A barista understands what supplies and equipment are required for the best results, from aromatic fresh coffee beans to the best handheld milk frother. In addition, they have experience grinding the coffee, adding flavorful ingredients and serving it steaming hot or ice-cold.
One way to save money without giving up delectable coffee drinks is to learn some barista-approved tips and tricks to prepare beverages you can savor at home.
Start with Whole Beans
Skip the bags of ground coffee in the grocery store and get some whole, roasted beans instead. Pay attention to where the coffee was grown and roasted and the roasting date. The closer the location and the date, the fresher the beans will be. Don’t purchase beans that were roasted more than two weeks ago.
Weigh Before Grinding
Instead of a coffee scoop, invest in a food scale to measure your coffee. Most baristas use 0.36 ounces of coffee per cup. Need a whole pot? Baristas at Brew Brew in Chicago measure 180 grams of beans per carafe, which holds 12 8-ounce cups, or 90 grams for a 6-cup, automatic drip coffeemaker.
Use a Burr Grinder
The way you grind the beans is also essential. A burr grinder, also called a burr mill, grinds beans between two revolving burrs. Unlike a blade grinder, burr grinders provide uniform grounds that make coffee taste better and prevent filter clogging.
Good Water Makes a Difference
While it is usually safe to drink, tap water contains different elements that can change coffee’s flavor depending on where you live. For instance, brackish groundwater can taste salty, while minerals in hard water can make coffee taste bitter. Conversely, filtered water can provide smoother, tastier results.
Warm the Mug
To enjoy a piping hot mug of fresh-brewed coffee that stays warm longer, preheat the cup before pouring. Just boil some water, pour it into the cup and let it stand for several minutes. Empty the water from the mug and fill it with steaming coffee.
Froth the Milk
Use a handheld milk frother in warmed milk another flavorful element to any cup of coffee. Introducing air into milk improves the taste and texture and gives your coffee a creamier consistency.
Let the Coffee Bloom
Fresh-roasted coffee naturally contains carbon dioxide, which can make it taste slightly sour. Blooming coffee lets it release CO2 bubbles. All you need to do is pour hot water in a circular motion over the ground coffee. Start from the center and move outward, adding only enough to soak the grounds. After about 30 to 40 seconds, brew as usual.
Try Your Hand at Cold Brew
If your favorite coffee shop drinks are iced, making cold-brewed coffee at home only makes sense. Add three tablespoons of ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water to a cold brew coffee maker or a large glass container for ready-to-drink cold brew. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Then, strain the coffee from the grounds and enjoy.