HOME BARISTA – BASICS
Where coffee comes from and its quality is very important, these aspect could be of vital importance to generate a more sustainable economy around coffee. But it is also a great way to enjoy a better tasting coffee!
It is not enough to just buy good coffee, you have to enjoy all its goodness with a good preparation process, that’s why we will give you some basic notions and tips that will help you in to prepare a better coffee at home.
What will I need?
Basically to extract a coffee beverage we need these things:
- An extraction method
- Ground coffee
The goodness of the coffee is defined at the origin. Always buy fresh roasted coffee and, if possible, in beans to better maintain its aromas, the coffee lasts longer this way.
Traceability, transparency, quality, are the elements that define our specialty coffees.
The roaster highlights the flavour attributes of a specialty coffee masterfully through the roasting process.
The roasting profile is different for an espresso extraction or a filter extraction, so it is very important to pay attention and buy coffee based on the extraction method we will be using to obtain the tastiest cup. If we use an espresso roasted coffee for filter, it might be more roasty with a touch of bitterness, and if we choose a filter roast for an espresso extraction we might get very high unpleasant acidity.
Water represents 95% of the beverage in espresso and 98% in filter. The water should be completely free of chlorine and without any taste-influencing compounds with a total optimal hardness of 50–300 ppm, the perfect point is at 100 ppm. You can get carbon filters for home use.
A water with a ppm below 50 will give you a sub-extracted coffee with an unpleasant sour taste and not complex enough.
A water with a ppm greater than 300 will give you an over-extracted unpleasant bitterness.
Coffee is a personal pleasure and there is no discussion about this.
Each extraction method has a different result in the cup, giving us the possibility of finding our way to drink it.
- If you prefer a cup with more body and more intensity, it is better to opt for a low pressure method such as Moka, Aeropress or an immersion method such as the French press.
- If you prefer an aromatically intense and concentrated drink, it is better to opt for an espresso.
- If you prefer a clean, medium-bodied cup with high sweetness, a percolating (filter) method such as V60, Chemex, Kalita will be the best tool.
For some methods you will need to use a filter. There are three different types with different properties:
- Paper – The paper filter retains more oils and fine particles that could be suspended in the drink, so the cup is cleaner and with a medium
- Metal – Metal allows the passage of a greater amount of fine particles in the beverage, the cup will be a little more turbid and with a fuller
- Cloth – in general, the fabric filter allows more fine particles to pass, depending on the thickness of the fabric, we will obtain a cup with a medium body and a little cloudiness.
You need the correct recipe for each coffee you prepare, to obtain the perfect point of extraction to really enjoy your coffee.
Ratio is the relationship between water and coffee, the ratio defines the intensity of the drink, so basically if a coffee is too watery or too concentrated.
For example, the ratio recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association for filter coffee is 1:16 (each gram of coffee corresponds to 16 grams of water more or less).
Ratios below 1:15 are considered “strong”, while those above 1:20 are considered “weak”.
We will speak about this in detail in our next journal entries on the perfect recipe for each extraction.
Grinding consists of breaking the coffee beans to increase the contact surface between the coffee and the water, make it more soluble and to be able to extract its aromas. It is important to always buy fresh coffee and possibly in whole beans.
If we want to enjoy a great cup of coffee, the grinder is an investment that we must take into account.
A type of grinding corresponds to each method and to each coffee, but in general we could say that:
- Finder grinding will let the water come into contact with more surfaces, extracting more.
- Grinding influences the extraction time. The longer the extraction, the more we will extract. The coarser the grind, the less contact time during extraction, the finer the grind – the longer the contact time.
The bottom line is – the better quality the grinder, the more uniform the ground particles will be and we will get a better extraction.
The Specialty Coffee Association’s recommended temperature range is 90-94 degrees.
The temperature is a very important variable in extracting coffee, because a very high temperature could over-extract and burn it giving a more bitter cup, while a very low temperature could not have enough power and sub-extract the coffee giving a sour cup without aromatic complexity.
The aeropress is the only method that can be extracted at less than 90 degrees (85-94) by
Stay tuned for our further recipes for each extraction