• Shlomo Krudo

My 5 Step Guide to Making Great Coffee at Home

Updated: Oct 21

The only ideal cup of coffee is how you like to drink it; here, I share my perfect cup of Joe.


What is good coffee?

To brew a delicious coffee cup, you must combine a few factors to create a balanced cup with optimal brew strength and extraction percentage.

With any brewing method you use, when the coffee grounds meet the hot water, the water begins to extract compounds from the coffee beans to create an excellent cup.

The result?

A tasty beverage that fits your taste buds is not too bitter, burnt, or sour. To get there, you need to experiment and try again until you match your taste.

My ideal cup of coffee is the one that feels best in my mouth and makes me feel satisfied. Through the years, I’ve acquired a taste that is all mine, and it’s my measuring stick for any coffee I drink.

Only the coffee I prepare for myself matches this particular taste.


What’s in MY Perfect Cup of Coffee?

My perfect cup of Joe is the result of my unique preferences; let’s break down the elements that make up my favorite cup.

  1. Quality coffee beans

  2. Freshly ground coffee beans

  3. The Degree of the Grind

  4. The water

  5. Quality brewer/brewing

Quality Coffee Beans

My 5 Step Guide to Making Great Coffee at Home | Quality coffee beans | Brewing Java | Take control of your home brewing

My favorite coffee beans are Arabica.

My favorite kind of coffee is Arabica.

Through the years, I realized that my blend is half the light roast and half the medium roast beans. I would skip dark roast altogether. You will have difficulty reaching that perfect cup of coffee with a dark roast.


Storing your beans

I keep the beans I’m using in an airtight bag in a dark place. I generally try to buy just enough beans for a week or two.


Arabica


The first and most common type of coffee is Arabica. 80% of all the coffee being drunk in the world every morning is Arabica. It has a smooth, creamy taste, and it contains less caffeine with a more delicate acidic flavor.

Arabica is the oldest known species of the coffee tree and is a high-grown species. Grown on mountainous plateaus or volcanic slopes.

Arabica trees flower after the rainy season. It will take up to nine months for the fruit to mature. Much of the harvest around the world is “washed” or wet-processed. The beans are generally larger, longer, and flatter than the robusta.

Arabica coffee is more challenging to grow because it’s more susceptible to disease, pests, and frost. And is not surprisingly more expensive than the many varieties of Robusta.


Light Roast vs. Dark Roast

When you’re reading coffee labels, you will find a roast type. Light, medium, or dark is an indicator of flavor strength, with the mildest being light roast and dark roast having the boldest taste. When the beans are darker, the longer they have been roasted.

My 5 Step Guide to Making Great Coffee at Home | Freshly ground coffee beans | Brewing Java | Take control of your home brewing

Freshly ground coffee beans

Freshly Ground Coffee Beans

I grind the coffee beans immediately before brewing to expose the flavors and aromas concentrated inside a coffee bean. However, those flavor compounds don’t last very long once exposed to oxygen.

It took me a while to understand the difference between buying coffee grounds and grinding my coffee beans. Grinding before brewing is a must to get my perfect cup of Joe. Suppose you want to get the freshest coffee and improve your brew’s quality at home.


The Degree of Grind

The degree of grinds you need varies from one brewing method to another. The degree of grind for filter coffee differs from that percolator or an electric espresso machine.

Some coffee grinders would have a guide to the size of granules for the various types of coffee you’re planning to make.

To determine the right degree of grind for your brewing method, get a small number of commercial coffee grounds for your purpose, rub it between your thumb and forefinger, and see how it feels before you start grinding.

I check the degree of grind on my grinder every so often to ensure it stays the same. First, because the grinder’s settings sometimes move. Second, beans roasted darker tend to be softer, and you need to change the setting. Third, the same beans from different parts will be harder or softer.

The Water

My 5 Step Guide to Making Great Coffee at Home | The water | Brewing Java | Take control of your home brewing

The water

I use distilled water for my espresso machine mostly because it doesn’t create scaling, which is the build-up of limescale in the pump of my espresso machine and often builds up inside kettles and other brewing equipment.

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, has virtually no taste, and no one would dream of making coffee with it except me.​

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. ​

Wrong!

Because it does not interfere with extraction, coffee brewed with tasteless, distilled water has a robust coffee flavor. ​

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

Espresso is 98% water.

Espresso is 98% water and is an essential ingredient in espresso preparation. A water filtration system becomes necessary, especially in areas with hard water.

However, any type of water is suitable for making coffee, including spring water, filtered water, and tap water, as long as you let it get to the right temperature. Most machines will have a light indicator that lets you know when the water is ready for brewing.

To sum it up, every kind of water affects the flavor of your coffee. Try it out and find out what’s your type of water.

My 5 Step Guide to Making Great Coffee at Home | Espresso machine | Brewing Java | Take control of your home brewing

The espresso machine I use

Quality Brewing Machine

Brewing great coffee is about being precise and consistent. Above is my espresso machine, and it comes with a technique associated with it, like any other brewing gear. By repeating the same steps in the process over and over and making mistakes, I improved my perfect cup of Joe.

I tried and used just about every brewing method and still experimented with different brewing methods. From my experience, I didn’t get the same quality brew when I used simple, cheap espresso machines.

I start brewing by turning on my machine by looking at the sight glass. That indicates the water level, and I clean the group head screen.

Brewing

I detach 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.

Placing the portafilter under the grinder is my next step while I fill the basket with freshly ground coffee. I place the porta-filter to the built-in tamper, press the coffee well, and mount the porta-filter to the group head.

In the meantime, I prepared a coffee cup with a spoon full of blue-agave syrup. And filled up the steamer with a third very cold goat’s milk to froth.

My brewing light went off, meaning the water reached its temperature, and I was good to go.

Pressing on the brew button, I watch the rich, thick brew dripping, creating my espresso shot, and in this case, a double shot. All I have to do is stir the coffee and finish brewing.


Frothing

I don’t always want to froth milk. Sometimes I feel like having that double espresso shot I just brewed without adding any foam or milk.

Mostly, I do froth milk only to use the foam and a slight amount of milk, which resembles a macchiato.

It’s best to use cold water for frothing. Milk’s proteins are more stable when chilled, allowing air to become trapped in the bubbles more easily.


High Fat Milk vs Low Fat Milk

Higher fat milk creates a richer foam with more body, but lower-fat milk creates more foam.

To start frothing, I inset the steam wand almost the button of the steamer. 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.

I lower the steamer from the wand until the wand is just below the milk surface. I keep it there while it begins to froth and hear a hissing sound.

When I feel that the frothing is done, I insert the wand further into the milk and turn the steam down. I let the milk steam, and in a few seconds, there will be a rise in volume.

When I see a gentle smooth foam forming, I close the steam valve and give the steamer a few swivels to make the foam consistent. With a soup spoon, I take about 4-5 spoons of foam and milk and pour it over the espresso shots. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon, and Voila, my perfect cup of Joe, is ready.

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