As one of the first things you'll do when you wake up in the morning, making coffee right (and making it taste good) is really important....
For us, it can make or break our day if our coffee doesn't turn out right. But sometimes, it can be hard for us to be so precise, so careful and so attentive early in the morning. So here are ALL of our tips for better ways to improve your coffee (categorised by type) and some helpful time-saving hacks to help you get your morning on the way nice and quickly.
1. If your grinding a pre-weighed amount in an empty grinder, give your beans a spray with water to reduce static and help prevent the grounds from going everywhere. Tidy kitchen = good morning.
2. If you're changing to a new espresso bean, pre-season your grinder by adding a handful of beans first and discarding the grinds. This will help carry away any older coffee grinds ready for those fresh beans.
3. If your extracted espresso is not coming out in a thin sleek stream, you're likely suffering from channelling - caused by uneven tamping. If tamping is stressing you out, consider a spring loaded tamper so you don't have to compute how hard to tamp your coffee at 5am!
4. Make sure your portafilter is spotless every time you use it. Building up in coffee grounds is only going to ruin your coffee taste and is just unhygienic. To simplify the cleaning. Get a counter top knock box so you can give it a hard slam after use without knocking coffee everywhere, and soak it in cafetto cleaning solution regularly.
5. Have a paintbrush ready for any wobbly handed coffee ground spills in the morning. It's much easier to keep things clean when the brush is only cm away from your coffee station.
6. Preweigh your coffee the night before and just dump in the grinder in the morning if you really want to streamline things. Just make sure you keep those beans airtight and sealed until its coffee time.
Milk Based Coffee Tips
7. Keep the steam wand clean. Set a reminder/calendar event to soak the steam wand tips once a weak. It only takes a few seconds and will effectively remove the build up of milk lipids that collects on your steam wand. It's the difference between flat dirty milk and fluffy perfect milk so don't skip this one!
8. If you're using soy milk, you might see curdling when first adding the steamed milk to your espresso. You can combat this by adding a small drop or two of cold soy milk to your espresso shot. This reduces the heat shock so that when its time for steam milk, you are less likely to see curdling. Soy milk varies a lot in its formulation too, so play around with a few bands if curdling is still occuring.
9. Get more chocolatey and luxuriously velvetty cappucinos by adding the chocolate powder FIRST. Not only does this stop it just coming off in your coffee mug lid , but it also helps the chocolate taste mix better with the espresso, drawing out those smooth rich flavours. Just sprinkle the chocolate powder into the espresso shot and give it a few whirls before milk. It also looks WAY more photogenic.
10. Try and avoid multitasking when pouring your milk. Letting steamed milk sit for any longer than it needs to will quickly degrade the foam and overall decrease the taste of your coffee as your espresso is sitting there cooling down too. Just put your toast on once your coffee is done!
11. Make sure that milk is COLD before you steam it. If you have milk sitting out for your cereal, it's probably got a bit too warm. So either make your coffee first, or keep another portion of milk in the fridge for when its coffee time.
V60 Coffee Tips
12. V60's take a little more cognitive power in the morning. So just follow this checklist to make sure you have your morning V60 groove on:
- Prewet the filter paper and brewing vessel.
- Start a stopwatch.
- Make coffee on top of weighing scale to track how much water has been added throughout the process.
- Do not multitask! Taking too long between pours will only give you an overextracted and bitter coffee.
13. Generally, you want to be grinding the beans from whole bean coffee each time you make it. V60 is really about extracting the most delicate flavours, so these will quickly disappear if you have preground coffee because of natural oxidation that occurs.
14. Pour gently! Avoid making big holes in the coffee bed or the water will just by bypassing any coffee grounds and just watering down your coffee. Gooseneck kettles are by far the best way to help with this. And gently pouring in swirls.
15. Use filtered water. Not only does this protect your kettle from harsh salts and limescale build up. The salts in the water also affect the extraction of the coffee. So filtered water is a great way to limit the environmental differences in water from affecting the taste. Keep things sustainable by purchasing filtering cartridges if you can.
16. Make sure the mug your serving the brewed coffee into is preheated by adding some hot water into there. This prevents the coffee from cooling too quickly when it hits the mug, preserving those light flavours you just extracted.
17. Preheat your Aeropress too. Add a dash of hot water into the Aeropress (and discard) before adding your ground coffee. This helps prevent too much cooling during the brewing process.
18. Make sure your decanting your Aeropress into a sturdy mug. We recommend ceramic here as glass can be too delicate and is likely to get broken with the extracting pressure you'll need for an Aeropress. The speed in which you extract the Aeropress coffee is important, too slow and you'll get a more bitter taste. So avoid using glass to keep the pressure high and extract quicker -without the risk of glass all over your kitchen in the early hours.
19. Prewet the filter papers of your Aeropress too. This gets rid of the papery taste, and also keeps heat consistent throughout the vessel and aids a uniform extraction.
20. Consider using two filter papers for the Aeropress if you're finding the extracted coffee to taste a little too bitter. This can give a cleaner outcome in the coffee and filter out the larger oils that contribute to some of the fuller flavour. Just be aware that you'll need to apply more pressure to extract the coffee, so if you're sore from the gym this might not be the best idea first thing!
21. Gentle stirs only! When stirring the Aeropress whilst its brewing, only stir gently to disband the crust that forms on top. As an immersion brew, you want the coffee to sit and spread its flavours to the water, so too much stirring will interrupt this. Just a gentle one directional stir for a second is all you need.
So there you go, all of our tips out on the table!