To culminate this coffee week in which celebrations are taking place all over the world, we want to defend the art of good coffee at home. Because we love a good cup of this simple but, at the same time, complex infusion, and we think it is worth following some basic tips to taste it as it deserves. There’s nothing like good coffee at any time of the day, but there are also few things worse than bad coffee.
There are many ways to prepare quality coffee, depending on the customs of each culture, the coffee maker used and personal tastes. It is clear that having a good machine is an important first step, and we can invest all the budget that we want to allow ourselves, but it is not the only thing to consider. In fact, our country is full of coffee shops full of professional machinery from which drinks that are more purgative than coffee come out. Don’t let the same thing happen to you at home!
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1. Buy good natural coffee and forget the roasted
There are different varieties of coffee, but the most consumed around the world are two: arabic and robust. Arabica contains less caffeine and provides a milder coffee with fruity aromas. Robustas have more body, are somewhat more bitter, concentrate a greater amount of caffeine and are usually perceived as stronger in flavor. They can also be found mixtures of both varieties in different proportions.
Of what there is to fleeing forever is from the roasted, a crime against quality coffee. Despite what many people still believe, it does not contain more caffeine because it appears to be “stronger.” It is simply more bitter because it is mixed with sugar, which when heated caramelizes and burns, destroying the qualities of the coffee. Always, always, natural coffee.
2. Bet on coffee beans
Coffee beans are a delicate raw material that begins to lose properties the more they are processed. That is why it is convenient buy coffee beans to grind at home, either with an automatic coffee machine or with a grinder that we buy separately. If it is manual, much better, although a good electric grinder will always be better than buying ground coffee.
The coffee begins to release its aromas from the moment it is ground, thus losing flavor. In addition, it will be more affected by contact with the atmosphere, air and light. It is a shame to buy good coffee that in a few days it will have lost part of its aromas and its body because it is ground before its time.
3. Always look for the freshest coffee
It is not only convenient to grind the grains at the moment, it is also advisable to acquire the freshest coffee possible. The less time has elapsed since it has been harvested, dried, transported and roasted, the better. That is why it is better to trust professionals who are real specialists, who treat the coffee they sell with the care it deserves.
Of course, it is key that we can be assured that the beans are roasted daily, to take them home as fresh as possible. They must also be well preserved, you should never buy coffee that is exposed to air or light, because even if it has not yet been ground, external agents also affect its quality.
4. Adjust the degree of grinding
To adjust much more perfectly it is necessary to pay attention to the degree of grinding. With the grinding of the coffee beans, what we seek is to facilitate the extraction by means of the infusion, so it should be different depending on the preparation method. Great professional baristas know its importance and master it perfectly, since a variation of the setting in the coffee machines can drastically change the quality of the cups.
We do not have to complicate ourselves too much at home. It is enough to know that, the longer the coffee is in contact with water, the thicker the grain should be. For example, for filtering procedures that require more than 5 minutes, we will be looking for a coarse grind, while espresso or Italian coffee makers require a finer grain. It can also be played to suit personal taste.
5. Pay attention to the water
The other essential ingredient for making coffee is water, and we shouldn’t take it lightly. It is the base of the infusion and should be of the best possible quality, since bad water can spoil any preparation. And you should never use hot water to speed up the process, it must be heated gradually so as not to affect the natural infusion process.
Choose mineral water as far as possible, or at least not hard water. It should not present strange odors, it should be totally transparent and better with weak mineralization. If it is a water that when drinking it suggests some flavor note, it is better to discard it. The temperature must always be constant, and in manual processes, it is recommended to pour the water just before boiling.
6. Adjust the water-coffee ratio
Here it depends a bit on the particular tastes and the coffee culture of the region, but it is not a proportion that should be left to chance. It also depends on the type of coffee maker that we are going to use; for example, with the Italian one it is recommended to fill with water up to the valve, without submerging it. It is clear that the higher the proportion of water, the more “claret” the coffee will come out, with less body and less aroma.
