How to Become a Home Barista? | Brewing Java

How to Become a Home Barista?

Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Pinpoint 250


Is your goal to take control of your home brewing? Are you on a journey to discover how to become a home barista? Find out in this post how to skyrocket your brew.

This guide starts your journey to find your ideal cup of joe.

I wrote this guide not from the perspective of a coffee professional.

I’m writing from a coffee lover and a home barista. Who has heard it all from coffee professionals and has 30+ years of experience brewing coffee at home?

I don’t know about your coffee knowledge, budget, or level of passion. I realize, though, that you are a coffee enthusiast. And will need to figure out what stage you are at becoming a home barista. And make coffee decisions that reflect that.

This guide explores the coffee knowledge you will need to start your journey to become a home barista. And offers guidance, perspective, practical advice, and a healthy dose of my opinion. To help you make those decisions and develop your personal preferences.

My goal is to provide you with the baseline knowledge you will need to discover your perfect, delicious cup.

There is no right way for any of it; remain curious and enthusiastic.

We all enjoy good coffee but don’t have to appreciate it similarly.

Why Should You Be a Home Barista?

Discover your ideal cup, and craft the best way to make coffee at home that is right for you. Why? I can think of at least five reasons.

1. Brew Quality Coffee

When you start brewing the best way to be a home barista, you will find that you can control the quality of your cup. You can get the beans and the gear of your choice anywhere these days without spending an arm and a leg or ordering them online. You can control the entire process to make great coffee every time.

2. Pay Less for a Cup of Coffee

At a coffee shop, the cost of a cup of coffee is not cheap.

You can make great coffee at home for a fraction of the cost. So start exploring the best way to make coffee at home.

You’ll don’t be glad you did because you will learn to make your coffee the way you like it; it will be your perfect coffee cup.

3. Drink Fresher Coffee

You can make the coffee as fresh as possible before you drink it.

I have noticed that coffee shops grind beans in batches, meaning the grounds sit around for a while- maybe even a day or more.

Using old coffee grounds does not enhance the flavor of the coffee.

Now you can grind your beans before brewing and get the freshest coffee.

4. Have More Variety

Unlike at a coffee shop, where you can choose from a limited range of coffee, you can make many different kinds of coffee at home.

If you create custom blends, you can adjust your brew’s strength to be perfect for your taste.

5. Make it More Convenient

Going to a coffee shop once in a while is fun, but doing it daily as part of your routine consumes a lot of time.

You must drive to the coffee shop, order, pay, pick up your coffee, drink at the shop, or take it to go.

Once you can make the best coffee at home, you will brew great coffee and impress your family and friends.

Home Barista/What’s in A Perfect Cup of Coffee?

A great cup of coffee is one you tune perfectly for your senses.

It has great, complex flavors; it is fresh and served at just the right temperature; it smells great, and it is just right.

You know, great coffee right away when you have it.

Characteristics of Making Great Coffee at Home

  1. Quality coffee Beans
  2. Freshly ground coffee beans
  3. The perfect degree of grind
  4. The water
  5. Quality brewing
Roasted coffee beans | Brewing Java |
Roasted Beans

Home Barista Must Use Quality Coffee Beans

Even high-quality beans produce low-quality coffee when brewed in a reduced-quality automatic coffeemaker.

It’s crucial to start with great beans. Espresso machines of the best quality and proper techniques can only do so much.

No matter how much you perfect your technique, you won’t be able to improve the quality that much if you’re starting with low-quality beans.

Coffee scientist Christopher H. Hendon suggests that any given cup’s outcome depends on four key variables: the quality of the green (unroasted) coffee beans, the roast, the water, and the brewing technique.

However, he doesn’t give each of these equal weight.

What Influences Your Brew?

Hendon says the quality of green coffee beans significantly influences the brew (50%).

Its impact is enormous if you compare it with those of the roast (20%), water (20%), and brewing technique (10%); to emphasize, this is assuming that the brewer uses the best methods.

