Making the perfect espresso involves quite simple steps in a sense that most of the job is done by your espresso machine. However it’s still not going to be perfect without your intervention – meaning your coffee-making skills and other important brewing variables like type of water, type of coffee beans, and machine temperature among others should all be taken into play.
Since this is a beginner’s guide, let us get down to the basics first. Maybe you just bought a new espresso machine or you’ve just decided to make your own espresso at home instead of spending your money on it every day at your local coffee shop. Whichever it is, you probably want to learn the essential steps on how to make an espresso, and eventually make it perfect for your taste.
First, what is an espresso?
Espresso is one way to brew coffee. It isn’t a type of coffee bean or a type of roast. When making espresso, you (with the help of the machine) technically push hot water through compact coffee grounds at high pressure.
When you see bags of coffee labeled as espresso, it’s either because the beans were already ground to fine size for espresso brewing or it’s a blend that’s made specifically to taste like espresso when brewed.
Once you purchase a bag of beans, you have to make sure that the beans remain fresh – should be no more than 2 weeks from the roast date and ground right before brewing. Certain aromatics and oils can evaporate from ground coffee within 20 minutes of grinding so it’s crucial that you dose and compact the coffee into a basket or portafilter quickly.
Important Brewing Variables to Consider
Grind: Making espresso requires finer grinds compared to other methods of brewing. Think: particles like table salt. In this case, burr grinders are highly recommended because they produce more even grind and also won’t overheat and cook your coffee.
Water: Too many times, you probably won’t care about the water you use for brewing but in truth, it plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect espresso. Too much unnecessary minerals and sediments may affect the taste of your espresso so it’s important that you know the quality of your water before brewing. You can always ask your local water source for details of your water quality and if that’s not available, you can use a simple carbon filter to get rid of unnecessary particles from your water.
Dose: The standard serving size for a double-shot espresso is usually 18-21 grams of coffee. More coffee means increase in both body and intensity. The dose is, of course, based on the taste you prefer so you can always adjust accordingly. For accuracy, you can also use a gram scale to measure your coffee.
Temperature: Ideally, 195-205F is used when heating water. You will find that some espresso machines will allow you to control the temperature.
Tamping: Since espresso means concentrated way of making coffee, tamping is generally high-pressured creating a restriction in the flow of water which will then force coffee and water to interact. A 30-pound press applied evenly is usually needed. For even extraction, tamping has to be firm and even.
Yield: Start with a 30-gram yield and then depending on your dose and the size of your basket, you can aim for about 2 ounces of espresso out. This is enough to fill a large shot glass.
Time: For a double-shot espresso at 2 ounces, you can expect about 25-30 seconds between the start of extraction and the time your shot glass is full.
Materials to Use:
- Espresso machine that has solid components, stable temperatures, and a sensible interface
- Grinder– burr grinder is best since it produces finer grounds
- Filter – some espresso machines already have this; use a two-spouted portafilter then insert a double basket
- Tamper– pick one that best fits your portafilter basket
- Gram scale – use to measure weight, monitor consistency, and produce accurate results
- Shot glass – a regular shot glass will do but if you want to be very accurate with the espresso you’re pulling, you can use a volumetric shot glass
Steps to Make an Espresso
- Place your portafilter on a gram scale and weigh it.
- Purge your espresso machine’s grouphead thoroughly with hot water.
- Use a burr grinder to grind between 18-21 grams of coffee into your basket.
- Make sure the coffee grounds are even in your basket. You can use your finger to distribute the coffee evenly through alternating swipes. Swipe your finger to alternate sides of the basket (top to bottom then left to right) in a series of 90-degree increments.
- Put the portafilter on a clean and stable surface. Position your tamper on top of the grounds, making sure that your arm is forming a 90-degree angle.
- Apply downward pressure (20-30 pounds of pressure will do) for the coffee to be evenly sealed.
- Spin the tamper gently. This spin should smooth or even out the coffee grounds for a more polished and accurate extraction.
- Place the portafilter with the coffee grounds back to the machine’s grouphead and start your shot.
- Watch as your shot drips slowly and gently at first, eventually creating an even stream or flow of coffee. Just near the 30-second mark, stop the shot just before it starts to thicken and turn yellow.
And that’s just about it; you are now ready to serve your espresso shot! If you made it for yourself, take pride in making your own. If it’s for someone else, you can prepare a tablespoon because some people want to stir their espresso while some people prefer to sip it immediately to get that extra kick right.
Enjoy your espresso!
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Watching coffee videos online gives you a front seat view on the hands-on approaches of coffee experts in the industry. From coffee tutorials to the latest updates in the coffee market, these channels will keep your eyes open on how coffee fuels the lives of people from around the world. Get a cup of coffee or two, because you’ll have a whole new appreciation for coffee through these must-watch resources.
CoffeeFusion is one of those Youtube channels that is like a personal coffee expert-slash-trainer in your pocket. They have a wealth of practical tips and tricks on how to brew coffee, create latte art, and coffee tutorials. They have an Espresso 101 Online Coffee School series which helps you jumpstart your barista skills and start brewing like a pro.
Seattle Coffee Gear is on top of the list of recommended coffee Youtube channels according to various online forums. They’re one of the top authorities in the coffee industry, and their channel is subscribed by coffee enthusiasts worldwide. They also provide all honest reviews about coffee equipment and videos on latte art.
RecoSymposium takes on the economic and cultural side of the coffee industry. Get a good overview on the world of coffee through this channel. You’ll be the audience to the various talks by coffee experts on how coffee moves the world economy.
Here’s a talk by Adina Wasserman on understanding coffee consumers.
Dritan Alsela is a great barista and latte artist, and his channel on Youtube gives you a glimpse into his beautiful world of crafting coffee. You’ll get inspired by his tremendous talent through the many coffee videos on his channel.
You can also check out Dritan Alesla’s coffee school here.
