A beginner's guide to brewing coffee at home

A Beginner’s Guide to Brewing Coffee at Home

November 18, 2020

Feeling like it’s time to upgrade from instant coffee but not sure where to start? High five, you! Brewing coffee at home is a game-changer and totally worth it, so let us help you get all set up for your first brew.

Figure out the best method for brewing coffee at home 

There are lots of options to choose from, but these are the most popular coffee makers for a good morning brew.

Automatic drippers are ideal for a quick and effortless brewing process where you press a button and the machine does its magic. They can either come with big carafes, perfect for large households, or as single-serve models. 

The iconic French press is a great compromise if you don’t want to spend too long perfecting your brewing technique but wish to be a bit more involved with the process.

Brewing coffee at home with a French press

Were you hoping to master the tricks of the most experienced baristas and coffee champions? Then a manual pour over coffee maker like the Chemex or Hario V60 will be your new favorite toy, allowing you to start the day with a pleasant coffee ritual.

Brewing coffee at home with a manual pour over

Finally, if you only function after a strong shot of highly concentrated coffee, consider a traditional Italian moka pot or, to indulge in the occasional latte or cappuccino, an espresso machine with a steaming wand.

Brewing espresso at home

Get the best coffee

If you were gonna rely on stale store-bought coffee, it wouldn’t be that much of an upgrade from your old instant! 

Coffee starts losing its freshness once it’s roasted because of the naturally occurring degassing process: to retain all the flavor nuances, you should enjoy it within a month.

At Fire Dept. Coffee we always roast our coffee to order, but we have another solution to make things even easier: a customizable coffee subscription!

Now you just need to decide whether you’re going to choose whole beans or grounds

Beans are the most versatile option if you’re planning on brewing coffee at home using more than one method. By tweaking the grind size with a good burr grinder, you get full control over the brewing process and can easily correct under- and over-extraction accidents.

Not ready to invest in a grinder? Were you hoping for a more practical method? Stick to coffee grounds, instead.

Or, if you’re planning on enjoying single-serve coffee, to pods.

Tips and common mistakes to avoid when brewing coffee at home

Choosing the best coffee

  • Start with the popular 1:15 coffee-to-water ratio. You can always tweak it to make it weaker, as in 1:16 (are you sure, though?), or stronger, 1:14 or so (that’s better);
  • Don’t use boiling water! Stick to 195-205°F to avoid scorching your beans and over-extracting them;
  • Never reheat your coffee! It’d spoil its flavor;
  • Make an effort to clean your equipment regularly: a build-up of grounds and oils can compromise both its durability and the flavor of your coffee;
  • To preserve the freshness of your beans or grounds, store them in an airtight container away from sunlight and heat.

Do you need any additional equipment to brew coffee at home?

Tips on brewing coffee at home

Once you’ve picked a coffee maker, there are some other pieces of equipment that you might want to consider:

  • A reliable burr grinder if you’ve opted for beans;
  • A coffee scale to ensure the correct ratio, especially for pour over coffee makers (even better if it’s got a built-in timer);
  • Paper filters for pour overs like the Hario V60, Kalita Wave or Chemex;
  • A temperature control kettle to reach the correct range for manual pour overs or French press;
  • Alternatively, you can use a thermometer.

Have you got any other questions on brewing coffee at home? Fire them away in the comments. In the meantime, grab yourself the best coffee and enjoy your delicious upgrade from instant.

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