So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make coffee at home. Maybe you’ve even got your hands on an Anfim BEST grinder (now available from the Gabriel Coffee Online Store). You might be wondering to yourself... “How do I get my coffee to taste as good as my favourite café’s coffee?”.
You wouldn’t be wrong in assuming that your local barista has a slight advantage over the 'home barista' for a couple of reasons:
• Equipment: Maybe you have have a thousand dollars worth of grinders and coffee machines…Probably not 10’s of thousands!
• Practice: Quite a few baristas will make more coffee in one day than some people drink in a whole year.
• Consistency: It is easier to keep your grinder dialled in and your recipe on point when you’re using your equipment constantly.
Do not fear…your coffee is not yet doomed to be second best! There are plenty of things you can do to up your coffee game at home, regardless of experience or equipment.
Scales are a baristas best friend. Making coffee is kind of like baking... You have your dry ingredients (ground coffee), wet ingredients (water), and time. Measure your coffee and water most accurately, we use grams instead of millilitres, especially when dealing with espresso and crema.
Just like when baking, if we change any of the 3 individual variables, the other 2 will also become affected, or change, so it is important to have a recipe in mind before we start making our coffee.
If your coffee machine doesn’t come with a timer, a good kitchen timer can help you achieve consistency and troubleshoot any issues that might come up.
A good coffee roaster will provide you with an recipe for any one of their coffees. A recipe will consist of how much ground coffee to use, how much your coffee will weigh after it’s brewed and how much time it should take for the coffee to brew. Most often recipes look like this:
Dose: 22.3 grams | Yield: 44 grams | Time: 30-32 seconds
Putting recipes into practice
Recipes are unfortunately not a 'one-size-fits-all’ kind of standard. So the perfect way to make your coffee each time, is by recognising when to adjust your variables.
Some home espresso machines use a smaller basket size than a commercial coffee machine. If your basket is smaller, you want to keep the ratio of your dose and yield the same, just with lower amounts. For example this recipe that is 22.3 grams in and 44 grams out is a 1:2 ratio. If you’re using an 18 gram basket, then you would use 18 grams of coffee and 36 grams of espresso. If you’re finding your milk coffee too weak, you can keep your ratio the same while increasing your dose and yield.
Brew time is super important and once you get your ratio right, this will be the thing that changes your outcome the most. We can change our brew time by adjusting our grind finer to increase our time, or coarser to decrease our time. Coffee that brews too quickly will be weak and watery, coffee that brews too long will be bitter. Keep in mind that if you increase your dose, your time will go up and vice versa.
Keeping your equipment clean will keep your coffee tasting sweet and free of bitterness and keep everything working at its best.
Don’t be afraid to try different things. Make adjustments to your recipes and see how it tastes. You only need to make small changes to see big differences in flavour. Better yet, keep notes of what you change and how it tastes, this way if you get stuck trying to make your coffee taste better in the future, you can see what you’ve done in the past.
Congrats! You’re now an expert coffee maker! Or at least well on the path to becoming one. It is easy to be intimidated by the coffee making process, however with some practice you’ll be making café quality coffee in no time!