When it comes to making exquisite coffee drinks, baristas are king!
Indeed, professional baristas know something about coffee that the rest of the world doesn’t, which is why their coffee tastes completely different from ours. Even when we are using the same coffee beans, the same machines and sometimes, the same techniques, the coffee we drink at a coffee taste, smells and feels different from what we make for ourselves at home.
Yes, baristas do go through months of training to start their career, and most of them have years of experience under their belt. However, what makes their coffee drinks truly magnificent is that baristas are aware of certain tricks and tips that we aren’t.
It’s the unknown hacks that most professional and experienced baristas know and we don’t that sets their creations apart, which we are going to learn in this article.
When preparing your coffee, it is very important that your beans are all equally and evenly ground.
This is not a step most of us are careful with, but your coffee will taste much different when the beans are evenly grounded. The trick is to shake your coffee grinder a little while grinding so that the coffee beans move inside, and every single grain is ground.
If you buy your coffee beans raw, try roasting them in a popcorn maker. Cafés have their own ovens for roasting coffee beans, but they are not suitable for a home. However, if you have a popcorn maker at home, it can be the perfect appliance for you.
If you live in an area that has naturally hard water, use filtered water to make your coffee.
Since hard water is loaded with minerals, they react with the molecules in coffee and change the flavor. It is always better to use filtered or bottled water for making your coffee.
Some flavors are guaranteed to enhance the taste of your coffee, especially if you already add milk or coffee to it. Cinnamon in one such flavor, cardamon is another. Just a little bit of these flavors – or even a little bit of chilli powder to your coffee – can give it a unique taste.
You don’t really need an expensive coffee maker to make a good cup of coffee! For regular black coffee or latte, you can actually use paper towels as your filter, and get great taste from your coffee beans. For making French Press coffee at home, you’ll only need to soak the grounded coffee beans in hot water, and then pour the filtered coffee powder into the second mug to make the coffee.
Salt! Yes, salt! Just a few grains of salt in your coffee can enhance the taste.
If you like strong coffee but find it too bitter, a pinch of salt can immediately mask the bitterness of the coffee, no matter how many spoons you put into your drink.
If you are buying pre-roasted coffee beans from the supermarket or from your favorite coffee shop, remember to note that the beans had been roasted sometime in the last three weeks. Any coffee beans with a roasting date of three weeks or more will become a little stale over time.
A good coffee grinder is a great investment if you want your coffee to taste just like the one your barista makes.
Since most coffee grinders are small, you can ground small batches of coffee beans every week. Freshly ground coffee beans are best to make the finest-quality coffee drinks, so it’s better to make them in small batches.
However, in the absence of a coffee grinder, you can also use a small blender jar to ground roasted coffee beans. Instead of the taller blender jars, it’s better to use the smaller jars that come with some blenders.
Flavored syrups can be a great option to enhance the taste of your milky or frothy coffee, but they are quite expensive. Only cafés can afford to buy good-quality syrups, but you can definitely replicate the taste by adding a few drops of raw extract. Vanilla or almond extract can add a great taste to your coffees without having to buy expensive bottles of flavored syrup.
For a 250ml cup of black coffee, the ideal measurement for ground coffee would be 15gm of coffee powder.
This is the ideal measurement or coffee-to-water ratio that everyone needs to follow to make a perfect cup of black coffee. For a stronger taste, the grind needs to be finer, but the measurement should be the same.
Boiled water is perfect for coffee, but just boiled water can end up burning your coffee powder. It is much better to leave your boiled water in the kettle for a few minutes before pouring it on your coffee.
There are actually two kinds of coffee grinders to choose from if you are thinking of buying one, and a professional barista will always advice you to buy a burr grinder. With a burr grinder, you’ll have some control how you grind your coffee beans and also on the consistency you want, which you can’t control with a regular grinder.
If you love black coffee, always choose lightly roasted coffee beans, which will give you the best taste and aroma. With the right beans, you might even get a little citrusy or fruity flavor in the coffee.
If you add milk and cream to your coffee, a slightly darker roast would be the perfect option. The milk will eliminate the bitterness of the coffee and blend well with beans, giving you a more balanced taste. The more milk or cream you like in your coffee drinks, the more bitter and darkly roasted coffee beans you can use.
Humidity is a big factor in making the perfect cup of coffee! If your coffee beans absorb a lot of moisture from the air, it would change the weight of your ground coffee. The general measurement for a 250ml cup of coffee – which is 7gm – may contain more or less coffee in it depending on the weather you are experiencing at that particular moment. This is also something baristas keep in mind when they are adding freshly ground coffee to the machine.
Finally, not all coffee beans would be perfect for you, even when they carry the name of a famous brand! The best coffee beans for you would be the one whose taste you loved the most in a coffee drink, or the coffee from your favorite café that you frequent because you love the taste.
Simply ask the barista about the blend they use, and most of the time, they would be happy to tell you. Besides, most coffee shops actually sell bags of the same coffee beans they use, so you can just grab a small pack to experiment with at home.
Baristas actually have to train for months for their jobs because there’s a lot behind making that perfect cup of coffee to give your brain the boost it needs to function. However, these simple tricks can ensure that you understand the tricks behind making your own legendary cup of coffee at home so that they taste – almost – like the coffee made at your favorite café by your favorite barista.