Is it just me or do you also find it fascinating how something as simple as a cup of coffee can have so much power over your mood?
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you know exactly what I mean.
You can probably think of a time during this past week when a good (or bad) cup of coffee impacted the way you felt in the morning. I know it has for me!
That’s why many of us make it a habit to stop by a local coffee shop (or Starbucks drive-thru) just to get a cup of coffee that’s guaranteed to be delicious. However, let’s face it, paying $5 or more per cup is a nice way to treat yourself, but doing it every day can be really painful on your wallet.
As your trusty companion, I’m here to help you reclaim victory over your daily brew by showing you how to make good coffee at home without a lot of work.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make coffee shop coffee at home, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s a lot easier than you think. Doing simple things like using fresh coffee beans, storing them correctly, choosing the right filters and more, are all it takes to make a satisfying cup of coffee every single time.
Just follow these 10 rules below and you’ll never have unwanted bitterness or lackluster flavors from your cup ever again!
1. Use fresh coffee beans
The best way to make home brew coffee is to use fresh coffee beans and not pre-packaged grounds.
With that in mind, whole coffee beans are only at their peak quality for about 2 to 4 weeks when properly stored. If you have a bag of beans that have been around longer than that, then they’ve probably lost a lot of their flavor.
For the freshest cup of coffee, it’s best to buy just enough beans for the week ahead or two weeks at the most.
2. Store beans correctly
Another top tip for how to make coffee taste better at home is to always store your beans in airtight containers.
It may be tempting to just leave your coffee beans in the brown bag they came it but that can ruin their taste.
Exposure to air is the biggest enemy of coffee beans. Even a small hole in the bag or gap in the seal can greatly reduce the flavor. And if you’re paying top dollar for a good roast, you should definitely get the most bang for your buck.
The best way to maximize shelf life for beans is by storing them in glass canning jars or containers with rubber-gasket seals.
Another important tip here is to never refrigerate your beans. Roasted beans are very porous and easily take up moisture and odors from other foods which impact their taste. The best way to store beans is at room temperature in a cool, dark place like a pantry or kitchen cabinet.
3. Grind only the beans you need
If you don’t already own a coffee grinder, now is a great time to invest in one. Grinding your own beans is the best way to make coffee taste good at home.
For maximum flavor, you’ll want to grind your beans just before you need them and only the amount necessary for each cup. The truth is that once coffee beans are grounded they lose about 60% of their aroma in just 15 minutes. So don’t grind the whole bag at once!
Of course, this is a little bit more work for each brew, but if you want the best tasting cup of coffee at home, then it’s well worth the effort.
4. Use the right amount of coffee
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been using too much water and too little coffee without even knowing it.
To ensure your coffee is brewed at the proper strength, a 6-ounce cup requires 2 level tablespoons of ground coffee. Most Americans tend to enjoy an 8-ounce cup with each serving, so in this case, you’ll want to use 2 3/4 tablespoons of coffee to get the best taste.
5. Avoid cheap filters
A coffee filter is a coffee filter, right?
You may be in the habit of buying the cheapest filters off the shelf but doing so is likely yielding inferior coffee.
There are two types of processes used to bleach coffee filters: chlorine and oxygen.
Chlorine, as you probably guessed, is the same stuff used to clean pools. This should give you a good indication of how they can affect the flavor of your coffee. The other bleaching method uses oxygen which leaves no trace of chemical flavoring on the filter.
All major filter brands indicated which bleaching process they use on their packaging. If you grab a pack of white filters, always look for ones that are oxygen bleached. Or, better yet, choose brown colored filters. Paper is naturally brown and this color indicates that they’ve not been through any bleaching process at all.
6. Use good water at the right temperature
Coffee is 98% water, and there’s little point in learning how to make a great cup at home if the final taste is ruined by it.
If you’re serious about making great coffee, then you’ll want to use bottled spring water or add a high-quality water filter to your tap. Nothing can spoil a cup of coffee faster than water from the faucet that’s full of chlorine and other impurities.
Also, never use distilled water. It may seem like a good idea but it makes terrible coffee. The minerals in water are essential to bringing out the best flavors in coffee.
As for water temperature, the best brews happen when the temperature is 200°F. If you’re boiling your own water to pour over a filter in your cup, that’s roughly 45 seconds off of a full boil. If you’re using a coffeemaker, it will automatically regulate this temperature for you.
Additionally, never reheat a cup of coffee or boil the same water twice. These are two surefire ways to turn even the best tasting coffee into a bitter mess.
7. Warm up milk before pouring
Here’s a simple barista trick that will subtly impact the flavor of your coffee.
The best way to make home brew coffee using milk is to warm it up before adding the liquid to your cup. It makes it taste so much better! Often, we just leave milk in the fridge and add a teaspoon straight from the container when we need it. That’s not a good combination.
The perfect temperature for milk used in coffee is 140°F. You can heat it up on the stove and use a thermometer to get this exact degree or just do what I do, take the milk off the burner right before it reaches a boil and then pour it into your coffee. It tastes great every time!
8. Use brown sugar instead of white sugar
This tip is actually one of personal preference, but if you’ve never tried brown sugar in your coffee, now is the time to do it!
Brown sugar adds a subtle hint of caramel and really enhances the coffee flavor. White sugar doesn’t do that. If you like sugar in your coffee, give it a try.
9. Consider buying an espresso machine
I used to think that the only method of brewing coffee at home was to use a coffee pot or french press. I never imaged that you could buy an espresso machine that would fit inside your home.
What I love most about espresso, and you probably do too, is that you can order it straight as a shot or blend it with milk to make cappuccinos, lattes, and other delicious drinks.
After doing a little research, I discovered that you can actually buy a high-quality inexpensive espresso machine for your home that doesn’t take up a lot of space.
If you really want to know the secret to making the best tasting coffee at home, it’s using one of these products. To find out what’s available, take a look at my cheapest espresso machine page that shows what key features to look for. They’re a lot more affordable than you may think and open up a world of opportunities for your home brews!
10. Clean your equipment
The final step in how to make better coffee at home is to regularly clean your equipment. This includes your storage containers, bean grinder, and brewer.
Over time, the oils from coffee beans build up inside your containers and stick to your grinder. This can add a bitter taste to your final brew. So, try to clean these items every two weeks.
As for your coffee pot or espresso machine, you should de-scale it once per month. This will get rid of any mineral deposits that are left over from the water. To do it, simply run a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water (or specialty coffee-equipment cleaner) through the machine several times. Then cycle just pure water through it a few times to get rid of any vinegar residue.
Neglecting to clean your brewer can dramatically impact the flavor of your coffee and lead to the machine not performing as best as it can.
These 10 tips are all you really need to make fantastic coffee at home. Once you put these steps in place you’ll be amazed at how much better your home brewed coffee tastes. You’ll also save you a ton of money by not having to go to a specialty coffee shop just to get a delicious drink!
If this is your first time visiting my site, you may be interested to find out that I have a whole section of reviews on cool home gadgets. You may want to check it out before leaving because there’s a good chance that there may be something on that list you’re already looking to get for your house. And I’ll help you save a ton of money buying it!