SCAA is the leading authority in the US coffee industry; and their Youtube channel features events, barista championships, coffee tutorials, and so much more. It’s like getting a daily dose of everything about the coffee industry as you subscribe to this channel.
Check out this wonderfully inspiring SCAA video about how coffee connects all of us together in the world.
Sweet Maria’s is one of those coffee suppliers that so many people depend on to feed their need for coffee every day. They have fun coffee videos on different aspects of the world of coffee. Get updated on what’s brewing in the industry through this channel.
This channel is a passion project of O’Rear and his friends as they document coffee hotspots around town. If you want to know the best coffee shops in Southern California, subscribe to this channel and be inspired to book a ticket just to get a taste of their awesome coffee.
They also have coffee tutorials such as how to make the perfect French press coffee.
A Whole Latte Love features lifestyle topics about coffee. They have tutorials, shopping guides, coffee tips, and latte art tutorials for you to improve your coffee expertise. You’ll also get a lot of ideas on which coffee maker to pick and coffee recipes to try.
They have a holiday gift guide that will help you decide what to buy this Christmas.
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Making a great coffee involves creating the best shot and the perfect steamed milk. Steaming milk may sound easy to do, but in truth, it’s actually tricky. It takes proper techniques to come up with the best-steamed milk.
Although there are ways to steam milk at home using a microwave, doing so may not result to properly steamed milk perfect for lattes and cappuccinos. Steaming milk is best done using an espresso machine. When doing this, the milk gets exposed to high pressured steam and once the steam gradually enters the milk, the natural fats of the milk expand to be what we call micro-foam.
Micro-foam is called such because it’s composed of very small or invisible air bubbles called grain. Creating micro-foam requires what baristas call stretching (or aerating) and texturing (or emulsifying). After steaming, you should have a creamy, velvety batch of milk that’s best for lattes and cappuccinos.
If you’re ready to create your own steamed milk, here are the steps to begin.
Fill your pitcher or jug with cold milk.
Although quite obvious, you have to take note that you don’t just fill with as much milk as you can. Fill the jug with half full of cold milk. When you pour the milk, make sure that it’s just below the jug spout. Filling the jug all the way to the top will not give it enough space once the milk’s volume increases.
The cold milk should also be poured in a colder pitcher. This ensures a longer steaming window which positively affects the milk texture.
Milk stretching is the part when you allow air gently into the milk to create a micro-foam. At this point, you have to turn the steam on and position the nozzle of the steam wand just below the surface of the milk or a fraction under it – creating a hissing sound while also spinning the milk in a whirlpool motion.
Listen to the hissing or popping sound and watch the milk volume increase. If you are making a latte, less micro-foam will do while if you are making a cappuccino, more micro-foam is best. Therefore, making a cappuccino means you have to stay on the stretching stage for longer compared to when you’re making a latte.
Once you have created your desired amount of micro-foam (usually the milk should have increased roughly 50% of the volume), you can now proceed to texturing.
Texturing, also called spinning, starts when your milk increases in volume (as specified in the previous step). At this point, you have to dip the nozzle of the steam wand by another fraction just below the milk surface (half a centimeter will do). From there, you can continue to spin the milk in a whirlpool motion.
You would also want to come up with a flat whirlpool of milk during this stage of steaming. Do not allow the milk volume to increase any more. When you find that it still rises, try turning the steam level down just enough for the milk to stay steady. You should also not be hearing any hissing or popping sound anymore at this stage.
To help you get the perfect whirlpool of milk, tilt the pitcher or jug a little and see to it that the steam wand is a little off-center. Do your best to keep the wand in that position until you finish steaming.
You should know when to stop when the pitcher is already too hot to hold or touch. One of the reasons that metal pitchers are used to steaming milk is for you to feel when the temperature heats up. Ideal temperature should be 49-60 degrees Celsius or 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. When you’re making a latte, 50 degrees Celsius is recommended.
A lower or steady milk temperature will result in a richer and sweeter flavor while too hot will lead to a burnt kind of taste.
Once you get your desired micro-foam, remove the pitcher and wipe off the steam wand immediately to prevent the milk residue from hardening. This can be hard to remove in your next steam.
Now, tap out the air bubbles to groom or polish the texture of the milk. Give the pitcher one big thump or swirl. Leave it to sit on the counter while you’re pouring the espresso shot.
Now how about creating your own latte art? Here are our beginners’ hacks for creating yours!
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Everybody wants to wake up to a nice and warm cup of coffee. It’s basic and necessary for all caffeine-driven individuals. Although several people prefer purely black coffee, some also prefer a beautiful cup of coffee with art, thus the latte art addiction.
It’s understandable! Sometimes, drinking the same old coffee can get boring and so latte art is invented to spice up your coffee-drinking game. Creating latte art is a skill and just like any other skills, it requires patience and practice. You can even make it at your own home.
To start with, you will need the following materials:
• A cup (wide-mouthed is recommended)
• A pitcher or a jug
• A thermometer & steam wand
• A latte art tool; if unavailable, you can also use toothpick or skewer
• Espresso machine; if unavailable, you can use a microwave
• Chocolate syrup (optional)
- To create creamy milk foam, you need cold milk. Full fat milk or whole milk is highly preferred. It should be fresh and shouldn’t be exposed to heat or light before steaming. Remember – only steam what you need because you should steam the milk only once. No re-steaming!
- Use a clean and cold stainless steel pitcher or jug with a narrow stream. Fill it up with just enough milk for your cup of latte.
- Before using the steam wand, clear it from any condensation by turning the steam on all the way so that it has 1 bar of steam pressure. If the steam tip has more holes, there’s more chance that the bubble texture is nice and tight.
- When steaming milk, you can use a thermometer with a clip so that it’s attached to the jug. Adjust the thermometer correctly and wait until the heat reaches 140-180 F. If you see some big bubbles, gently tap the pitcher of milk on a table or counter top to get rid of the bubbles. Once it looks creamy, you’re ready to pour it to your coffee.
