below are five simple tips on how we can make our own barista-style coffee!
1. Get Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans
Most of us will buy coffee powder from a supermarket. However, you can get much better quality coffee if you buy coffee beans that are freshly roasted. Try going to your local coffee shop (e.g. Starbucks) or search for a roast to order supplier to order from them.
Freshly roasted coffee should be left aside for 5 days before you use it - so remember to ask your coffee bean supplier when the roasting was done. To get the best coffee flavor, you have to finish the coffee beans within 3 weeks. Any longer, and you will lose its delicious natural flavor.
There are mainly 2 types of coffee beans - the Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is considered higher quality than Robusta (due to its more richer and aromatic taste), and thus is a more preferred and commonly used bean type. The Robusta, which is considered lower in quality (therefore also lower in price), is commonly used in instant coffees.
There are many types of Arabica beans and each comes with its own unique flavor. Some examples include:
Type of Arabica beans
Favoured for its light and nutty flavor.
Lighter and more nutty than maragogoype.
Has quite an intense flavor. The flavour can differ depending how it is processed e.g. chocolate, floral flavored like jasmine and citrus flavors like lemon and lime.
Has a sweet and spicy taste.
Has a sweet acidic taste, similar to apples and pears.
Has crisp acidity and sweet, caramel undertones.
Has light taste with a sweet undertone.
Has a citrus taste like lemon or lime. Less body and sweetness than Bourbon.
2. Quality Grinding
Ask any barista and they will tell you the importance of having a good quality grind to get the best coffee. Poor quality grinding will give you a coffee grind with a lot of different grind sizes which will affect how the flavor of the coffee is extracted during the brewing process.
Although it is preferred that you freshly grind coffee whenever you brew coffee, it would be better to get your coffee bean supplier to pre-grind for you if you don't have a quality grinder at home.
3. Coffee Storage
Storage is also an important factor in getting your cup of barista style coffee. Coffee needs to be stored in a cool dry place - and by that, I don't mean the fridge. The cool and moist environment in the fridge can damage the coffee. And if you are thinking of putting the coffee in the freezer to preserve the flavor (like how most people do for cut vegetables or fruits), don't - as the defrosting process can actually damage the coffee, making it lose its original flavor. Keep coffee in an airtight container in a cool dry place, like where you would usually store your dry goods.
4. Brewing Water
Water is a very important factor affecting the quality of your coffee as more than 90% of your regular coffee is made up of water. The worst thing to do is to use water from the tap to make coffee (which many of us are guilty of that). This is because tap water can contain impurities such as minerals, metals and salts, and these impurities can alter the taste of your coffee as they do give some distinct taste to the water alone.
Therefore, it is best to use filtered water to get the best coffee taste. Besides ensuring that you get a smoother and richer tasting coffee, using filtered water can also help to protect your coffee machines - as impurities in tap water can create a lime scale build up and clog your machine. However, if getting a water filter is a little over your budget, you can always use bottled water to brew coffee.
Also remember to use fresh water at every brew - don't use water that has been sitting in your coffee machine or kettle for a while.
5. Brewing Temperature
The ideal temperature of the water to get the best coffee brew depends on the size of your grind (e.g. course or fine), the brewing method (e.g. using a Moka pot or French press) and how roasted or dark your coffee beans are. A general pointer is to use cooler temperature for darker roasted beans as using very hot water can make the brew taste more bitter/burnt.
Have you tried brewing your own barista style coffee?
Types of Coffee Brewers
You do not always need sophisticated equipment to get that barista style coffee. The following methods to brew coffee can be easily done in the comfort of your own home or office.
1. Moka Pot
The Moka pot consist of three compartments - bottom for water, middle one for coffee grind and the top part for collection of the brewed coffee. This type of brewing is slightly more time consuming as it involves the use of a stove during the brewing process. This brew works by turning hot water in the lowest compartment of the Moka pot to steam so it extracts the flavor of the coffee grind that is stored in the middle compartment of the pot as the steam travels up. The final product will be collected at the top compartment (the top pot). Using a Moka pot will give you stronger flavored coffee.
2. Coffee Dripper
This technique involves putting coffee grinds on a paper filter, pouring hot water over it and waiting for the water to drip through the coffee grind (while extracting its flavor). This is one of the easiest ways to brew coffee and will generally give you a lighter tasting coffee.
The Aeropress looks almost like a giant syringe and is another very simple type of brewing technique which involves mixing the coffee grinds with water for about 30 seconds, before using air pressure to slowly pushing the contents through a micro filter and straight into your cup. Coffee brewed by an Aeropress is generally less acidic and bitter as the brewing time is short.
The Chemex is a large round glass jug with a funnel structure on the top. The funnel holds a filter paper where coffee grinds are added before adding hot water. The coffee will then drip down to the round jug. The Chemex provides you with a very rich coffee flavor.
5. French Press
The French press is the more widely used coffee brewers as it is simple to use and convenient. The French press is basically a big cup where you first mix the coffee and hot water and brew for 4 minutes, before putting the plunging lid on to press the coffee grinds to the bottom to get the smooth grind-less coffee brew.
Adding That Last Bit of Extra Flavor
Ever wondered why there are so many different flavors (e.g hazelnut, vanilla) of coffee in your favorite coffee shops? The secret is - flavored coffee syrup! Coffee syrup is added to coffee to give it that extra punch and also increases the variety of coffee combinations available in a coffee shop.
Generally, for cold coffee, it is better to use a fruity syrup. For hot coffee, it is better to mix the coffee with chocolate, vanilla, nuts, ginger and mint.
You can easy purchase coffee syrups from coffee shops (e.g. Starbucks sell a wide variety of flavors) or online.
What does it mean?
Fragrance of the coffee.
The sharpness and brightness of the coffee. E.g. fruity & floral flavors
Body refers to the thickness of the coffee.
Sweetness simply is how sweet the coffee is. Good coffee will have a good balance of sweetness.
This refers to how long the coffee flavor lingers in you mouth; a longer or shorter aftertaste
In summary, to get that barista style coffee, you should take note of:
- Get freshly roasted coffee beans
- Quality grinding
- Storage of the coffee
- Brewing water
- Brewing temperature
I hope these basic tips will help you get one step closer to making your own cup of delicious barista style coffee!