As you know, this website is here to help you learn how to brew great coffee at home.
And friends, we have a lot of options out there when it comes to making coffee!
Different coffee machines and methods to make our coffee, different coffee brands, different opinions about how to grind the beans, water temperature, how to steam the milk properly, etc.
In this blog post, I want to give you some simple tips to really improve your at-home coffee brewing! Maybe you’re already doing these, and that’s great too.
I don’t claim to be the all-knowing coffee guru. But I’ve been around the coffee block a few times, working at different coffee shops and making coffee in different countries for different kinds of people.
So I’m really not concerned with how perfectly you grind the beans and calibrating your espresso machine with immaculate timing down to the nanosecond for the perfect espresso pour.
No, I simply want to keep you from brewing bad coffee. And it really is pretty simple.
That way, if someone like me comes over to your house to catch up with you over a cup of coffee, you won’t disappoint.
Let’s just jump right into it and start with the single most important point for making a fine coffee…
Please, DO NOT MAKE WEAK COFFEE
Sorry for yelling at you in all caps. But if I was saying it to you, I might actually be yelling.
For your sake, for my sake, for everyone’s sake, I ask you to avoid making weak coffee. So let’s understand a few ground rules about brewing coffee.
First off, the standard measurement for making coffee is this: 2 tablespoons/10 grams of coffee grounds per 6 ounces of water.
Your coffee will turn out just fine if you use this measurement. That shouldn’t upset anyone.
But for me personally, every time I see a suggested measurement for coffee… I always add at least a little bit more. Because, let me share something I’ve learned after very many times of being the designated coffee brewer in group settings.
It’s much better to err on the side of coffee that’s a bit too strong than coffee that’s a bit too weak.
Weak coffee can taste acidic, flat, like hot and sour water, unsatisfying, disgusting, or any combination of these.
If I’m making coffee with a classic 10 or 12 cup at-home coffee machine, I have my own standard that I’ve made.
I have found that it’s good to stay between 1/3 and halfway full in the filter with coffee grounds. Note that this also means I usually don’t make less than 5 or 6 cups (according to the measuring line on the coffee pot).
And if you’re making coffee in large coffee pots for a large group of people, it can be tricky to make sure it’s not weak. As a tip, it’s good to use a dark roast for this, and for me personally, the extra bit that I add on top of the standard measurement increases proportionally.
If I was making 10 cups of coffee in a classic at-home coffee machine, I might add just one extra tablespoon and see how that is.
But if I was making 30 cups of coffee in one of those larger metal coffee pots, instead of adding 3 extra tablespoons I might try 4 or 5 extra at first. Trust me, it may sound like a lot, but coffee can be tricky like that sometimes.
In large amounts, it does take more to get the flavor out.
Just remember, weak coffee doesn’t do anyone any good.
And just as a side note, since we’ve talked about measurements, let’s quickly talk about water temperature.
The ideal water temperature for brewing coffee yourself if you’re not using an automatic coffee machine is 205 degrees Fahrenheit, 96 degrees Celsius.
Much lower than this and the coffee won’t brew as fully as possible, and much higher than this can burn the coffee, making it taste bitter.
Choose Good Coffee
Sure, this one might seem like a no-brainer. But the kind of coffee you use really makes a difference!
Generally, if you enjoy a certain coffee shop like Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Peet’s or whatever else you like, you’d probably enjoy having their coffee at home. And normally, those brands sell good coffee beans.
Even if you have a really nice method of brewing or a great coffee maker, the beans can potentially make all the difference.
For me personally, something I notice is that if I smell a coffee before I buy it and it has a weak, artificial or flavored smell to it, then it will probably taste like that after I brew it.
If it has a nice robust smell, it will usually turn out just fine.
And if you like Starbucks coffee, you can see my previous post about my 5 favorite Starbucks coffees. If you don’t know where to start, I think you couldn’t go wrong with any of the coffee on that list.
Not everyone likes Starbucks sure, and as a whole Starbucks isn’t my favorite coffee shop ever. But, their beans aren’t ridiculously expensive and it’s good coffee!
Find The Brew Method That’s Best For You
Every type of brewing method and coffee maker has it’s pros and cons.
And I think the best way to figure out the best one is just to try them and see what you like. I feel like this is something that is very subjective and just hard to say which is the best brew method. It’s definitely a matter of taste… literally.
There’s French press, good old traditional coffee machine, pour over, stove top espresso, Aeropress, and plenty of others. These are some of the most popular.
If you haven’t tried a few of these, it could be a good idea to invest in one or more. Almost all of them that I just listed are quite inexpensive!
All of them except maybe a coffee machine are generally under about 40 dollars.
And if you want a recommendation, Aeropress is a wonderful way to make a delicious cup of coffee at home. It’s just an all-around awesome way to brew coffee, and versatile. I will write more about that later.
If You Want The Freshest Coffee Possible, Grind Your Beans At Home
This is something that, to be honest, I personally am not very picky about.
But one really good thing about grinding your beans at home is that you can grind them accordingly with your coffee maker or brew method. Most of the different brew methods have different preferences for the fineness of the coffee.
And that is something we should be picky about.
But, if you know how coarse or fine you want them, and what brewing method you’ll use, in my personal opinion it doesn’t always make a huge difference in the taste whether you grind them yourself or have them pre-ground.
The main thing about it is though, if you have them pre-ground, the flavor won’t keep as long as whole beans! Just keep that in mind.
But if you do want to have the highest quality at-home coffee you can have, put a few dollars into a coffee grinder and get into the simple habit of doing it yourself!
We’re In This Journey Together
With the art of coffee making constantly evolving and expanding by coffee snobs all over the world, there really is a lot to this whole making coffee thing.
There are also a lot of bells and whistles to it that really don’t matter so much in the long run.
What I think matters most is that we make a cup of coffee that tastes good! And the things that I’ve touched on in this blog are, I believe, the main pointers to remember in how to brew great coffee at home.
Also remember that you don’t have to follow my guidelines about how strong to make your coffee to the T.
But when it comes to making coffee, the main thing is to not make it with anything less than the standard measurement. You can add as much as you want or none after that, but don’t use any less than 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces or water.
If you haven’t tried all these things you can give it a try and let me know how it goes, how it tastes and if it makes a difference in your at-home coffee experience. Also, feel free to let me know if you have any thoughts about my tips in the comments section. And of course, enjoy!