- If you don’t own a home espresso machine, there’s actually a way for you to microwave your milk and still come up with a decent cup of latte.
- Before you can achieve a good looking latte art, you have to learn how to make a good espresso and milk. So go make a fresh espresso drink with a thick and strong layer of crema and consistently make silky and glossy milk foam. This helps in creating better latte art.
- Ideally, 7-8 grams of ground espresso makes a perfect shot. Remember not to let it sit for more than 10 seconds before pouring the milk.
- Stick to a wide-mouthed low cup when you’re practicing instead of switching from one type of cup to another. This way you can focus on just one type of cup for the time being and eventually master your design using that cup.
- Before pouring the milk, make sure you swirl the pitcher to incorporate the foam into the milk. When the foam and the milk separate too much, it will be difficult to create a nice latte art.
- Remember to pour the milk as soon possible after steaming. Don’t pour too slowly because this will leave the foam behind the jug but also don’t pour too quickly because this will break the crema of your espresso. The goal is for the milk to break through the crema and not break it apart. Take control of the flow.
- Start your design by tilting the cup slightly and pouring milk at the middle of the cup or as close to it as possible. This helps push the layers around to create good contrast and symmetry.
- When pouring the milk, this rhyme from Serious Eats appears to be handy: Start high and slow, then bring it down low. Finish it off with increase the flow. Hold your pitcher or jug just high enough to not create splashes and mess. Bring it down low for the pitcher to touch the cup so that more design will appear. Then after bringing it down, increase the flow to finish off your cup of latte
Below is a demonstration of how to pour milk to create your own latte art. Video courtesy of Howcast.
It might look easy but it’s actually tricky, and you’ll only get better with practice. That includes practicing how to make the perfect espresso, how to steam milk, and how to pour it to your coffee. There are also lots of videos to refer to on YouTube so you might want to consider checking some if you really want to get better with latte art. Have fun and good luck!
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There’s a plethora of coffee resources online, but what if you want to get into an intensive course and get accreditation? For coffee enthusiasts, this would be an excellent opportunity to get an in-depth understanding about the thing they love the most. It’s not just about coffee for drinking, but it’s everything about the industry and the nitty-gritty of every aspect from production to consumption.
We’ve rounded up the Top 5 coffee courses you can find online and what you’ll get from each one of them.
The SCAA is the golden standard for learning everything about coffee. They represent every segment of the coffee industry, and they have members in more than 40 countries worldwide. They set the standards for the industry and conduct research, education, training, and business services for their members.
SCAA offers a comprehensive program called Educational Pathways. Each pathway focuses on a different aspect of the specialty coffee field. You might be interested in one or more of the following:
- Foundations of Coffee: The entire program starts with this course to give you a comprehensive view of each pathway.
- Barista Pathway: This course is endorsed by the Barista Guild of America. It has beginner to advanced coursework in espresso, milk preparation, and drink building.
- Coffee Buyer Pathway: You’ll get lessons from leading professionals about quality control and supply chain management. You can also take the entire course online.
- Roaster Pathway: This pathway explores the craft and science of making coffee, and is endorsed by the Roasters Guild.
- Coffee Taster Pathway: You’ll be the quality control expert as a coffee taster with sensory analysis training.
For more info on their course catalog, you can find it here.
Boot Camp Barista offers a free online course which gives you 30-day access to their resources. You’ll also get a “You Did It” Barista Certificate after taking it. They also have intensive online courses (paid) where you can learn to control the quality of your coffee and get instruction from world-class trainers.
They’ve made their intensive courses available at CoffeeCourses.com. Here’s what you’ll get from their various coffee pro resources:
- Mastering Roast Profiles
- Coffee at Origin
- Art of Blending
- Coffee Roasting Theory
- Advanced Roasting
- Basic Barista Skills
- Build Your Coffee Store
- Coffee Quality Analysis
This barista resource site is a good starting point in learning more about coffee. Their coffee school is mostly based in London, Dublin, and Glasgow. The site has downloadable resources, videos and how-to guides, and tips for opening a coffee shop.
Here are the links to their specific resources
- Barista Downloads
- Videos and How-To Guides
- Top Ten Tips for Opening a Coffee Shop
- Espresso Warehouse
Coffee Cup Training aims to provide an e-learning and mobile learning tool for your coffee business. They have free training courses, as well as paid courses which provide complete training for your business and staff.
It’s like having a teacher or coffee consultant right in your pocket. No need to download apps and you can start training using your smartphone, tablet or PC.
La Marzocco and ChefSteps have partnered to provide high-quality barista training videos. The course offers seven lessons, 12 HD videos, and more resources to build you up in the industry. You can learn for free at ChefSteps.com.
These are just a few things you will learn through their online course:
- Introduction to Espresso
- Making Your Own Espresso
- Additional Information about equipment, buying coffee beans, espresso discussions, and so much more.
There are so many ways to spice up the same old coffee you drink everyday. We get it. You love classic black coffee or the usual latte. But wouldn’t you want to go far beyond that and try something a little different? We scoured the web for some of the easiest and delicious coffee drink recipes that will make the coffee lover in you jump in delight.
What’s good about making your own coffee drinks at home is that you can control the ingredients you add to your drink or substitute anything you like and in the process, save cash! Just imagine how much you spend in coffee shops everyday. Win!
Here you go. Click the link to see the details of each recipe.
This is an easy and scrumptious frozen treat combining coffee, kahlua, vodka, and ice cream. Yes, you’ve just read vodka. Sounds super interesting right? That’s right! Coffee + vodka. Doesn’t that make your heart pitter-patter? Super easy to do with just a few ingredients.
If you love nuts combined with coffee, you should try this delicious cold coffee frappe. It’s definitely a perfect beverage to jump start your day. You can serve it with fresh dollop of cream and chocolate sprinkles on top. Now, who doesn’t love that?
