These tips turn an average cup of joe into a smooth and rich beverage that would make your local barista proud. 10 rules to follow for a better coffee at home and rediscovering your favorite drink, becoming a coffee connoisseur in the process:
1. Measure everything
The first coffee-making secret you need to learn is precision. The only way to consistently brew perfect cups of coffee is using a scale to get an exact coffee-to-water ratio.
For reference, the standard cup of coffee you order at a café has a 1:18 brew ratio. That is one part coffee to eighteen parts water, which produces a light-bodied drink with just the right flavor balance. For a stronger drink that is full of taste and fragrance, use a 1:14 ratio or even a 1:12 ratio. Our favorite ratio at Barvivo? 1:17.
And that's the beauty of making your coffee: you can experiment with different coffee-to-water ratios and stick to the exact amount that you like best. It's just a matter of finding the perfect measure.
2. Use mineral or filtered water at the right temperature
It's only natural to be obsessed with finding the highest quality coffee beans for your brew, but what about water? After all, coffee is 90 to 99% water, so it makes sense to use the purest one you can find.
Mineral water might seem a little far off, but using it is one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of the coffee you brew at home. Also, filtered tap water is a convenient, more sustainable choice that will also step up your game when it comes to making delicious coffee at home.
Temperature is no less important: the sweet spot is between 90 - 96 ºC (195 - 205 ºF). The complexity of flavor that is so unique to coffee will only shine when brewed at a temperature of at least 90 ºC (195 ºF), however, drive the temperature past 96 ºC (205 ºF) and you'll have an excessively bitter and acid coffee.
A kitchen thermometer is a great tool to check the temperature since it has other uses as well such as reading the temperature of the oil before cooking, but if you want to go for that familiar, old-school feel you should try the Barvivo Premium Whistling Kettle. It works on any kind of stovetop and will let you know when the water is at the perfect temperature with the nostalgic sound of its whistle. Whatever you use, here's a simple trick: water that has boiled for about 30 seconds is usually within the ideal temperature range.
3. Use high-quality beans —and grind them too
Using freshly ground roasted coffee beans to brew your cup of coffee —pure bliss. Buying a bag of high-quality beans will not only guarantee you get the best cup of coffee at home, but it's also the only way to make sure you're getting an ethically sourced, sustainable product. Our recommendations: always go for 100% arabica coffee, and get light or medium roasted coffee beans, avoiding darkly roasted coffee.
Check the roast date of your coffee beans (it should be displayed on the pack). During the first 8 days after roasting, the roasted coffee beans are releasing their naturally present aromatic compounds, a process known as degassing. Don't open the bag until four or five days after the roast date to let the coffee beans develop: you'll find it easier to make consistently great cups of coffee.
A newly opened bag of coffee beans will fill your home with the wonderful scent of a cozy café, bringing back a flood of memories.
After reveling in this unique moment, it's grinding time. Make sure to use a burr grinder and not a blade grinder to grind your coffee beans. You'll need a specific grind size depending on your brewing method to avoid an excessively bitter or acidic coffee. As a general rule, a french press or cold brew coffee maker calls for a coarse grind, a pour-over requires a medium grind, and espresso a fine grind.
On the same note, keeping your coffee beans fresh is crucial to always get a flavorful cup of coffee out of your beans. For this, the Barvivo Premium Coffee Canister is a perfect choice thanks to its airtight container and engraved roast date tracker.
4. Bloom your coffee
Try pouring water over your freshly ground coffee beans: you'll notice bubbles start to form up. This phenomenon is caused by carbon dioxide present in roasted coffee being released, which is known as blooming.
The rule of thumb is to add an amount of water equal to double the amount of coffee you're using and wait for about 30 seconds before adding the rest of the water to start the brewing process.
The bloom will improve the quality of your cup of coffee by removing the carbon dioxide from your coffee, and with it, its sour and acidic flavor.
5. Try using a french press
Using a french press for coffee making has multiple advantages: you won't need a paper filter (nor you will get its odor and flavor in your coffee), you'll be able to easily bloom your coffee, and will get an intense and thick beverage that is the favorite of baristas from all over the world.
A french press cup of coffee is quite characteristic —sediments usually get past the mesh filter and settle at the bottom of the cup, something that not everybody's fond of. However, the rich flavor of coffee made with a french press is a good enough tradeoff for a muddy last sip that you don't even have to drink.
Anyway, with a quality french press, this won't even be a problem. The Barvivo French Press has a triple filtering system to trap any ground coffee sediment while seeping all the aromatic compounds into the hot water. Trying this brewing method might just make you fall in love even more with a damn fine cup of coffee.
6. Make your own cold brew coffee
Cold brew coffee is a beverage that continues to soar in popularity. It is a coffee drink that results from steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in room temperature water overnight. This produces nothing but sweet, smooth, and rich coffee, that is less acidic and bitter than regular coffee.
Cold brew coffee makers are very en vogue these days, and getting a cold brew coffee maker for your home bar is a decision you are unlikely to regret. Not only cold brew coffee is a much better alternative to iced coffee, but it's also a key ingredient of some spectacular cocktails.
7. Chill your glass before serving iced coffee or cold brew
This one's quite straightforward: let your glass rest in the freezer for 5 minutes before serving iced coffee or cold brew. It will prevent the coffee from turning lukewarm the moment it hits the glass, which is particularly undesirable on a hot summer afternoon.
8. Sprinkle your ground coffee beans with this secret ingredient
Although this might come off as a deal-breaker for coffee purists, there's an ingredient that will not only make your cup of java taste better, it also has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antitumor, cardiovascular, cholesterol-lowering, and immunomodulatory effects according to research by Food Science and Nutrition.
This magical spice can't be any other than cinnamon. Besides being a great sugar substitute for your coffee, it will boost your mood and put your brain to work. Just make sure to sprinkle a dash of it after you grind the coffee beans and not before. You should only grind coffee beans in your grinder!
9. Meticulously clean your coffee maker
Cleaning your coffee maker regularly and thoroughly will prevent old coffee grounds from muddling freshly made coffee with a bad taste and aroma. If your coffee maker has a mesh filter, make sure it's spotless before making any new coffee.
A great way to effortlessly clean your coffee maker is by pouring water, half a teaspoon of baking soda, and a splash of vinegar and letting it sit overnight. The next morning, just rinse and get brewing again.
10. Steam your milk
Drinking black coffee is the only way of enjoying the flavor of great coffee to its fullest, but who can resist a creamy, delicious cup of caffe latte?
By steaming full-fat milk instead of boiling it, you'll get a thick, foamy liquid that is a match made in heaven to your coffee. Plus, it tastes so much better, adding its naturally sweet flavor to your drink.
To steam your milk, heat it to 60 ºC (140 ºF). If you don't have a milk thermometer, heat the milk in a pot until you can barely stand to touch the outside.
Trying these tips will change the way you make coffee and will put you on the way to becoming an amateur barista. But remember, it's all about experimentation: try and find the rules that work best for you and follow them meticulously for consistently better coffee.