Each morning, coffee is often the all-important start to our day. By now, you may know how to craft your own coffee bar, but what about the coffee itself? Home coffee has come a long way over the past few decades. Now that there is a coffee shop on every corner specializing in so many specialty drinks, a simple cup of coffee may not be enough to satisfy our tastes. But how can we shake up our favorite morning brew without breaking the bank?
Luckily, there are countless ways to bring our coffee to the next level. They key is to focus on inexpensive and space saving options. More importantly, these steps can even help you save time in the morning.
Home Coffee Upgrade #1. French Press
A French Press is a well-known but often overlooked way to brew coffee. The technique is easy to master: scoop coffee, pour hot water, wait, press plunger. French Presses come in a selection of sizes, allowing you to choose the right one for you. Also, the device encourages easy customization. Finding the right strength of coffee is as simple as shaking fewer or more grounds into the carafe.
Home Coffee Upgrade #2. AeroPress
The AeroPress is similar to the French Press, but is more suited for a single cup. The first big difference is in brew time. After adding the grounds and the hot water, all you have to do is stir it for ten seconds before pressing the plunger. The AeroPress uses compressed air to force the water through the grinds. Aside from ensuring quick brew times, this also produces a much stronger coffee. The resulting brew will take less space in your cup, giving you the option to add water (Americano Style), milk (latte style), or whatever else you would like. This espresso-like coffee gives you the chance to experiment with cafe quality drinks at a much lower cost.
Home Coffee Upgrade #3. Freeze Your Beans
Yes, you read that right. It is always cheaper in the long run to purchase coffee beans in bulk. However, since we can’t possibly drink a pound of coffee in a week, the bottom half of the bag loses quality. There is no need to run out for an expensive, vacuum sealed container. All you need to do is bag a portion of the beans and put them in the freezer. This way, you ensure a fresher cup of coffee even when you’re about to run out.
Home Coffee Upgrade #4. Keep an Empty Hopper
For those of you grinding your own beans, it’s very tempting to fill up the hopper to the brim and leave it for a full week. It may feel more convenient, but it doesn’t actually save a lot of time. Also, what it does, is expose your beans to the elements 24/7. Coffee doesn’t like air, light, or moisture. That is why all bags of coffee are opaque and include a small valve. That valve is one way, letting air out of the bag without letting any in. The keep coffee from getting stale, keep the beans in the bag until you’re ready to grind. Your taste buds will thank you.
Home Coffee Update #5. Steam Your Milk
Steamed milk is a brilliant way to add a subtle and smooth flavor to your coffee. Steaming milk makes its texture softer and whiter, and even brings a subtle sweetness to it. The best part of this step is that you don’t even need an expensive machine to do this. All you need is a microwavable container with a lid. Put in as much milk as you need, shake vigorously, and microwave for between 30 to 60 seconds. This technique gives a wonderful steamed milk with minimal cost. Teaming this up with the AeroPress is a fantastic way to experiment with your own lattes.
Home Coffee Upgrade #6. Watch Your Temperature
This could be considered one of the most important things you can do. Coffee is actually quite delicate, and pouring boiling water over it will burn the coffee. Aside from stale beans, this is the most common reason so many cups of coffee end up bitter. Coffee generally works best with water between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Brewing temperatures differ with different methods. To be sure, do not be afraid to ask questions and do a bit of research to make sure you heat your water to appropriate temperatures. If a temperature controlled kettle is not in the budget, a simple thermometer can be used to gauge the heat of your water.
Most ways to improve your coffee are easy and inexpensive. Many of these techniques can be implemented now without any additional purchasing. With how popular and important coffee is to so many people, we owe it to ourselves to make the beverage as delicious as possible.