A surprisingly delicious coffee frappe whipped from labor of love. The fact that it’s homemade adds a special touch to it. Plus, there’s peppermint. Check it out!
Dubbed as the drink that’s too good to be true, this beverage is “cold, creamy, rich, satisfying, and only 50 calories per serving.” Now you know why it’s too good to be true.
This recipe makes two drinks and can even outdo those that you buy from Starbucks. It’s much healthier and of course a lot cheaper, plus it’s fluffy and foamy and can be prepared in a minute. Talk about convenience!
This is not just another homemade drink and certainly looks like dessert in a cup. If you need a caffeine boost on a chilly day, this makes the perfect beverage. In fact, it’s brilliant!
Why buy pumpkin spice latte when you can make one? It’s convenient, affordable, delicious, and homemade. This beverage is best consumed on a cold weather while you cozy up in your couch or bed. In fact, this will probably make you forget about going to coffee shops especially when it’s so cold outside.
Do you want to level up your iced coffee drinks? This pick-me-upper is a must-try! If you have lots of bananas at home and you’re worried sick about what to do with them, then worry no more. You can have your dose of caffeine with your favorite fruit without paying a hefty price.
Black Forest is just about everybody’s favorite. The rich chocolate flavor is a sure treat to everyone. If you’re a coffee lover, you’ll be thrilled to know you can make your own black forest coffee. How does that sound to you? Try it. Serve with whipped cream and a cherry, then add more choco syrup if you like.
There’s something about the mention of old-fashioned that makes it so intriguing. This beverage has no pretense though. It’s simply delicious and something you’d want to whip on a cold evening while watching your favorite shows on TV or while reading a book. Fancy making one?
Chilled + hot? You might be a little bit confused. You never have to think too much how to cook up this beverage because it’s really super easy and a nice variation to your usual hot chocolate.
The word “homemade” certainly has a homey feel to it. Rightfully so! If you love anything homemade, add this to your list. It can be easily personalized to your liking. This is also best if you want a burst of flavors in your latte as the ingredients of this recipe make a great combination.
Featuring rich chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and coconut – this beverage is really your version of coffee dessert. It’s also very easy to make. Adding coconut rum to it just makes everything tasty and desirable!
Enjoy this caramel-drizzled drink anytime in the comforts of your home. First, you don’t have to buy one from your local coffee shop. Second, it’s just the perfect combo of sweet, spice, and everything nice.
Vanilla is classic. You’ll be surprise you’re spending too much on vanilla beverages from coffee shops when you can actually make one everyday. You will definitely save tons of cash when you learn to whip this rich and cream vanilla coffee.
Mason jars are so in! It’s not surprising if someone comes up with a mason jar coffee recipe because that’s simply awesome. Strong and easy but versatile, a cold brew coffee might just be your favorite way of feeding your body the caffeine it needs to survive the day. Best thing? You don’t need anything fancy to give it a try.
Sounds fancy? It’s surprisingly very quick and easy. This drink definitely gives a different kind of touch to your regular coffee. In just a few minutes, you’ll be proud you’ve made something Scandinavian.
Said to be “a love affair for your taste buds”, bulletproof coffee is worth creating. It’s creamy, wonderful, and delicious. If you want to whip up something healthy, then try this at home. You won’t be sorry you tried something new.
18. Coffee Shake
Much like an iced cappuccino, this blended coffee drink is a great alternative for that overpriced drink you buy at a restaurant or coffee shop. You can even make it non-dairy by using soy milk. Simply, quick, and satisfies the caffeine-driven.
19. Eggnog Latte
Holiday season is coming up! Got an espresso machine at home? Eggnog latte is something you can easily make on your own, perfect as a holiday treat. Holiday or not though, you’ll surely be delighted with this drink.
This light frozen coffee drink can be personalized easily. If you’re in a rush and in need of your daily dose of caffeine, this can be done in just 5 minutes.
Rich and delicious, this hot buttered toffee coffee is another perfect beverage for the cold weather. It’s so good you would want to whip it everyday. Sounds like a great plan, huh?
Sounds intriguing, isn’t it? This sugar-free + fat-free coffee is definitely the bomb. It’s bursting with flavor and you can even add your own touch to it. For additional flair, top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with shaved bittersweet chocolate and finely crushed hazelnuts. Then you’re good to go!
This is a unique and bubbly coffee concoction. If you want to try drinking coffee without some kind of a cream, then you’ll enjoy the mix of sparkling water and espresso in this nice cup of drink.
24. Mexican Coffee
A nice beverage on its own, this drink is a lovely blend of flavors that is perfect for the cool weather. With kahlua, brandy, chocolate syrup, and cinnamon, this has got to be one of the best post dinner treats.
You can never go wrong with mocha and mint. They go together so well as proven in this low calorie coffee drink. You can add some whipped topping and green sugar for optional color and texture.
Have you found the recipe you fancy? For sure, there’s something for you out of the 25 recipes we shared. Enjoy your drink!
If you are serious about drinking really good coffee, chances are you will find yourself looking for fresher and healthier version of this favorite beverage of yours. One of the ways to ensure you get a great-tasting fresh coffee daily is by roasting your own coffee beans at home.
It might sound like it’s a hassle or too much to do, but trust us when we say it can be habit-forming. Once you learn how to do it right, you’re never going back to your old ways of having coffee.
Why You Should Roast Your Own Coffee Beans
When you roast coffee beans at home, you get to experience unique burst of flavors in your coffee that you don’t usually get from store-bought ones. Aside from that, you don’t need expensive equipment to roast the beans. You can use some of the kitchen appliances you already have.
Freshly roasted coffee beans also taste better and are richer in minerals. You will find that your cup of coffee tastes smoother too without the pungent acid taste that most would get from buying in some coffee shops.
