Ultimate Guide to Making Coffee at Home
Around the world, people drink 1.4 billion cups of coffee per day. Americans drink more than 400 Million cups of coffee each day. That’s a lot of coffee! Knowing how popular the drink is and how much we love making things from scratch, we’ve created the ultimate guide to making coffee at home to help you learn how to create the perfect cup of coffee.
In 2019 alone, Americans bought over four million bags of coffee.
Americans spend an average of $20 a month on coffee. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, it adds up to $240 a year at coffee shops. That’s outside of the coffee you’re already drinking at home. Many don’t mind that added expense and prefer their daily stop at the cafe. If you’re looking for ways to save a little bit while still enjoying high-quality cafe-style coffee at home, we are here to help! We’ve created the Ultimate Guide to Making Coffee at home. We want to show you how to brew the perfect cup o’ joe at home whenever you make coffee.
What is Coffee?
Did you know that coffee beans are seeds? Coffee beans are the seeds that come from the ripened berries of the Coffea tree. Coffee trees can live up to 100 years. It takes one full year for a coffee tree to produce a fully ripe coffee bean from flowering to mature coffee fruit. It’s no wonder coffee shops charge so much for primo brews. Coffee is grown in regions around the world known as the “coffee belt.” Coffee trees require moderate temperatures, higher altitudes, and frequent rains to grow and thrive.
The way coffee grows, and how the coffee beans are processed after picked, both influence the flavor and quality of the coffee you make at home.
Making the best coffee at home starts with high-quality beans.
Ultimate Guide to Making the Best Coffee at Home:
Gather Your Coffee Beans:
It’s easy to pick up a bag of the most affordable ground coffee at any convenience store or grocery market.
If you’re interested in genuinely amazing coffee, the quality of your coffee beans matter. The best and most flavorful coffee at home starts with roasting your coffee beans yourself. For the freshest tasting coffee, we recommend roasting your coffee beans at home. Buying raw coffee beans is rather simple, with many coffee companies offering raw coffee beans. Raw coffee beans are also less expensive than roasted coffee beans.
Picking Your Coffee beans
There are two major varieties of coffee beans, Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica Vs. Robusta:
Arabica coffee is a finickier coffee that requires higher altitudes and specific soil conditions to thrive. Robusta coffee is easier to grow but results in a different flavor profile.
Arabica coffee is a fruity coffee with higher acidity. In coffee acidity is a good thing. Acidity lightens the flavor and brings out the fruitiness in coffee. Arabica is sweeter and smoother than Robusta coffee beans. While robusta contains almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica, the latter is considered a more top quality coffee bean. You find high-quality robusta beans in espresso roasts because of their more in-depth flavor profile and their tendency to produce a creme foam.
You can also find blended varieties of both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.
Robusta is much easier to grow and produces more coffee beans more quickly than Arabica coffee trees. If you’ve ever seen coffee plants for sale as a decorative house plant, it’s most likely a robusta coffee plant.
Country of Origin:
After you’ve chosen the variety of bean (Arabica, Robusta, or blend), you’ll need to decide on the country of origin for your coffee beans. The country of origin is relevant because the flavor profile of your coffee varies depending on the soil quality, altitude, and other growth factors that vary by country.
While many countries throughout the coffee belt produce coffee, these are some of the world’s major coffee producers and the flavor profiles of the coffee they grow.
Hawaiian Kona coffee trees receive lots of rain from the frequent island sun showers and shade from the afternoon sun from those afternoon clouds. The volcanic soil of Hawaii creates a medium-bodied and aromatic cup of coffee.
Mexico is one of the largest producers of coffee worldwide. The coffee of Mexico comes from small farmers rather than large commercial enterprises. Mexican coffee is better for darker roasts with a deep flavor and intense aroma.
The coffee industry on this Caribbean island has suffered from intense hurricane damage over the years, but the island is slowly reviving its coffee production. Puerto Rican coffee has a signature sweet and fruity profile with balanced acidity.
Guatemalan coffee is grown at high altitudes in rich volcanic soil. The coffee from Guatemala has a distinct chocolate-like taste with spicy notes.
Costa Rica has built itself a reputation as a producer of excellent coffee because of the way Costa Rican coffee farmers handle and process the coffee beans after harvesting. Farmers in Costa Rica use wet-processing of their coffee beans, which produce a medium-bodied and acidic coffee.
Brazil one of the largest coffee producers globally. Brazilian coffee tastes sweet. The low acid coffee comes from vast coffee plantations throughout the country.
Ethiopia is the origin country of coffee trees. Wild coffee trees are the primary source of coffee from Ethiopia. Ethiopian coffee is full-flavored, earthy, and full-bodied.
Kenyan coffee is produced by small farms that focus on the quality and size of the coffee bean. Coffee from Kenya is particularly popular in the United States. Kenyan coffee is fruity and acidic with a strong aroma.