Another way to look at this is to realize that there are limits to what a great roaster and brewer can do to improve the bean’s quality if the quality is not there.

Arabica vs Robusta | Brewing Java |

Home Barista/Robusta vs. Arabica

The variety of a coffee tree, and the conditions where it is growing, make a big difference in the flavor of the coffee.

There are only two important species of coffee trees that produce coffee beans that sell widely, Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora, AKA Coffea Robusta.

Arabica beans have a better, sweeter flavor and are suitable for making great coffee.

Robusta coffee is easier to produce and has more caffeine, but Robusta is bitterer than Arabica.

You may tell the difference between Arabica beans and Robusta beans by looking at them- they are more round, and Arabica beans are more elliptical.

Coffee Cherries just picked | Brewing Java |
Freshly picked coffee cherries

Processing the Beans

Once they crop the coffee cherries, they separate the green coffee beans from the cherry flesh.

Coffee processing is the stage where they extract the coffee seeds or coffee beans from the coffee cherry.

The processing stage, when the cherry is removed, can significantly affect the taste of the beans.

Here are some conventional methods of processing coffee and how they affect the flavor.

There are several processing methods:

The main ones are natural or dry, pulped natural or honey, or washed or wet.

Each processing method will affect the flavor of your coffee.

Natural Process/Dry process

When brewed, natural process coffee tends to have robust fruity notes and full body texture.

Pulp Natural/Honey Process

Pulp natural coffees will lack the natural process coffees’ fruity notes, but they have a similar body texture.

It will have sweetness and acidity similar to washed process coffee.

Wash Process/Washed

Wash process coffee tends to be juicy as far as texture and will have delightful bright flavors and good acidity.

When buying coffee beans, you should find the coffee process on the label or list it on the website. But if you don’t, leave and buy from someone else.

Home Barista/Storing Beans

By storing your coffee beans correctly, you can keep them fresh for up to four weeks from when it was roasted, but not more.

To freeze or not freeze?

There is a debate in the coffee industry regarding freezing coffee.

Some say you should, and some say not to freeze.

I go by what my roaster tells me, buy enough for a couple of weeks at most, and keep it in a cool dark place.

The enemies of coffee are oxygen, moisture, heat, and light.

So the best way to store it is in airtight, opaque canisters in a dark, calm, and dry place.

One right way to store coffee is to divide it into smaller portions. Keep about half of it in one container and the rest in another.

This way, you can use one container for one week, and the other half of the coffee won’t be exposed to air every time you open the can.

Home Barista/Needs to Use Freshly Ground Beans

You found the perfect blend of coffee beans roasted correctly, but if you don’t get the grind right, you can ruin the cup of coffee you are about to make.

Roasting Beans

Coffee beans, not roasted, would be unpalatable without being roasted and will remain no more than the light green seeds of coffee.

To achieve the required sensory profile, a roaster decides at what temperature and how long the beans should roast.

Often, a few seconds beyond the exact roasting time makes all the difference in the ideal degree of roast.

Chemical and Physical Processes

Chemical and physical processes that occur during roasting change the composition of green beans and transform them into ready-to-grind coffee beans.

Heat causes carbohydrates, proteins, oils, and acids to interact, causing the cell walls to expand.

The beans increase in volume and could double in size, some of the oils rise to the bean’s surface, and the coffee loses moisture, which creates many aromas.

Home Barista How Fresh Is Your Coffee?

Enjoy the best cup of coffee possible; the coffee must be fresh. But how is a freshness to be judged?

Here are a few fundamental principles that will guide you.

Because coffee is freshest immediately upon roasting, you can easily purchase the freshest coffee beans if you live close to one of the many small artisan coffee roasting companies.

Freshly roasted coffee emits carbon dioxide for several weeks following roasting, which is a natural process.

The Enemies of Fresh Coffee

The enemies of fresh coffee are oxygen, moisture, high temperature, and light, all of which speed up the oxidization process.

This oxidization process causes the oils in coffee beans to turn rancid, losing taste and aroma and leaving you with stale coffee.