Another thing is that you get to save tons of cash when roasting your own beans instead of buying a cup everyday. In a matter of 5-6 minutes a day, you get to have your own cup of fresh coffee with a sweet, irresistible aroma. You can even control the roasting and brewing process according to your preference.
So if you’re ready to learn and exert extra effort to experience real coffee goodness, then read on for ways on how to roast your coffee beans at home.
First, The Basics
There are several methods to roast coffee beans at home but whichever method you follow, you will always go back to the basics. By basics we mean the features of the beans that you need to remember when you are roasting.
There are also different tricks and techniques in roasting but then again, the main requirements for roasting are the same for all.
1. The smell is the taste.
The coffee beans change color in different stages of roasting. You will start with green coffee beans, then they will become yellowish in color with a grassy smell. This isn’t it yet.
When the beans begin to roast, they will smoke and begin to smell like real coffee. Hmmm. So always remember, it’s in the smell!
2. Length of the roast = color of the beans
As mentioned, you will start with green beans and as roasting begins, they turn into different colors. You will determine the length of the roast by looking at the color of the beans.
Light brown: This color can result in a sour taste because the body is weak, the aroma is medium, and the sweetness is only low.
Light-medium brown: This roast has a full body, full aroma, and just mild sweetness. Here the first crack begins, the aroma changes to caramel, and the beans start to give off smoke.
Full medium brown: This roast has a full body, strong aroma, and only mild sweetness. By this time, half of the sugar content is caramelized while the acidity of the beans is developed. When you brew the beans at this state, the coffee has rich flavor and low acid content.
Medium-dark brown: This roast has a very full body, strong aroma, and strong sweetness. At this point, acidity levels decrease and the bittersweet taste develops.
Dark brown: Also known as espresso, this has a full body, medium aroma, and full sweetness. You can already hear the second crack once this phase is completed.
Very dark (almost black): It has a weak body, mild aroma, and low sweetness. In this phase, the beans are fully covered with oil and the acidic contents are greatly reduced.
3. The crackling sound
As the roasting progresses, the beans also start to dry up because the moisture and water elements would evaporate, thus creating the crackling sound.
There are two stages of crackling as the temperature rises while roasting. With enough practice, it will come off easy for you to distinguish the crackling sound.
Three Methods of Roasting Coffee Beans At Home
It’s important to note that there are more than 3 ways to roast coffee beans. Others involve more complicated techniques. For starters, these 3 methods are the most commonly used.
Note: Be very careful in roasting because it involves cooking up in high heat.
1. Using a Popcorn Popper
The most recommended tool to use are crank-style poppers. If you already have this at home then by all means, use it. If you don’t have yet, you can look into kitchen supplies store or even online shops that sell them for a cheap price.
When you prefer to roast your beans on the stove top through a popcorn popper, expect deeper notes and fuller body, but reduced aroma and bright notes of the beans.
STEP 1 – Put the popcorn popper on the stove top. Use medium heat of about 450 °F (232 °C). You can use a candy thermometer to accurately check the temperature. Note: You can also use a large skillet if you don’t have a popper or you don’t want to buy one.
STEP 2 – Pour the coffee beans. Roast only enough coffee beans at a time; recommended is 8 ounces. Stir constantly so that the beans will be roasted evenly.
STEP 3 – Listen to the crackling noise. Once you hear the crackling sound after about 4-7 minutes of adding the coffee beans, the roasting begins. You will also start smelling real coffee as the beans give off smoke. Remember to turn on your exhaust fan or open the kitchen window. Also, take note of the time when the beans begin to crackle.
STEP 4 – Take a look at the color of the beans. Once the beans reached the color you desired (see # 2 above: Length of the roast = color of the beans), you can then pour them into a container (a metal colander is best). Then stir until the beans cool.
2. Using the oven
Roasting coffee beans in an oven can be the easiest but sometimes, it can lead to an uneven roast due to a lack of airflow. However, this can also add richness to the beans’ flavor. Just make sure to use your oven correctly.
STEP 1 – Preheat the oven to 450 °F (232 °C). Prepare your pan or baking sheet. You need one that has lots of small holes and a lip to make sure the beans are in proper place while roasting. You can find this at any kitchen supplies store.
STEP 2 – Lay the beans on the pan. Make sure that the beans lie in one layer all over the whole pan. They should not be overlapping. When the oven is already preheated, place the pan with the beans on the middle rack of the oven.
STEP 3 – Roast the beans. A good 15-20 minutes will do. As referenced above, always listen to the crackling noise. Don’t forget to stir the coffee beans from time to time to make sure you get an even roast.
STEP 4 – Remove the beans from heat. You should do this immediately once you get your desired color. Pour the beans into a metal colander and stir to help them cool off.
3. Using an Air Roaster
Take note that these roasters really serve a purpose -which is obviously to roast. Thus, it’s more expensive but worth your money because it produces a very even roast and it’s more efficient too.
You can also try a fluid bed roaster or hot air roaster. It comes with a glass container that allows to you easily check the color of the beans while roasting.
For this method, just follow the manufacturer’s directions for use. Usually, you just pour the beans in the roaster, select the settings you desire, and roast.
So there you have it! Have you tried roasting your own coffee beans? If so, what methods have you tried?
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Coffee experts are always on a debate on which coffee maker reigns supreme – Pour-Over Coffee vs. French Press. You might find it hard to decide which side of the debate to listen to, but fear not. We’ve made a comparative review of these two types of coffee makers for you to decide for yourself. We’ve also taken into account the experiences of reviewers regarding these two brewing tools.
Before you spend your hard-earned cash on a coffee maker, here’s what you need to know:
In this guide we will tell you about:
- What is a French Press?
- French Press Brewing Method
- Resulting Taste
- Pros of a French Press
- Cons of a French Press
- Experiences of French Press Users
Pour-Over Coffee Maker
- What is a Pour-Over Coffee Maker?
