Skip to main content

10 top coffee tips for the home barista




Although there’s nothing like having a good coffee made for you in a great coffee shop, we’re all fascinated with making the perfect cup of coffee at home.

Ben Rosenthal of Cibo Espresso has some tips to making your own ‘café-style’ coffee at home. He suggests you begin with these tips, experimenting until you find the best flavour from your favorite blend as coffee machines, grinders, beans and roasts all vary and therefore need to be treated differently.

“Remember that the way we drink coffee today is completely different from how we drank coffee a year ago,” says Ben. “Coffee extraction is constantly changing and evolving, so keep an open mind and try new methods. You never know what you may find.”



1.  Do not store coffee in your fridge or freezer. 

Coffee is hydroscopic, meaning it takes on the environmental properties of that around it. If you place your coffee in the fridge with some fish, your coffee will take on similar flavor profiles to that of the fish.

2. Store it in a dark cupboard or pantry, preferably in a one-way valve bag.

This allows the carbon dioxide, which the coffee beans release, to escape while preventing any air from getting in, resulting in stale coffee beans.

3. Buy whole or unground coffee beans, and invest in a grinder. 

Once ground, coffee deteriorates very quickly. Grinding your beans as you require them is the best way to attain a full and flavorsome brew.

4. Use your beans within two weeks of purchase.

5. Try your next coffee without any sugar. 

Coffee is not naturally bitter - bitterness is often caused by the incorrect extraction methods. These include allowing your shot to run too long, putting too much coffee in the basket, ‘tamping’ (compressing coffee grinds into the group handle) your coffee too hard or grinding your coffee too fine.


6. Always be mindful of the four enemies of coffee; air, heat, light and moisture. 

Coffee, whether ground or whole, deteriorates very quickly once exposed to one or more of these environmental factors.

7. Allowing a shot of coffee to ‘over extract’ or ‘run’ longer will not make it stronger. 

Rather, it will give your coffee an awful bitter taste. The only way to make your coffee stronger is to add more caffeine, and the only way to add more caffeine is to add an extra shot of coffee.

8. Ideally, you are looking for a pour of a reddish brown colour. 

If it is pouring slow, and has a dark brown to black look to it, the coffee will have a bitter taste to it. A yellow, gushing pour will give you a sour tasting, under extracted cup.

9. The key to making good espresso is heat. 

Everything must be hot; from the machine to the group handle to the cup/glass you intend to drink from.

10. Watch the coffee as it pours 

The colour will change as you extract the ‘good part’ of the coffee. The reddish-brown beginning will slowly turn a deep orange colour, which will in turn become yellow as the last of the ‘good coffee’ is extracted. Once the pour is a constant pale yellow colour, all of the ‘good coffee’ has been extracted, and the ‘bad, bitter’ tasting coffee will be killing your cup. This yellow colouring is referred to as ‘blonding’, and you will want the least amount of this in your cup as possible.






While the key to extracting good espresso is heat, the way to get nice, silky, velvety milk is to have cool jugs and cool milk.

Traditionally, you are looking for a 25-30ml of espresso in 25-30 seconds.However, this is very subjective as each machine is different. Experiment cutting the time and volume both shorter and longer, pouring slower or faster, under dosing or over dosing, to see which result best appeals to you.

Your palate is the area on your tongue where you taste different sensations. On the very tip of the tongue you will taste sweet. Just to the side of this you will taste salt. Down the length of your tongue you will experience sourness, and right at the back is where bitter flavours will be tasted. Ideally, your shot of espresso should not attack any of these areas, but give a nice, balanced taste throughout your mouth.

There are two types of beans primarily used in commercial coffee; Arabica and Robusta. Arabica coffee is grown at high altitude, as a low resilience to pests as it has less caffeine than Robusta. It also has a fruiter, clean, smooth taste, where as Robusta is grown at any altitude and has double the caffeine within it. Robusta is harsh on the palate, giving a rougher, woody coffee.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Brisbane's top 10 'chew with a view' restaurants and cafes

It's a beautiful day! Where can you go and dine in the warm sun with a view that you'll never want to leave?

Here are ten top places in and around Brisbane to while away a lunch hour or a whole afternoon when the weather is warm and the skies are blue .