It’s not that coffee suddenly turns from beautiful, flavorsome, and aromatic to stale, dull, and rancid.

Instead, it is a slow process, and proper packaging prevents oxygen, moisture, and light from getting at your coffee beans.

The Packaging is Important

The packaging is essential, and why most of the larger commercial coffee companies package their coffee in sealed bags with a one-way valve that allows the carbon dioxide to escape but prevents oxygen from entering the bag.

Vacuum-packed coffee beans can last for a considerable time without spoiling while still retaining (most of) their freshness, taste, and aroma.

Once you have bought coffee beans, you should keep the package away from moisture, high temperature, and light.

So much for roasting and packaging, but what happens when coffee is ground?

Ground coffee exposed to air begins to stale immediately. At the same time, the deterioration of whole beans is a slow and gradual downhill process.

If you want to keep your coffee the freshest, grind your coffee immediately before brewing.

Home Barista/The Degree of Grind

The type of grind depends on the brewing method. French Press uses coarse

grind, while Turkish coffee uses the finest grind.

You found the perfect blend of coffee beans roasted correctly, but if you don’t get the grind right, you can ruin the cup of coffee you are about to make.

Coffee begins losing flavor and aromas as soon as it is ground, so you should grind your coffee immediately before brewing.

But it’s not just about grinding your coffee daily; you also have to get it right.

The type of grind depends on the brewing method.

French Press uses a coarse grind, while Turkish coffee uses the finest. All other brewing methods fall somewhere in between.

Drip coffee makers use medium to fine grinds. Espresso makers use fine grinds.

So the brewing method you use will dictate the type of grind you need.

Type Of Grinds

We’ll talk about brewing methods later, but now, let’s focus on the type of grinds.

A coarse grind is the easiest to distinguish visually. It has a lot of coarse particles that you can probably even pick up separately.

It is also the easiest to grind; you need to grind for a short time.

This type of grind is used in the French press method.

If you use a finer grind in French Press, you’ll get “mud” at the bottom of your cup.

A medium grind looks like granulated sugar.

It is used in drip coffee makers with a flat coffee filter. You have to grind in short bursts and keep an eye on the coffee to eyeball the ground level.

A fine grind looks like powdered sugar, but if you hold it between your thumb and forefinger, you should still feel a little grit.

This grind is used in drip coffee makers with conical filters and espresso coffee makers.

A Turkish grind is the finest grind you can get. The coffee looks like flour and has no grit.

And obviously, you use it only to make Turkish coffee.

It leaves “mud” at the bottom of the cup, which is acceptable in Turkish coffee even though most other coffee drinkers don’t like it.

It would help to let the mud settle at the bottom and not stir or shake the cup too much while drinking Turkish coffee.

Blade Grinders Vs. Burr Grinders

Since We are making espresso, I recommend using a Burr grinder; As Blade, grinders cannot grind the beans fine enough.

Blade grinder | Brewing Java |
Blade grinder

Blade Grinders are Cheaper and Grind the Coffee Quickly.

But they also have drawbacks. They grind unevenly and make a lot of noise.

And their motors can get hot, which can start cooking the coffee even before it goes into the coffee maker. Alcan’tlade grinders can’t provide the finest levels of grind.

Burr grinder | Brewing Java | Brewing a better cup at home
Burr grinder

Burr Grinders are More Expensive but Also More Consistent.

They use two disks or cones to grind the coffee, and you can set the level of grind you want.

For espresso makers, burr grinders are preferred over blade grinders.

You can also find hand grinders which might be blade or burr type but use hand power instead of electricity to run.

It might sound crazy, but you can also use a traditional method to grind coffee. It’s something known as a “mortar and pestle. “

This is how coffee was grounded for ages before human beings became lazy. It requires much more effort and time, but you have complete control over the ground level.

The importance of water | Brewing Java | Take control of your home brewing

The Water

As a cup of coffee is more than 98% water, the water’s condition and taste are at least as critical as the coffee’s.