- Pour-Over Brewing Method
- Resulting Taste
- Pros of a Pour-Over Coffee Maker
- Cons of a Pour-Over Coffee Maker
- Experiences of Pour-Over Coffee Maker Users
What is a French Press?
A French press, also called a press pot, contains a plunger with fine mesh filter screen that presses hot water through ground coffee. It is one of the most popular coffee makers loved by coffee aficionados all over the world.
French Press Brewing Method
Coffee beans are ground to medium coarse and water is boiled to 200 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit (93 – 96 degrees Celsius). Proportions of coffee grounds to water may vary according to taste, but it would usually be around 30 grams of coffee to 500 ml of water.
To start brewing, the handle is held firmly and the plunger pulled out. The coffee grounds are then placed in the empty beaker and then hot water is added to it. The coffee-to-water mixture is given a gentle stir afterwards. The plunger is reinserted into the pot, stopping just above the water and coffee. You will have to wait for about 2 – 4 minutes for the coffee to brew. The plunger is then pressed to separate the coffee grounds and hold them at the bottom of the press pot. You have to be careful not to allow the coffee grounds to remain in the beaker for too long because it will make the coffee too bitter and astringent. If the coffee stays in the beaker for more than 20 minutes, it will spoil and become undrinkable. The best brewing time is still 4 minutes. However, if you prefer to make a cold brew, several hours are required to keep the grounds in contact with water to achieve the right quality of extraction.
Resulting Taste of Coffee
French press coffee lovers swear by the fact that they can’t live without the coffee brewed using this process. The coffee brewed using the French Press method tastes rich, bold, and at times earthy.
A French press needs to be washed after every use. Use a mild dishwashing detergent and warm water for cleaning. Taking off coffee grounds from the bottom might take a little bit longer. It should be dried thoroughly and stored in an area away from direct sunlight.
Pros of a French Press
French presses are self-contained and portable to use compared to other coffee makers. There are travel mug versions made of durable plastic which make them convenient to use while on-the-go. Travel-friendly French presses have a drinking hole and sealed lid which allows you to drink coffee through it after brewing.
Cons of a French Press
A French press keeps your coffee warm at the most, but it may also keep extracting coffee and result into an extremely bitter taste. The taste might also become grittier which other people love while some people hate.
Cleaning can also be a drag when it comes to a French press. There are times that a lot of gunk will be left at the bottom of the press pot, which will be hard to clean. It may get the French press barely usable after quite some time.
Experiences of French Press Users
Coffee drinkers who prefer a bolder and richer taste would prefer a French press over a pour-over coffee maker. It’s also easy to bring a French press while traveling, so your favorite cup of excellent coffee will always be at hand.
However, brewing multiple cups of coffee can be a bit of a hassle when you use a French press. A regular French press would usually provide one or two cups of coffee. This might be inconvenient for people who require more cups of coffee to get through the day, or start their mornings with a huge dose of coffee. It’s also not that practical to use especially when you have a lot of guests to serve. Plus, cleaning is a bit of hassle, so it’s another effort you need to extend in order to get a quality cup of coffee all over again.
POUR-OVER COFFEE MAKER
What is a Pour-Over Coffee Maker?
A pour-over coffee maker consists of a glass carafe that looks like an open-ended hour glass. Paper filters or mesh filters are placed on top of the carafe opening to hold the coffee grounds while brewing. Water just off boiling point is poured over the grounds using a gooseneck kettle. Brewing time usually takes 3 – 4 minutes. The coffee it produces has a different taste from what a French press creates, but the clean and brighter notes are the reason why people have shifted to the pour-over bandwagon.
Pour-Over Brewing Method
Here’s a quick step-by-step overview of how to brew coffee using a pour-over coffee maker.
Heat fresh filtered water to 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit (90 – 96 degrees Celsius). Use a gooseneck kettle which has a thermometer to help you check the right temperature.
Grind 24 grams of coffee (for 400 ml of water or 2 cups of coffee) to a medium-fine coarseness. The coarseness would resemble sea salt. You can adjust the amount of coffee according to strength or flavor.
If you’re using paper filters, fold the filter into fourths by separating one outer layer from the other three layers to create your cone. Place the filter into the carafe and rinse it with hot water. When all of the water has dripped into the carafe, pour it out. This eliminates the papery taste of the filter.
If you want to save time and money from using paper filters, a stainless steel mesh filter can be a great alternative for pour-over coffee brewing.
Pour the coffee grounds on the center of the filter. In a slow and controlled manner, pour about a fifth of the water into the coffee grounds. Wait for 30 seconds as you allow the grounds to settle.
Slowly pour in the rest of the water. The coffee should take no longer than 3 – 4 minutes to brew. After that, there’s nothing left to do but enjoy your cup of happiness!
Resulting Taste of Coffee
A pour-over coffee maker produces a cleaner, lighter, and smoother taste in coffee. Depending on the coffee bean type and roast, you will get brighter and fruitier notes that perk up your senses.
If you’re using paper filters for pour-over coffee brewing, you can just easily throw the filter into the trash after use. If you’re using a mesh filter, you can wash it with a mild detergent, and rinse it thoroughly again with water. The glass carafe is also easy to clean using a dishwashing detergent and water. You might have to use a long-handled brush if the coffee has stayed too long in the carafe and stains have formed inside. You can use a baking soda and vinegar solution to effectively clean hard-to-get-rid-off stains. Store the pour-over coffee maker in an area away from direct sunlight.
Pros of a Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Pour-over coffee makers provide are much easier to clean compared to French presses. You can easily clean out any stains in a pour-over carafe while the gunk forming at the bottom of a French press might be difficult to get rid of.
A pour-over coffee maker also produces a cleaner cup compared to the cloudy quality produced by a French press.
There are also travel-friendly versions of a pour-over coffee maker which make it easy to use for camping outdoors, traveling for work or leisure, or getting quality brew on the go.
