Welcome coffee lovers!
Making coffee at home doesn’t have to be rocket science. And you shouldn’t need to head to Starbucks or any hipster coffee shop… where they charge 5-10 dollars for a single drink.
Instead, read on to learn how to make the best coffee right at home with a machine! And with any machine you might have, whether it be: a drip coffee maker, French press, or espresso machine.
We’ll even go over tips on how to make instant coffee taste good (even though it’s yucky lol). So let’s get started.
What You Need to Make Best Coffee at Home
Choose the Best Coffee Beans and Roaster
Before we even get to coffee makers: you need to pick the best coffee beans.
Usually Arabica beans are used for specialty coffees. They are higher quality than Robusta beans, as Arabica beans are considered to have more delicate flavor and lower acidity.
At the moment: we don’t feel strongly enough to suggest a specific coffee roaster. But the roasting process can make a huge difference in the taste from your coffee beans.
So we recommend asking around + trying different brands to find your favorite ones!
Store the Beans and Coffee Grounds Properly
On the topic of roasting, remember that coffee beans lose their flavor faster after you grind them. We suggest you buy whole beans and grind them yourself. Then brew coffee right after.
Make sure to use an airtight container to store the coffee beans and ground coffee. Then store the container in a dark, cool, and dry location.
This means NOT your refrigerator! (We know this is a common belief, but it’s not a good place)
Lastly, try to finish all the coffee beans and coffee grounds within 2-4 weeks after purchase for a best tasting cup of coffee.
A Good Grinder and Coffee Maker
Ideally you can control whether you get a coarse grind, medium grind, or fine grind. And coffee brewed with a high quality coffee maker will taste better than a low quality one, obviously!
How to Make the Best Drip Coffee
If you’re just starting out in the coffee world (or even if not) – making coffee with a drip machine is the most common method.
Drip coffee is basically just dripping hot water over ground coffee inside a filter basket. Then the hot coffee ends up in a coffee pot.
Here is a simple 4 step process to brew better coffee with a drip coffee maker:
4 Steps to Brew Coffee with a Drip Coffee Maker
- A pro tip: if you’re using a paper filter, rinse it with hot water. This will remove paper taste and keep the filter in place.
- Add ground coffee. Usually medium-fine coffee grounds work best for drip coffee. As for how much coffee, this is a good starting point: 2 tablespoons or 10 grams per cup (6 ounces) of water.
- Add water to the reservoir. Don’t add to much or too little water!
- Then simply plug in and turn on the drip coffee maker. Wait until the brewing process is completely over, before pouring yourself a cup of coffee.
That’s it for drip coffee, it’s super simple! Enjoy your fresh coffee or transfer it to a thermal flask since the quality will worsen fast after brewing.
Brewing Coffee with a French Press
Next most easy and common way of brewing coffee is with a French press.
A French press puts ground coffee in hot water for a few minutes, then presses down to separate the grounds and coffee.
4 Step Brewing Method for Your French Press
- Measure enough water using an easy coffee to water ratio. Try 1:10 for a stronger cup of coffee or 1:15 for a weaker one (depends on your personal taste). Boil it and then let it cool for around 30 seconds.
- Add ground coffee to the carafe, following the ratio above. A coarser grind is better with French presses. Aim for a sea salt texture.
- Take some of the water and pour over the coffee, enough to submerge the grounds. Follow this pro tip: stir with a spoon or chopstick for about 30 seconds. Pour over the rest of the water and then stir for another 30 seconds.
- Put the lid on the carafe, then wait 4 minutes. Finally you can press the plunger down slowly to finish brewing great coffee.
Don’t leave coffee in your French press for too long! Otherwise a good cup of coffee might be replaced with a bitter one.
An Aside: Consider an AeroPress
For a portable coffee maker that’s also less bitter and acidic: try learning how to brew with an AeroPress.
Since a French press is so easy to clean: you can simply add milk or cream right before plunging (step 4 above). Then you’ll get a super smooth cup of coffee.
How to Make the Best Espresso Coffee
An espresso machine can brew great coffee. While it’s not as cheap or easy as the 2 methods above, follow these steps from coffee experts to enjoy rich, flavorful espresso drinks.
Step 1: Use High Quality Water
Fill the water tank of your espresso machine. High water quality matters: try bottled water, filtered water, or soft tap water for best taste.
Step 2: Preheat Your Espresso Machine
Turn on your espresso machine and let it preheat for 15 minutes. Run the portafilter and group head under hot water for a few seconds and dry with a cloth. (Portafilter is the metal basket holding coffee grounds + group head is where you lock the portafilter.)
Step 3: Use Fine or Very Fine Ground Coffee
Use a burr grinder to get a fine grind size. Add the ground coffee to the portafilter basket. Press down firmly on the ground coffee to create an even surface.
Step 4: Lock the Portafilter and Pull Your Espresso
Lock the portafilter into the espresso machine. Make sure to turn until it’s tightly in place. Select how many espresso shots, place a mug or shot glass under the portafilter spout, and press the extraction button.
Step 5: Experiment Until You Have the Perfect Espresso
After 20 to 30 seconds, you’ll have some espresso coffee to try! Don’t worry if it’s not the perfect cup of coffee: change your grind size, try less coffee or more coffee grounds… try different grind settings or freshly roasted beans.
Coffee brewers know that making espresso machine coffee is an art and needs practice!
Pro Tip: Let a Built-In or Bean to Cup Coffee Maker Do the Work
Sick of grinding your own coffee, messing with the portafilter to pull your espresso shot, and measuring the perfect coffee:water ratio + temperature?
If so: a built-in coffee maker or a bean to cup coffee machine could be worth it for you. Get all the settings right once and then simply save them into the machine’s memory. You’ll get that perfect cup of coffee every single time with just a few button presses!
How to Make the Best Latte or Cappuccino with a Milk Frother
Turn your espresso drink into a latte or cappuccino via steamed milk:
- Take a cold metal pitcher and fill it with cold milk.
- Insert the steam wand into the milk and then turn it on.
- Move the pitcher up and down so that air gets into the milk. You’re going for a whirlpool effect that will create bubbles.
- Lastly, tap the pitcher on your table counter to remove big bubbles. Pour the steamed milk over your espresso coffee and you’re done!
How to Make the Best Instant Coffee (Don’t Use a Machine)
Honestly, we often think instant coffee isn’t really good coffee. But for mornings where you need coffee immediately just to get going, instant coffee is a no brainer!
Just make sure not to use a coffee maker, we beg you.
Please see this page for tips on how to make a better cup of instant coffee.
Remember, good coffee beans are important. Coffee bean roast and the type you select are crucial to brewing coffee. Make sure to store the beans and coffee grounds to maintain taste.
Then we covered 3 different common brewing methods for your morning cup of coffee.
The first 2 were drip machines and French presses. These are easier ways to get your morning coffee, whether you’re looking for weak or strong coffee.
Then we dove deep into brewing espresso coffee. Not as easy of a brewing method, but perhaps more rewarding in flavor and the variety of drinks you can make. We also taught you how to make and add steamed milk to espresso.
Last, we briefly cover instant coffee. Don’t use a coffee maker for this.
We hope all you coffee drinkers out there now feel confident in how to brew the best coffee in your home, with a machine!
By day, Bryan is a software engineer with experience at startups and top software companies. By night, he runs and writes for My Kitchen Sensei. Bryan is especially proud of his cheap excursions to cheap Michelin rated restaurants throughout Asia and in Hong Kong during his exchange there. His favorites include nitro-cold brew coffee and steak.