People often buy coffee from a coffee shop where they enjoy an excellent cup of joe.

They take the coffee beans home, grind them and brew them and then wonder why it doesn’t taste the same.

As a cup of coffee is more than 98 % water, the water’s condition and taste are at least as critical as the coffee you use, and only water from the same source will re-create an exact feeling.

*Hard Water vs. **Soft Water

Coffee experts agree that the best water for brewing is slightly *hard; a few minerals will enhance the coffee flavor and the old custom of adding a “pinch of salt” to bring out the character.

If the brewing water is very hard, the calcium and the magnesium ions can get between the water molecules and the coffee particles, interfering with the extraction process. The brew will have a little flavor.

When we check out the effect of *soft water in brewing coffee, we find out that the softest water possible is distilled or de-ionized water; it has virtually no taste, and no one would dream of making coffee with it.

Therefore, let’s assume that coffee made with distilled water would also be tasteless and need a “pinch of salt” to bring out the flavor.


Because it does not interfere with extraction, coffee brewed with tasteless, distilled water has a robust coffee flavor. It could easily be too strong in brewing, especially with a cheap blend.

Very soft water requires less coffee per brew, a slightly coarse grind, or less contact time, which ensures no over-extraction.

The old wife’s habit of adding a “pinch of salt” might not have brought out the flavor but instead toned it down and modified the taste better if the original water was very soft.

Filtering Water

Chlorinated or other chemically treated water or water polluted by old pipes, rust, or different tastes can affect the flavor of the coffee.

One choice to filter water is a permanent fitting that attaches to the kitchen’ central water system; another option is filtering devices, which filter and remove terrible tastes, available in a carafe.

Filtering Water

Chlorinated or other chemically treated water or water polluted by old pipes, rust, or different tastes can affect the flavor of the coffee.

One choice to filter water is a permanent fitting that attaches to the kitchen’s central water system; another option is filtering devices, which filter and remove terrible tastes, available in a carafe.

*Hard water has a high mineral content comprising calcium and magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates, and sulfates.

**Soft water contains no minerals and is de-ionized, in other words, distilled.

The Best way to Make Coffee at home/Quality Brewing

What’s Brewing?

Before improving your brewing skills, you must know what happens when water meets coffee.

Making coffee is simple, but the bean itself isn’t.

The more time you spend trying to understand the bean, the more complicated it becomes.

It’s almost as if coffee beans do everything to give you a hard time.

By nature, the beans are inconsistent, and if you want to improve your coffee, you must account for the irregularity.

Here, you will learn about coffee’s inconsistencies and how water and coffee interact to make our beloved beverage.

It also describes how (and why) you can manipulate factors such as brew ratio, dose, and grind size to make your brew right.

With a solid understanding of these concepts, you can create the coffee you want to enjoy daily.

Which is the best brewing method in the world?

On the one hand, we have caffeine-addicted espresso nuts, and on the other, we have drip coffee aficionados.

Then there are the Moka pot lovers and the French press plungers!

There are a lot of different brewing methods, and every brewing method has a loyal fan base.

But the truth is that it all comes down to personal choice.

No brewing method is better or worse than the others; it’s different.

One common thing to all brewing methods is that roasted coffee beans are ground into a powder, and then hot water is added to the mixture in different ways.

Of course, there’s also cold brewing, which doesn’t use hot water.

The water extracts the flavors from the coffee, but the timing has to be right; otherwise, it will extract the bitter flavors and result in a bad-tasting coffee.

Brewing great coffee is about being precise and consistent.

In this guide, I am focusing mainly on espresso, as it is the method I love and has the most experience with.

A mixture of Science and Art

Espresso, to me, is on the top of the hip of brewing methods. An espresso machine pushes hot water under pressure over finely ground coffee beans.

Brewing a shot of espresso is a mixture of science and art.

Espresso represents a coffee culture that has spread throughout the world.

The shot of espresso is different from any other brewing method, with a thick, silky texture, concentrated flavors, and caffeine, and It contains more suspended solids and nutrients.

