Gather Your Tools
Just as a seasoned chef wouldn’t cook without quality ingredients and equipment, a barista is only as good as her beans and tools. You can get a decent cup of coffee without investing in all of the gadgets and ingredients below, but doing so will help you to replicate the coffee-shop experience at home.
• Buy quality, fresh beans. Coffee beans begin to lose their flavor and aroma rapidly after roasting and grinding. To boost the taste and freshness of your brew, look for whole beans that have a roasting date. Don’t grind the beans until you’re ready to brew.
• Invest in a burr grinder. For a smooth, well-rounded cup, the size and shape of the coffee grounds matter. The helicopter motion of a blade grinder produces uneven-sized grounds, while a burr grinder uses abrasive, cylindrical surfaces to crush beans into a uniform grind size. Burr grinders also have different settings, so you get the right consistency for the brewing method you’re using.
• Take the water’s temperature. The optimal brewing temperature for maximum flavor extraction is between 195° and 205° F. Use a thermometer to make sure your water is hot enough.
• Weigh your coffee—and water. A cup will help you measure the precise amount of coffee and water to ensure the perfect ratio when brewing.
• Time it. The timer on a smartphone is essential for making sure you don’t over- or under-extract the flavors from the coffee grounds.
1. Grind coffee beans to medium-fine.
2. Put brewing vessel on top of cup or carafe and place a paper filter in a vessel; moisten filter with hot water. Pour off excess water.
3. Bowling 4 cups of water.
4. Put 2 tablespoons of ground coffee into the filter.
5. Pour 1/2 cup of hot filtered water (205° F) over the coffee in a circular motion. Let sit for 40 seconds.
6. Pour the rest of the water slowly over grounds.
Note: Water should drain between 3 minutes, 30 seconds and 4 minutes, 15 seconds. If it takes longer, grind coffee more coarsely; if it takes less time, grind it more finely.