West Africa (Ivory Coast):
The Ivory Coast of West Africa is one of the primary producers of Robusta coffee beans. West African coffee has a bold flavor and low acid. You’ll find robusta beans in dark or espresso roasts.
Sumatra beans, a popular variety of coffee, come from small island coffee plantations on the large island of Sumatra. Sumatra coffee is known for its rich flavor and low acidity.
Knowing about the varieties of coffee beans and the flavor profiles of coffee from different countries will help you in selecting the perfect raw coffee beans for roasting your coffee at home.
I know we are recommending you roast your coffee beans at home, but don’t be nervous about that. We’ve created a guide to roasting your coffee beans at home, and it’s as easy a popping a bowl of fresh popcorn!
Ultimate Guide to Roasting your Coffee Beans
Most people wrongly assume that the darker the roast, the higher the caffeine content. When roasting coffee, the amount of caffeine in the beans goes down during the roasting process. A cup of blonde coffee has 360mg of caffeine vs. a 310mg of caffeine in a medium roast.
Before you’re ready to roast your coffee beans, you need to choose a roasting level or roasting profile.
The lightest roast coffee will have the highest amount of caffeine and acidity. A blonde roast will be the least bitter. With a blonde roast, you can distinguish between the flavor profiles of the different types of coffee beans. Blonde roasts are the same as “breakfast blends.” Lighter roast coffee also has higher amounts of antioxidants than dark roast coffees.
Often used in house blends at coffee shops, balanced medium roasts have medium acidity and bitterness. In most medium roasts, you can still taste the original coffee bean’s flavor profile with slightly lower caffeine than a blonde.
A dark roast will have the lowest acid profile and the highest amount of bitterness. The beans start to carmelize during the roasting process, which brings out the chocolate flavors, but it becomes much harder to distinguish the flavor notes of the original coffee bean.
Check out our recommendations for coffee roasters and how to roast coffee using a popcorn air popper!
Ordering raw coffee beans is easy and slightly less expensive than buying pre-roasted coffees. This ultimate guide to making coffee at home can also help in picking out the perfect roasted coffee beans.
When buying pre-roasted coffee, check the package for a roasting date. Any coffee roasting company worth their salt will include the roasting and packaging date on the bag so that you can know exactly how fresh their coffee is.
Grinding Your Coffee Beans
If you can’t roast your coffee beans at home, the next best thing is buying whole beans and grinding them yourself. Pre-ground beans go stale quickly, so grinding your beans at home helps to keep your coffee fresh.
The level of the grind will depend on how you are choosing to brew your coffee. You can check out our post on roasting coffee beans at home, but here’s a quick chart to give you the rundown on griding your coffee beans at home.
|Type of Coffee Maker:||Size of Coffee Ground:|
|French Press||Course ground|
|Cold Brew||Course ground or even whole bean|
|Machine Drip||Medium ground|
|Moka Pot||Fine ground|
Now that you know how to pick your beans, roast your beans, and grind your beans, let’s get you brewing the perfect cup of coffee!
Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee at Home
The type of coffee maker or coffee MAKERS you own largely depends on your home and work routine. Do you work from home or have plenty of time to enjoy your coffee at home during the week? Or are you a busy working person who needs a faster cup during the week and can slow down and enjoy the perfect pot on the weekends? There are several types of coffee makers to meet your weekday and weekend needs.
French Press Coffee:
We love the French Press method of making coffee because it’s fast, easy, and makes the perfect amount of coffee on a weekday morning. Brew a French pot of coffee, and you’ll end up with one cup to enjoy at home while getting ready for work and the perfect amount left over for a travel cup on the way to work.
Cold Brew Coffee:
Whether you prefer your coffee hot or cold, cold brew coffee creates a smooth, balanced, and delicious cup of coffee. Start your cold brew on Sunday night and have a pitcher of tasty cold brew to last you the week!
Only have time for one cup of coffee in the morning or need to make it directly into your travel mug? Pour-over coffee is as quick as putting on the kettle. We love pour-over coffee for that 3 pm cup of coffee you want to make but don’t want to bother making an entire pot of coffee.
Machine Drip Coffee:
When your entire family drinks coffee in the morning, or you have time to enjoy many cups of coffee on the weekend. A standard coffee maker can make a full pot of coffee to contribute to those 400 million cups of coffee Americans drink each day. If left on for too long, coffee makers can have a heating element that can burn your coffee and make it bitter. Try a coffee maker with a stainless steel carafe for keeping it hot!
Espresso maker or single-cup Brewers:
Espresso makers come in a variety of price points from affordable to luxuriously expensive. If you have an espresso maker, try a Robusta coffee bean for a deep and chocolatey cup of frothy espresso!
Enjoying Your Coffee at Home:
There are many ways to make the perfect cup of coffee at home that can fit your needs, your tastes, and your schedule. Hopefully, this ultimate guide to making coffee at home helps you save yourself time and money by making the perfect cup right at home!