The amount of coffee for each infusion is equally important. Again, different coffeemakers have different settings, and you shouldn’t go overboard. A espresso usually has about 8 grams of coffee, and although professionals should press it, in the Italian coffee maker we should not do it. The coffee must be allowed to fall naturally without crushing it in the tank.
7. The cup matters
Yes, there are many different mugs with the most varied designs, but in the end the classic prevails in terms of quality. We are talking about cups for espresso, ristretto or black coffee, since the other drinks can better adapt to other types of containers and play with it. The color should be neutral, better white, because this way it will not affect the psychological perception of the flavor, although it goes in tastes.
It is traditionally used porcelain because it is a noble, resistant material and because it preserves heat better. The glass or crystal allows you to see the interior, appreciate the colors and the texture of the coffee, its uniformity and its cream, but it loses temperature quickly. A good alternative is double-bottomed cups, but in any case, make sure they are not cold before filling them with coffee. The Conical shape It is suitable for the infusion to fall gently into the cup, without splashing.
8. Serve the coffee at the moment
If you want to spoil a good coffee, let it cool down and reheat it in the microwave until it smokes. Obviously, we do not recommend that you do it, unless you are only looking for a dose of caffeine and do not mind really enjoying a good cup. Again, maximum freshness is important, also when tasting the drink. Without burning yourself, of course, but the coffee is always fresh.
In the moment in which gets cold We will no longer be able to appreciate the coffee at its peak of aroma, body and flavor, and it will also lose the cream. There is an exception to this rule, of course, only when we are going to prepare cold or iced coffees. As important as the infusion temperature is the serving temperature, as is the case with food.
9. Don’t forget about maintenance and cleaning
Many times the key behind a bad bar coffee is in the bad cleaning of the machine, or a careless maintenance of the same. At home, regardless of the coffee maker we have, we should never forget certain basic care. No leaving the coffee grounds in the Italian coffee maker until the next day, or letting dirt accumulate in the deposits.
Like any other kitchen utensil, the coffee maker should be cleaned properly after each use, and using the right products. Automatic machines will also require periodic descaling and other specific care indicated by the manufacturers. The myth that a dirty “veteran” coffee maker will make better coffee is totally false. If we do not clean it, we run the risk of affecting the taste of the coffee and clogging its components.
10. Be careful what you add to your cup
A barista will almost always recommend taste the coffee alonebecause it is the only way to appreciate all its perfect qualities. Without entering the world of cappuccinos, lattes and others, adding milk, cream, liquor, sugar, honey or any sweetener will affect the original taste of a good coffee. Unfortunately today they still look at you weirdly if you drink coffee “dry stick”, although I recognize that many of the coffees that serve you out there are unbeatable without help.
In any case, we must be aware that everything we add a posteriori will modify the taste of the coffee that they have prepared for us. Artificial sweeteners are terrible in general, as they leave a metallic aftertaste that spoils any coffee, and if the milk has been heated too much it can make the coffee bitter – by burning the sugars. At home we can prepare the coffee as we like best, it would be missing more, but it is worth trying accustom the palate to appreciate a single coffee, especially if it is served by a good professional.
11. Keep the coffee correctly (and do not buy too much)
Since you have bothered to find a good supplier of quality coffee, natural and roasted on a daily basis, it is worth paying attention to its conservation at home. We have insisted that the beans lose their aroma as the days go by, so we will try to slow down the process. First: don’t buy too much coffee. The 250 g packages are ideal if there are not many of us at home, you could even buy less if you make coffee infrequently. Nothing to get carried away by offers or accumulate large amounts; We have to make frequent trips to buy if we want the highest quality.
When it comes to keeping it, you should always look for clean, opaque, airtight and fragrance-free containers strangers. Heat is very harmful, that’s why some people keep it in the fridge, although except in hot summers it is not really necessary – and it can be counterproductive due to humidity and odors. Choose jars of a good material, with the hermetic lid intact, that are not too large, and store them in a …