coffee-equipment-dabov-specialty-coffee

How to make good coffee at home – step by step

Get ready to prepare some really tasty cups of coffee with our tips and specialty coffees!

Why the coffee prepared at your favorite coffee shop has a taste that always beats the one you make at home? Yes, it has just been brewed after the beans had just been ground, but even if you can do that at home…

You don’t need to buy the most expensive coffee equipment in order to be a real barista. But since our mission is to bring to you a better cup of coffee every day, day after day, we would like to make sure you know how to prepare this better cup of coffee at home!

Choose how to prepare the coffee at home according to your preferences for the final taste:

an Aeropress, a Mocca, a Cezve, a Coffee Syphon, a V-60, a Chemex, a French press, or an automatic filter coffee machine or espresso machine.

(by the way, we offer them in our online shop)

and pay attention to some very important details that make the taste of coffee great or awful.

Let us share them with you.

STEP 1: First prepare your equipment

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Our professional coffee hunter and certified barista coach, Jordan Dabov, teaching our students in the Barista Maestro course

Every coffee professional will tell you that no matter what brewing method you choose, you should always start to prepare a better cup of coffee by checking if everything is alright with your equipment. Always remember to clean thoroughly your brewing pot and tools after you use it. In our Brew Guide we give advice on how to do that specifically.

It is always advisable to rinse your pot with hot water and dry well with a cloth so that you brush off all ground coffee particles and avoid the accumulation of coffee oils. It is important to do that because coffee particles and oils can change the taste of the coffee-making the drink more bitter or sourer or simply unpleasant.

STEP 2: Choose wisely your coffee beans

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Jordan Dabov (right) in our roasting plant, checking the process.

You have to bear in mind that three major factors influence the final result in your cup of coffee – origin, roast level, and freshness.

Origin and taste

The quality and taste of your coffee don’t just depend on the brewing method, but to a large extent on the coffee beans that you decide to use.
The country and the region a single coffee comes from is often the most defining characteristic that most of the roasters put on the label. This is to tell you not only where the coffee is produced but also to guide you to some specific taste.

Central American and Mexican coffees, for example, are often mild and fragrant, with subtle complexities. They are moderately acidic and have a medium body. These coffees are approachable and popular. Seldom they have overpoweringly bold or intense flavors. They are typically easy to please and respond to more general tastes.

When we speak about South American coffee, we refer mainly to the two predominant countries on the world market, Brazil and Colombia. These two countries though have totally different coffee profiles. Colombian coffee has more in common with its Central American neighbors than Brazilian coffee. Colombian coffees are often mild, wet-processed, and approachable. The vast Brazilian landscape contains many different varietals and grades of coffee.

Coffees from East Africa (Ethiopia) are characterized by winey and fruity acidity, medium body, and a fragrant floral aroma. The coffees that are naturally processed can be quite delicious, dry and fruity with a sweet, full body. A lot of the coffees that come out of Africa are organic by default. The farmers either can’t afford chemicals or do not use them because of traditional growing practices.

Coffees from Rwanda are usually well-balanced with high acidity. They have diverse flavor and leave you with a clean and sweet aftertaste.

Kenyan coffees have a distinct character and excellent high acidity. You can find their taste very bold, sometimes juicy, sometimes winey, with notes of blackcurrant, hibiscus, grapefruit, and raisins.

Coffees from Burundi have a clean, delicate flavor with a rich body and acidity. What is predominant is the sweet berry tastes, floral notes, and berry-like aromas.

Coffees from Indonesia are usually intense, earthy, sometimes wild with notes of spices, pepper, and herbs. They have heavy body and are low in acidity. You can find mellow fruit notes of dates, prunes, and plums.

Roast level

Roasting coffee is an absolute art. It’s the difference between a better cup of coffee and a bad one. However, you should know the following:

  • lighter roast coffees tend to be more fruity
  • darker roast coffees tend to be more bitter

Medium roast usually preserves the complexity of flavors that coffee can have. That is why we at DABOV Specialty Coffee prefer it.