To top it all off is the crema, a layer of emulsified oils found in coffee that cannot be formed by any other method.

There is no standard for pulling the perfect shot; every barista does it in their way.

You place 7-9 grams of coffee grounds packed in tightly in the basket.

The water is heated to just below boiling automatically, it is pushed through the coffee with about ten bars of pressure for 20-25 seconds, and you get a single shot.

When making a double shot, you need to prorate the amount of coffee and the time.

Espresso machine with grinder built in

The machine I use

Brewing Espresso

Start brewing by turning on the machine.

Check that there are enough coffee beans in the grinder and enough water in the espresso machine by looking at the sight glass that indicates the water level, and lastly, clean the group head screen.

Start by detaching the porta-filter from the last brew from the machine, Clean up the porta-filter and the basket in it, and prepare it for the next drink.

Get the porta-filter under the grinder, check that the grind setting is correct, and fill the basket with freshly ground coffee.

Use the tamper, press the coffee well, and mount the porta-filter to the group head.

When you notice that the brewing light has gone off, the water has reached its temperature, and you’re good to go.

Press the brew button and watch the rich, thick brew dripping, creating your espresso shot.


To start frothing, you inset the steam wand almost to the steamer’s button, open the steam valve most of the way, and keep the steam wand like that for a few seconds until the bottom of the steamer feels warm to the touch.

Lower the steamer away from the wand until it is just below the milk surface; keep it there while it begins to froth and when you hear a hissing sound.

When the frothing is done, Insert the wand into the milk and turn the steam down.

Let the milk steam, and in a few seconds, there will be a rise in volume.

When you see a gentle smooth foam forming and it has reached the steamer’s rim, close the steam valve and give the steamer a few swivels to make the foam even more consistent, and it’s ready to pour on the espresso.

How to Ensure the Perfect Espresso?

Adjusting the grind, dosage, and tamping pressure can produce the ideal shot.

The appearance of the crema on the surface is an excellent way to determine if your espresso cup is perfect.

If the crema is whiter than brown, the coffee is under-extracted and needs a finer grind and/or a more firm tamping.

If the crema is burnt or is very dark in the middle, the coffee is over-extracted: possibly the grind is too fine, the dose too large, the tamping too hard, or too much water was run through the coffee.

Remember that it will take some time to master the art of brewing espresso.

Espresso Coffee Drinks

Espresso also forms the base of other popular coffee drinks such as cappuccino, latte, Americano, macchiato, and more.

These drinks are made by adding frothed milk to the espresso shot.

Each drink varies in how the milk is added to the shot and the ratio used.

Macchiato: one part of espresso with a thin layer of micro-foam.

Cappuccino: one part espresso, one part steamed milk, and one part microfoam.

Americano: one part espresso, two parts hot water.

Latte: one part espresso, three parts steamed milk, and a thick layer of microfoam.

Cortado: one part espresso, one part steamed milk.

Flat white: one part espresso, two parts steamed milk, and a thin layer of micro-foam.

There are more variations of drinks made by using espresso coffee by adding different things to it.

Flavored coffees can be made by adding syrups of different flavors. Spices can also be added to enhance the flavor. For example, cappuccino is often served with cinnamon spice.

Home Barista/Conclusion

I hope the information and advice in this guide will help you pursue your perfect cup; like anything else you pursue, making the ideal cup at home will take you on your unique journey.

In this guide, I provided some milestones to help you along on your quest.

Each milestone is/will be a marker that signifies a stage in building a body of knowledge and experience in the wide world of coffee.

You can try many different kinds of coffee beans, brewing methods, and gear; every experience will change your view and taste.

I started with an espresso machine I stumbled upon in a grocery store and bought as a birthday gift for my wife; little I know, that started my exploration of coffee that hasn’t stopped to this day.

Keep learning and trying new blends of beans, the latest brewing techniques and tips, and what’s new here at Brewing Java.

I will always be here to answer any questions you might have.

If you enjoyed reading this guide, tell your friends about it.

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