A Home Barista In Pursuit of My Perfect Cup of Joe
If you strive to become a Home Barista, I am committed to guide you on your pursuit of discovering your perfect cup of coffee.
I’m passionate about coffee. My journey spans over thirty years and has provided me with many hours of fascination and delight while exploring what’s coffee, the various species of coffee, where it grows, and how it is harvested and processed. How it’s sorted and graded and how the coffee’s flavor is evaluated through a coffee tasting.
Making great coffee at home
You must have had a great tasting coffee at your favorite coffee shop and wondered how you can brew the same flavorful coffee at home.
Well, you can, and you will. You will have all the knowledge you need to make a great cup of coffee to impress your family and friends.
I started my coffee journey by buying a birthday present for my better half, Lynn. On this day, I stumbled upon this magnificent looking espresso machine at Treasure Island (a great grocery store) in Chicago. That’s right, I bought her a coffee machine which she never used.
This machine was sitting on our kitchen counter-top until I decided to put it to good use. Unknown to me, I also picked my brewing method, which I have stuck to since then.
To grind or not to grind?
Once you decide on a brewing method, comes the question: To grind or not grind? And if we grind, which grinder to use, and what grind is the desired grind?
It took me a while to understand the difference between buying coffee grounds or coffee beans. Once I realized that I would get the freshest coffee by grinding it right before brewing, I didn’t buy coffee grounds again.
What’s in a Perfect Cup of Coffee?
I should qualify, the perfect cup of Joe is not the same for everybody, and your ideal cup is the result of your own unique preferences.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s start breaking down the elements that make up your perfect cup of coffee.
Achieving the perfect cup depends on the balance of several factors:
- The degree of the grind of the coffee grounds
- The water
- The coffee beans
The degree of the grind?
I always start with Freshly Ground Coffee Beans. The degree of grinds you need varies from one brewing method to another. You wouldn’t use the same degree of grind for filter coffee as you would for the percolator or an electric espresso machine. Some coffee grinders would have a guide to the size of granules you’ll need for the various types of coffee you’re planning to make.
A great way to determine the right degree of grind for your brewing method is to get a small number of commercial coffee grounds for your purpose and rub it between your thumb and forefinger and see how it feels before you start grinding.
I use distilled water for my espresso machine, mostly because it doesn’t create scaling, which is the build-up of Limescale in the pump of my espresso machine, and often builds up inside kettles and other brewing equipment. However, any type of water is suitable for making coffee, including spring water, filtered water, and tap water. To sum it up, every kind of water has an effect on the flavor of your coffee, so try it out and find out what’s your type of water.
My favorite kind of coffee is Arabica, through the years I realized that I like it best when I mix half of the light roast and half of dark roast beans. The three main types of coffee beans currently on the market are Arabica, Robusta, and the less common Liberica.
The first and most common type of coffee is Arabica. In fact, 80% of all the coffee being drunk in the world every morning is Arabica. It has a smooth, creamy taste, and it contains less caffeine with a more delicate acidic flavor.
The next type of coffee, though, is a little bit tougher and comes with a deeper and richer taste. While not as commonly preferred as Arabica, don’t forget that this type of coffee is actually the secret ingredient behind Italian espresso. It’s the component that provides the signature jolt that Arabica simply cannot offer.
There’s also Liberica, which is one of the rarest and easily the most expensive of the three coffee bean variants we’ve featured so far. The Philippines, where most of the Liberica comes from, refer to it as “tough guy coffee,” which says it all. This coffee is not for the faint of heart, with a flavor that only coffee aficionados will appreciate.
Light Roast Vs. Dark Roast
When you’re reading coffee labels, you will find a roast type: light, medium, or dark. This is an indicator of flavor strength, with the mildest being light roast vs. dark roast having the boldest taste. The darker the beans, the longer they have been roasted.
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