The definitive guide on how to make coffee
If you’ve been searching online for how to make coffee, you probably want one of the following:
1)You want to discover the secrets to making a great cup of coffee at home.
2)To find the answer on how to make coffee for your preferred coffee drink or maker.
We try and answer your questions in this article. If you have any more questions, do drop us a line and we’ll try and answer them for you.
How to get the best coffee at home – factors that make a difference.
1. The Beans
The starting point for the flavour and quality of coffee is the coffee beans. There are a wide variety of types of flavours based on where the coffee was grown and how they are blended by the roasters from which you’ll discover your favourites.
The next thing with the beans is when they were roasted. The ideal period for the coffee beans is between 3 days to a week after the coffee was roasted for the freshest taste. So look at buying small quantities of coffee at a time.
2. The Grind
The right grind is crucial to extracting the flavour. But the grind varies for different types of brewing techniques. You can read the guide on choosing a home grinder or the options of home coffee grinders here.
3. The Equipment
Left over dregs can spoil the flavour of the coffee. An obsessive attention to keeping your equipment clean will give you the best flavours of coffee.
4. The Water
If the water in your area has a strong flavour of chlorine or is particularly hard, try using filter or bottled water. Strong flavours will affect the flavours of coffee.
Ideal water temperature for coffee. The ideal temperature to make coffee is between 91-95C, so just off boiling. Boiling water will scald and create a burnt flavour increasing the bitterness. This is a crucial factor to good coffee.
5.Coffee to Water Ratio
There is a golden ration known to the coffee industry which is about 1-2tablespoons of coffee grinds to 180ml of water. Start with this and then adjust to your taste for long coffees.
6. Coffee Brew Times
This is another major factor. If you don’t like the flavour of your coffee at home, you could be over extracting (brewing your coffee for too long). Or perhaps you are under extracting – leaving it for too short a period. The rule of thumb for various brews is as follows
25 seconds +/- 5 seconds
Stove top percolator
Coffee Brewing Methods
Instant coffee is what half of the world’s coffee drinkers consume. And the popularity of this type of coffee is growing worldwide.
According to Statista, this translated to a global spend of 28 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 by consumers https://www.statista.com/statistics/680363/market-size-instant-coffee-worldwide/. This is expected to grow to around 36.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.
Everyone who drinks coffee, will have instant coffee at home even if they have a top end machine.
Today, there is such a wide variety of instant coffees available too. This includes flavoured and barista style coffees that you can make instantly too.
A milk frother works great with an instant coffee to create some foam for that velvety coffee shop experience.
French Press or Cafetiere Coffee
The first French press coffee may well have been created in France. However, the French press was patented by an Italian designer in 1929.
This is the standard brewed coffee that is served in French cafes just like filter paper coffee is the default in the U.S.
Even within the circle of coffee lovers, the Cafetiere coffee is one that divides people. It’s an acquired taste. The grind required for this coffee is coarse and the flavour extracted with this pressure technique of pushing the plunger is different.
Western Filter Coffee or Pour Over coffee
The term filter coffee for most of the world means the use of filter paper in a Chemex or V60. Also known as pour over coffee, hot water is poured over medium grind coffee that’s held in some type of filter.
The brew that drips through is preferred by many since it doesn’t have much bitterness. The fans of this type of coffee swear by the complexity of the coffee notes.
Here is how to make filter coffee.
The Aeropress is a relatively recent gadget in the world of manual coffee makers. Introduced in 2005, the Aeropress has primarily been used to make American style filter coffee. An Aeropress uses a small amount of pressure, between 0.35 to 0.75 bars of pressure but is primarily a filter technique for brewing the coffee.
Read our guide on how to make aeropress coffee.
Moka Pot or Stove Top Coffee
The default type of home made coffee for Italians and those who love rich, strong and complex coffees. The Moka pot was patented by Italian designer, Bialetti in 1933.
Despite the ubiquitous cafes in Italy, almost every Italian household consumes most of their coffee at home. The Moka pot has a pride of place in the Italian household. This is a great way to create espressos at home without needing an expensive barista style machine.
There is a perception that making good espresso with a Moka pot is hard. Read how to make a moka pot coffee. Other than to drink, one of the things a good strong Moka pot of coffee is fabulous for is a tiramisu.
Vietnamese Coffee or Ca Phe Sua or Ca Phe Nua
Kaapi or Indian Filter Coffee or Decoction Coffee or Degree Coffee
India is a land of many regions and cultures. The South of India grows coffee primarily in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the hilly areas. Therefore, in these two regions and the neighbouring states Andhra Pradesh & Telengana, strong homemade coffee is the preferred drink. (Kerala has its own version of coffee called “Kattan Kaapi”)
This coffee is also known by several other names viz – Kaapi, Degree Coffee (Kumbakonam Degree Coffee) or Madras Kaapi or Decoction Coffee.
A medium roast with a fine grind, the distinctive aspect is the use of chicory in the coffee powder. The chicory added usually varies from 10-30%. It might be surprising but Kaapi always tastes better with the chicory.
The reason for this is that the chicory is used to get the coffee powder to hold the water for longer. This results in the brew produced which is known as decoction. Decoction is syrupy and even stronger than espressos and is not to be consumed as is. Chicory also enhances the colour of the coffee.
Distinctive Coffee Maker & Serving Accessories
South Indian coffee has its own filter coffee maker. Traditionally made of stainless steel, it consists of a two-part cylindrical container with a lid. The top half has tiny holes at the bottom that filters the coffee & chicory. The bottom half catches the decoction & the lid will fit onto this as well. There is also a tamper that is placed on top of the coffee grounds.
For the Kaapi experts, Tamilians established their reputation for making the best South Indian Filter coffee. In households and traditional restaurants and coffee shops in South India, it’s typical to serve the Kaapi in a two-part cup & bowl. The cup is called a tumbler & the bowl known as a "dabara".
Coffee is very different from tea just because of the variety of extraction of coffee brew techniques. If you love coffee, you should experience all of these different types of coffee at least once so that you can pick your favourites.