How to Make Gourmet Coffee at Home

We’re all spending more time at home thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In some areas, coffee shops are closed for business until further notice. Although we may miss our go-to concoctions ordered from our favorite baristas, it’s possible to make gourmet coffee at home that is every bit as good.

We’ve gathered a few tips on how to make better coffee at home:

Fresh coffee. The best and freshest coffee beans, or even ground coffee, make the best tasting coffee. Buy coffee from a retailer that sells a lot of coffee so it is fresh. Fresh coffee beans have a slightly oily appearance. If they appear dry on their surface, it is a sign that the beans have been sitting on the shelf. If you’re using ground coffee, it should have a very intense coffee smell. That is a sign of freshness. The fresher the beans or ground coffee are, the more flavorful your cup of coffee will be.

Good clean water. You can make your coffee with plain tap water, but it will taste better if you don’t. At the very least, use filtered tap water that has been run through one of those filtration pitchers. The best water to use when making gourmet coffee at home is spring water. It has the purest taste and will not alter the taste of the coffee. The next best thing to spring water is distilled water.

Clean coffee-making vessel. Make sure you regularly clean the machine or vessel that you use to make coffee. The process of making coffee leaves behind an oily residue that can eventually affect the taste of your coffee. So clean thoroughly. If you use an electronic coffee maker, flush it regularly with a vinegar-water solution as the manufacturer recommends.

Go French. This is a sure way to get a nearly perfect cup every time. A French press is a glass or metal decanter fitted with a plunger. The plunger has a double filter that traps the grounds but allows the flavorful, volatile oils to remain. 

Here’s a quick how-to guide on making coffee with a French press:

Grind the coffee. If you are using whole beans, grind the coffee on the coarsest setting. The coffee will look like miniature gravel, not a fine powder. This ensures that the filters on the French press trap all of the grounds in the pot and they do not end up in your coffee cup. Already ground coffee is of a size that is suitable for using in a French press.

Boil the water. Put a pan of water on the stove to come to a boil while you prepare the French press.

Add the coffee to the French press. A good rule of thumb is to add one tablespoon of ground coffee for every six ounces of water you will add to the pot. If you’re new to French press coffee, a liquid measuring cup is handy. This gives you quality control and ensures that your coffee comes out perfect every time.

Add the hot water. When the water boils, take it off the heat and allow it to cool for about 60 seconds before pouring it into the pot. You want the water to be just below the boiling point.

Put the top on. Pull the plunger all the way up and carefully fit the top onto the French press. Leave the plunger in the top-most position.

Brew. Let the coffee brew in the French press for five minutes. Set a timer so you don’t forget.

Plunge. When the timer goes off, it’s time to plunge. Hold the French press by its handle with one hand and carefully push the plunger down with the other hand. Do this slowly and steadily until the plunger reaches its lowest point.

Pour the coffee into your cup and enjoy!

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