River Quay, South Bank

South Bank’s River Quay precinct has plenty of opportunities to relax in the sunshine and just about any restaurant at River Quay will offer a great spot for a winter lunch with a large, grassed lawn rolling down to the river bank.  You can even lie in the sun if you so desire.

Stop for champagne, oysters and more at Cove Bar and Dining, enjoy French provincial food at Aquitaine Brasserie, take in the river view from a Balinese daybed while you tuck into the contemporary menu at The Jetty, feast on Italian cuisine at Popolo or sip a long drink on the riverside deck of Stokehouse Q where the menu draws on local produce combined with bold flavours from the Mediterranean.

River Quay is the spot for Sunday …

Thar she blows - how to hunt whales the friendly way

A grunt and a spurt of seawater rising into the air show the position of a mother humpback whale and her three-week-old calf.

I'm on purpose-designed whale watching boat and we have motored for an hour over the calm seas of the great sandy straits up the coastline of Fraser Island





Captain Phil tells the 50 or so people aboard that the tip of the island is where we will see the whales and he is right.

Our first mother and calf are a little shy at first, keeping the boat at a good distance but I can clearly see the much smaller calf swimming strongly beside its mother.




I'm fascinated by the large circles of calm water that float past us and Phil tells us these are whale footprints

"They break the water tension when they flick their tails to swim down resulting in the clear circles on the water,” Phil says.

Sailors used whale footprints to track whales back in the bad old days when whales were valued more for their blubber than their beauty.

Our next mother and calf are a l…

Lunch amongst the lavender in the Scenic Rim

It was time to brush the cobwebs off the motor bike over Easter and head out of Brisbane into the beautiful Scenic Rim.

We started down the highway towards Beenleigh in beautiful autumn sunshine and stopped for a coffee at The Outpost Cafe at Canungra.  This is a well known bikies hangout but don't expect too much in the way of chains and dreadlocks - it's more favoured by the middle aged bikie enjoying the freedom of the road second time round.

The road less travelled is always our favoured route for this type of outing and we back tracked through Rathdowney before reaching our destination for the day, Kooroomba Lavender Farm about 65 minutes from Brisbane in the Scenic Rim at Mt Alford near Boonah.

Autumn is not the premium time for viewing either the vineyard or the lavender but the view across the valley to the mountains was still outstanding.  The building has a New Zealand lodge feel to it with plenty of stone walls both inside and outside, complimented by timber and ex…

Ten top things to do in Noosa Heads

It doesn't matter how many times I head down the hill on Noosa Drive towards the ocean, I still get a little shiver of excitement every time. This very special part of the world has achieved international recognition for its unique environment and I am privileged to be able to dip my toes into it on a regular basis.

Here are ten of my favourite Noosa pastimes.





1. Although it’s always tempting to sleep in, I don't like to waste a moment of the day when I wake up in Noosa. The best way to start is in the coffee queue at Sails on Hastings Street and then a stroll along the winding boardwalk to the National Park, koala spotting along the way.





Depending on my mood and energy level, I continue the walk through the park to enjoy the beachside views. Some like to run it. You can pick up a coffee at the information hut in the national park as well.





2. After a bit of exercise there's nothing like a big breakie at Aromas and a spot of people watching. With t…

Lots to explore at Brisbane's South Bank

Four markets in one day - what a way to spend a Sunday!

We started at the organic markets at Downy Park, Windsor which was not such a good idea. Why? Well we took the dog and the place was full of puddles - he's a corgi with very low legs - it all ended up being very messy.

Also, these markets definitely finish up on their advertised closing time of 10.30am.  Call me slow or just plain lazy but I find it hard to get out and about early on a Sunday morning. We arrived primed for breakfast at 10am just as everyone was shutting up - they had even run out of bread for French toast!

However, this market was just the first on our list. Next, we drove to South Bank Parklands to explore the Young Designers Market and the Granite Belt Flavours Market - both on the same day.

Several designer/clothes/jewellery purchases later, K2 subdued his inner male and agreed to look for the Granite Belt Flavours market which was not in its usual spot.  On the way, we walked through the regular South Ba…