Cons of a Pour-Over Coffee Maker
There are times that when you use a paper filter, most of the oils and the richness of the coffee will be absorbed by the paper and left out from the extraction. To solve this, some pour-over coffee maker users have resorted to stainless steel mesh filters (https://kitchables.com/products/pour-over-coffee-drip-filter) to effectively extract the richness of coffee without the hassle of buying multiple paper filters.
Experiences of Pour-Over Coffee Maker Users
People love the ritual of pour-over coffee brewing. The entire process of brewing makes you feel like a barista in your own world of coffee at home. Pour-over brewing can be an art in itself.
Many French Press users who discovered the perks of a pour-over coffee maker made the switch to brewing coffee using the pour-over method. Coffee lovers who realized that they love brighter and fruitier notes in coffee have used a pour-over coffee maker more often than their French press at home.
IN A NUTSHELL
It really is a matter of preference whether you’ll go for a pour-over coffee maker or French press. You may even decide to buy both coffee makers and use them for different situations (one for the office and the other one for home use). However, there’s a big possibility that you would use one more than the other. If you prefer a bolder taste of coffee, go for a French press. But if you like a lighter and cleaner cup of coffee, go for a great-quality pour-over coffee maker.
Coffee makes the world go round because it is an important part of people’s lives. We know you love coffee as much as we do, so we’ve come up with a list of ways on how you can make the most out of your daily coffee ritual.
Are you ready to know tips and tricks that would make you love coffee even more? Read on…
(1) Add Butter Instead of Milk
Adding a pad of butter to your coffee will help improve your energy levels, plus allow you to lose more weight. Use unsalted and grass-fed butter instead of your usual milk or cream.
(2) Cinnamon Creates a Twist
Cinnamon has loads of health benefits, and it can be a healthy alternative to your usual spoonful of sugar. It also adds a sweeter taste to your coffee with zero calories. It makes coffee more flavorful, so keep a bottle of cinnamon where you usually get your coffee.
(3) How To Sweeten Things Up
There are other genius (and at times healthier) ways to add sweetness to your coffee. Besides sprinkling cinnamon, you can add agave, honey, cashew milk, or almond milk. If you like a mocha drink, just add unsweetened cocoa powder to your cup of coffee.
(4) And Salt Adds a Smoother Twist
Does the coffee taste too bitter for you? Add a pinch of salt to give your coffee a smoother taste. Salt balances out the bitter taste of the coffee and is much more helpful than adding spoonfuls of sugar.
(5) Additions To Your Coffee
A good way to make the most out of sweeteners or flavoring to your coffee is to add them before grinding your coffee beans. Add cinnamon, chocolate, or lemon zest to your coffee beans and grind them all together. The result will be great-tasting coffee fresh out of the brew.
(6) Do-It-Yourself Latte
Want to know how you can make your own latte at home? Mix some milk and sugar in a mug and microwave for a minute or less. Use a milk frother to make the mixture foamy. Add this to your coffee and mix – and you get your own delicious latte without having to go to a coffee shop.
(7) Cold Brew Things Up
Cold brew is less acidic than hot coffee. You’ve got to try how your favorite coffee beans would taste like in cold brew version. To do this, grind coffee beans and let the grounds soak in water for 12 hours. Strain out the grounds and the result is your very own homemade cold brew. You can add ice to this cold brew coffee and enjoy it during a hot and stressful day. You can also add sweeteners and cream, or heat it up if you want something warmer.
(8) DIY Creamer
You can save more bucks if you make your own creamer at home. You can even make a healthier version than the usual creamer you buy at the supermarket. Purchase organic milk (preferably sweetened condensed) and flavored extract (almond or vanilla). Mix a few drops of the flavored extract to a few cups of milk. You can do a taste test by mixing it with coffee and see if it is to your liking. Store the homemade creamer in a glass bottle or jar, and you’ll always have the creamer you like whenever you want it. It also lasts longer than most of the creamers available in the market.
(9) Coffee Ice Cubes
If you have some coffee left over, pour it into ice cube trays. You’ll be giving new life to old coffee! Use these coffee ice cubes to iced coffee so that it doesn’t get watered down. You can also pour milk over the coffee ice cubes to get an instant iced latte. A simple trick that makes the most out of your coffee supply while making you enjoy coffee even more.
(10) Make Your Own Homemade Coffee Syrups
The secret to great-tasting coffee in cafes lies in their coffee syrups. You can make syrups by adding 2 cups of sugar to 2 cups of water. Heat it up until the sugar dissolves. You can actually go creative with the flavoring, such as adding caramel or vanilla extract. You can also use berries such as mashed raspberries and strain out the berry chunks before adding them to the sugar mixture. Have fun with experimenting with different formulations and add a particular syrup to your coffee according to your mood during the day. Store your homemade coffee syrups in glass bottles and keep them away from direct sunlight to preserve them longer.
(11) Be a Coffee App Master
Your smartphone can hold a plethora of information about the next best coffee destination. We recommend the Starbucks app which will help you find the nearest coffee shop, earn free drinks, and check nutritional information. TripAdvisor can also help you check locations of coffee shops wherever you travel as well as check their reviews. CoffeeGuru is the go-to app when you want to discover independent coffee shops. Beanhunter is another app which is like Yelp for coffee lovers.
Spro is an app that gives step-by-step instructions on how to make different types of coffee at home. If you want to learn more about how to make coffee art, check out Art of Coffee.
(12) Reuse Coffee Grounds
There’s a lot you can do with used coffee grounds, and there’s a Coffeerama feature about it.
(13) Time is Essential for Coffee Drinking
Your body produces cortisol at around 7 AM, 12 Noon, and 6 PM. The hormone cortisol gives you a burst of energy, and it is during these times that you are naturally energized. Get your coffee at around 9:30 – 11:30 AM and 1:30 – 5:00 PM. Coffee will give you energy whenever your cortisol level dips.
