Since you’ve been home all the time lately, you may want to just put on a pot of Folgers and call it a day. But, you can make quality coffee at home, and it’s much easier and quicker than you probably think. For many people, the act of making coffee and going through a routine can be just as enjoyable as drinking the final product. And getting into a daily routine can add some much-needed consistency to your day.
Here are some tips to improve your home brewing skills, courtesy of Boomtown Coffee marketing and communications manager and barista Chris Porto:
Good Coffee Starts at the Source
First off, get your beans from as close to the source as possible. “Buying whole beans and grinding them at home is ideal, for freshness sake,” Porto says. If you don’t own a grinder, most shops will do it for you, if you buy the beans from them. If that’s not possible, try to buy your pre-ground coffee from a local roaster (like Java Pura, Greenway, Amaya, Boomtown) as opposed to a supermarket. Even if both stores sell the same product, there’s a good chance the coffee at the grocery store has been sitting on the shelf much longer than the local roaster (most roasters now stamp a freshness date on their bags). In times like these, that small extra step can make a huge difference for local businesses.
Finding the Right Beans for You
When it comes to selecting your beans, Porto suggests going with a naturally processed African coffee. Ethiopian coffee, in particular, has a different taste than what many are used to. It’s fruity, floral, and naturally sweet before you add any sugar. A few to start with are Shantawene or Yabelo. Feel free to experiment with different kinds and compare. It’ll be a great way to learn what you prefer while practicing.
You Don’t Need a Lot of Equipment
Many people look at how baristas do their jobs with all sorts of fancy kettles and machines, but remember, good coffee starts at the source (farmers). “There’s this assumption you need all this equipment, but quality coffee is great before you even touch it,” Porto says.
He adds the most important piece of home coffee making equipment is your grinder. In particular, people should try to use a Burr grinder compared to a blade grinder. Burr grinders separate grounds and beans as you grind, leading to a more consistent experience.
You, Too, Can Cold Brew
Cold brew coffee is a great example of something that seems harder to make than it is. Porto says all you need are coarse coffee grounds and water. Set aside some time for everything to steep together (about 12 hours), then you’re free to strain and enjoy your homemade cold brew. Even better, make bigger batches to save yourself time in the long run—taking some time to prep a batch could make you enough coffee for a busy work week all in one sitting.
Broaden Your Horizons
Take this time at home to get creative and branch out beyond the typical cream and sugar drip coffee, Porto says. You might find something better for you or, at the very least, learn something new in the process.