Becoming a Better Barista: 7 Ways to Improve Your Coffee-making Skills at Home

In Britain we drink 55 million cups of coffee every day. It’s also true that 80 per cent of households buy instant coffee. That realistically means that quite a high proportion of those 55 million are made using instant granules.

But did you know that in America, the figure of people who drink instant coffee is only around 7 per cent? There is no comparison between ground coffee and its instant equivalent in terms of flavour, aroma and quality. So it’s time to learn something from the Americans and become a nation of real coffee drinkers. The good news that becoming a barista-style coffee creator is easy. So ditch the instant stuff and follow these tips to start making fantastic coffee at home.

Take a course

Of course, one of the best ways to improve your coffee is to learn how to make it from a pro. Experience day specialists Into the Blue offer a range barista training that can be the perfect first step to get you on the road to making better coffee. Coffee school will take you through the differences between the beans, roasts and grinds, and supply you with the recipe and skills to create everything from a powerful espresso to a creamy latte.

Equipment

You might be familiar with the standard cafetiere or French press but there is actually a huge variety of quality coffee-making equipment that you need to familiarise yourself with. For those looking to splash out, you can invest in an espresso machine like those used in coffee shops and cafes. But you don’t need to spend significant money to get yourself high quality coffee making equipment. Options like the AeroPress make superb brews and are much faster than a standard coffee maker. Look into the different types of coffee making equipment available and make a decision on the best one of your coffee needs.

Use fresh coffee

Even if you have a coffee maker, it’s likely that you’re using beans at their freshest. If your coffee gets more than a couple of weeks old it will be stale and you won’t be enjoying it at its best. Buy coffee in quantities that you consume quickly for the best possible experience. Research some of the best roasters in your area and buy directly from them – this gives you the best chance to get delicious fresh coffee.

Store your coffee properly

Many people believe that putting their coffee in the fridge or freezer is the best way to keep it fresh, but actually these conditions seriously affect the quality due of the beans. The truth is that the biggest issue in terms of keeping your coffee fresh is its exposure to oxygen. Oxidation is the enemy of flavour for coffee so you need to find a way to it keep it as air tight as possible. Store your coffee in a re-sealable bag in a cupboard and reduce exposure to oxygen as much as is possible.

Get grinding

If you really want to enjoy coffee at its best, you should opt for buying whole beans rather than the pre-ground stuff. This is where you can find a serious difference in flavour as pre-ground beans lose a lot of the essential oils that give high quality coffee its depth of flavour. Once again, you’ll need to invest in a good grinder, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you’ve got into grinding the coffee yourself, you won’t get back.

Use fresh water

Another serious mistake that coffee drinkers make is that use water that isn’t fresh. Remember that water makes up a huge percentage of the drink, so if you’re not using the possible water it will have an enormous effect. Just re-boiling the water that’s been in the kettle for a fewer hours is an easy way to ensure your coffee will be mediocre. Instead, make sure that you use fresh, filtered water that has been heated once.

Avoid the boil

The water you use to create your coffee should be very hot, but it shouldn’t be boiling. The optimum temperature is below 94 degrees. If you’re using a cafetiere or filter coffee maker, wait for 30 seconds after the kettle has boiled before brewing. Using boiling water will scorch the coffee and ruin the flavour.

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break. With a background in PR working in Los Angeles and Barcelona, Charlotte has been working hard running Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden for the past 4 years. Dried mangos, Starbucks and runs through Hyde Park get this Londoner through the day.

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