Freshness

A general rule of thumb is: if you don’t know the roast date of your coffee or have forgotten it, buy a new one. Buy freshly roasted coffee whenever you can! Freshly roasted coffee is a must if you want to achieve a better cup of coffee. Buy small quantities according to how often you make coffee and try not to hold on to it more than a week or two.  

TIP: The pick of coffee freshness is on the 45th day after the roasting date. Its flavors are best preserved if you keep it in its natural form – in beans, and only grind it whenever and as much as you need to brew at the moment.

STEP 3: Choose your coffee beans grind level

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Coffee comes out of the grinder, ready for an espresso.

Each method of making coffee requires specific level of grinding of the coffee beans. For example, cezve requires the finest ground coffee beans but if you use the same for an espresso, they can jam the strainer.

It’s best to have a good grinder at hand which can guarantee the same level of grinding for every coffee particle. Stay away from grinders with blades, as they tend to grind unevenly and sometimes chop coffee beans instead of grinding them.

Don’t underestimate the grind level as a factor for a good coffee

If your coffee has a bitter taste, the extraction seems to have taken too long or your coffee is too finely ground. That is when we have overextraction.

On the other hand, if you get a “flat”, uninteresting taste, then you’ve not managed to extract enough coffee oil, and we have the so-called underextraction, which is due to not enough ground beans, coarse ground coffee beans, less time for extraction.

TIP: If you don’t have a good grinder at home, ask the coffee shop where you bought your coffee to grind it for you and tell them what method for brewing you will be using.

STEP 4: Use the appropriate water and temperature

The water you use and its temperature is very important for the quality of the coffee that you want to achieve.

Water

Use filtered or bottled water.  Tap water comes with negatives, such as pungent chemical taste of treatment with chlorine. If you still want to use tap water, let it drain for a while before filling up your kettle. Water should have approximately pH 7,5 and if possible be rich in Calcium and Magnesium because they will enrich the taste of your drink.

Also, make sure you use cold water. Do not use distilled or softened water.

Water temperature

If the water is too hot, you can overbrew your coffee and the taste will be more bitter; if it is too cold – the flavors will be sourer and under extracted. Water should be with a temperature just before boiling – about 92-94ºC.

You can have a fruitier taste with temperature 91-93ºC. A stronger and richer taste will be acquired with a temperature of 93-96ºC. Everything though depends on the region and the roast level.

If you are preparing the coffee manually, allow the water to boil, but not to overboil. Turn off the heater when the water starts boiling and set it aside for 30 seconds to a minute before pouring it over the coffee.

TIP: The time at which coffee is in direct contact with hot water is another important factor affecting the taste of the resulting drink. In case you use any kind of dripper, you should not exceed five minutes of direct contact. If you are using a vacuum pot, you have to fit between two and four minutes. Espresso, as the name implies, means that the time of brewing is very short – coffee is in contact with water between 20-30 seconds. If you don’t achieve the desired taste it may be due to under or over extraction.

STEP 5: Check the water to coffee ratio

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Ground coffee is measured prior preparation of an espresso.

Always follow the instructions for the specific method you are using when deciding how much water and coffee you should use. Putting more coffee – you risk the resulting taste to be stronger or bitter, put less coffee and your drink will be weak and watery. When in doubt, ask our baristas – in our showroom or on our Facebook page.

SUMMARY

When you want to prepare a better cup of coffee at home, you should take in mind the following 5 factors:

  • equipment – keep it shiningly clean
  • choose your coffee beans based on their origin, roast level and freshness
  • use the right grinding level of coffee beans, depending on the brewing method you will be using
  • use filtered or bottled water, avoid tap or mineral
  • use the correct coffee to water ratio – 8 to 10 g for single espresso and 65 g for 1 l while using any filtering method – V-60, Kalita, Chemex, Drip coffee machine, etc.  

To make it easier for you, we put on every package the recommended ratio – water – coffee – time for brewing. Just turn the package and you have the complete brewing guide.

If you like our step by step guide on how to make good coffee at home, please share it, so more people can learn and enjoy great tasting coffee! And soon, we will give you important tips on how to use each one of the coffee brewing methods we prepare coffee for you in our showroom at 58, Luben Karavelov Str. – the same you can find in our online shop.

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