(14) Use Your Coffee in Baked Goodies
Old coffee may not be a glamorous thing to your taste buds, but it can still be used for a variety of things, such as baking. Add coffee to cookie or brownie recipes instead of water.
(15) Use Grapefruit To Boost Coffee
The effects of caffeine on your body will diminish as you drink coffee more often. Take a slice of grapefruit with your coffee to get back to your original buzz. The healthy fat in grapefruit will slow down the process of absorbing caffeine in your system.
(16) Coffee Dessert
If you like to have a dose of Frappuccino-like coffee at home, add coffee and ice cream into a blender and mix it until it forms a milkshake consistency. You get your caffeine fix and satisfy your sweet tooth. No need to go to the coffee shop for that much-needed frappe!
(17) Track the Last Time You Brewed Your Coffee
We suggest that you write the last time you brewed coffee on a sticky note and putting it on the handle of your coffee pot. This will allow everyone (family, friends, or roommates) to know how long the coffee has stayed on the pot. Nobody likes old coffee, so if it’s time for the coffee to go (or to be used in coffee ice cubes or baking), then you can brew a fresh new one.
(18) Coffee For Fitness
Coffee may be a mild diuretic, but it gives you that needed boost for a workout session. It also helps motivate you to lose those extra calories. It helps you effectively lose those extra pounds by releasing fatty acids from the fat tissues in your body. Drink coffee at around 15 – 45 minutes before you hit the gym. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water as well to keep yourself hydrated.
(19) Smaller But Better
Drinking smaller doses of coffee frequently is known to be more effective than drinking one large cup in one go. Set your coffee drinking in smaller doses and schedule it at regular intervals all throughout the day. You may also drink a small cup of coffee whenever you feel tired or need that extra boost.
(20) Make Your Own Bulletproof Coffee
Hearing the term “bulletproof coffee” more often these days? This powerful coffee formulation is a marriage between the love for coffee and the desire of most people to lose weight. The originator of bulletproof coffee, Dave Asprey, invented this type of coffee recipe that revolutionized the way people get an effective energy booster and weight loss aid – all in the form of delicious coffee.
Bulletproof coffee might be quite expensive for some, but you can make a cheaper version at home. To do this, brew your usual black coffee (we recommend using a pour-over coffee maker for ease). Pour the coffee into a blender, add one tablespoon of unsalted grass-fed butter, and add one tablespoon of coconut oil. Blend for 20 seconds or until everything is mixed well. You will see a creamy head over your coffee, and it would look a bit like latte. Pour into a mug and enjoy!
The fat in unsalted grass-fed butter and triglycerides in coconut oil will keep you full for hours without the unnecessary cravings for food. It will also give you a boost of energy all throughout the day. It doesn’t give that usual dip of energy after a few hours of drinking regular coffee. It also provides you with a sharp focus on your work or studies. Bulletproof coffee is now widely known to aid in dramatic weight loss, help muscle-building, and improve cholesterol levels.
(21) Secret Starbucks Drinks
There’s a secret menu in Starbucks that most people don’t know about. The baristas have been trained to make these drinks, and coffee enthusiasts have helped formed this menu. Some of these drinks are region-specific, so you might want to try ordering the following if the Starbucks near you offers it.
– Caramel Apple Frappuccino: Tastes like caramel-dipped apples.
– Orange Creamsicle Frappuccino: A marriage of delicious orange and vanilla.
– Nutella Frappuccino: Nutella with coffee? What’s not to like?
– Spiced Apple Chai: It tastes like spiced apple cider. You can have it hot or cold.
– Mint Chocolate Chip Frappuccino: It’s green tea frappuccino with peppermint syrup and java chips. Yum!
– Peach Ring Tea: This is usually available during summertime. It’s composed of Valencia orange refresher, passion tea, and peach syrup.
– Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato: This is like a snickerdoodle cookie covered in caramel.
– Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frappuccino: This is a dessert in a drink – with lots of cookie dough love.
– Ferrero Rocher Frappuccino: This is inspired by hazelnut chocolate sweets.
– Caramel Popcorn Frappuccino: A toffee nut Frappuccino with caramel drizzle and whipped cream. Topped off with sea salt.
– Nutter Butter Frappuccino: A hazelnut frappuccino blended with banana, cinnamon dolce syrup, and toffee nut syrup.
– Peach Cobbler Frappuccino: Imagine getting a peach cobbler in liquid form. This drink is composed of vanilla bean frappuccino, cinnamon dolce syrup, peach syrup, and whipped cream.
– Blackberry Cobbler Frappuccino: A vanilla bean frappuccino with mocha syrup and a scoop of freeze-dried blackberries.
– Cadbury Crème Egg Frappuccino: This is oozing with goodness as it blends java chip frappuccino, shots of espresso, vanilla bean powder, caramel syrup, vanilla syrup, and whipped cream.
– Rainbow Sherbet Frappuccino: This is available when Starbucks offers summer refreshers. It is composed of strawberries and cream frappuccino with vanilla bean powder, raspberry syrup, and peach syrup.
– Black Forest Frappuccino: If mocha cookie crumble frappuccinos are available, add raspberry syrup instead of vanilla syrup for a berry-chocolate overload.
– Banana Chocolate Chip Frappuccino: This delectably thick beverage is a vanilla bean Frappuccino with blended banana and java chips.
– Caramel Macchiato Frappuccino: A vanilla bean frappuccino with two shots of espresso and extra caramel syrup drizzled on top. You may or may not add whipped cream.
– Key Lime Frappuccino: This is available when summer refreshers are offered. It’s composed of lime juice, whole milk, cinnamon dolce syrup, vanilla syrup, white mocha, and whipped cream blended in. You can add whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes on top.
If you want to try these drinks out on your next Starbucks trip for FREE, like the Kitchables Facebook Page for weekly contests!