How long has it been now since you saw a real-life barista in their natural habitat? A month? A year? The days of handing over your keep-cup for an expertly-made oat milk flat white certainly feel like a lifetime ago, and no-one knows how long it will be before we can once again enjoy the simple morning ritual we used to take for granted.
In the interim, you’ve likely reacquainted yourself with your French press, or finally opened the instructions for the Gaggia that looks great but is too intimidating to actually use. Because if anything, in quarantine coffee, is more essential than it ever was. The process of making it is an important pillar that can help to structure our suddenly sedentary days – like a morning HIIT class on Zoom or a post-work family phone call. It’s no coincidence that Dalgona coffee went viral while the country was on lockdown.
Buy a hand grinder
“Great, specialty coffee has complex and delicate flavors when brewed properly. As soon as the coffee has been ground it begins to stale, and all of the interesting characteristics dissipate. Grinding your coffee just before brewing will make a noticeable improvement to the flavor profile in your cup. Another benefit of using a grinder is that you can choose the grind size, which is an important variable in brewing coffee. Don’t waste your money buying an expensive electric grinder, they normally use blades as opposed to burrs, which means the grind size uniformity is way off.
Experiment with the AeroPress
“The AeroPress is what made me fall in love with brewing coffee A humble device dreamed up by the sports toy manufacturer Aerobie, it changed the coffee industry forever. The plastic gadget marries full-immersion brewing with paper filtration, which allows for a clean mouthfeel, with a big body and full flavors. If you have time on your hands, which I imagine most of us do at the moment, get nerdy with an AeroPress (there are a million tutorials online). It will show you why people get so obsessed with brewing coffee.”
Rediscover the Moka pot
“Sometimes the only coffee that will hit the spot is an espresso, and the Moka pot, also known as a stove-top coffee maker, is massively overlooked. Once very popular, this coffee maker is now mostly found gathering dust at the back of the cupboard – get it out, give it a clean and use it to make a banging espresso at home. First grind your coffee as fine as you can, then fill the basket, and level it out using the side of your finger (don’t press or tamp the coffee). Now – and this is the most important tip – boil the kettle! Pour boiling water into the bottom section of the pot and fill it to just underneath the valve. Put the basket in the water, then screw on the top part (using a tea-towel so you don’t burn your fingers). Finally, put it over high heat, and espresso should quite quickly start coming through the top. Moka pots have a bad reputation because they’re used incorrectly, but when done properly, the coffee made in these is oddly satisfying – and huge in flavor.”
Make frothy milk at home
“Most people are missing their flat whites and lattes by now, so try recreating coffee shop-style steamed milk at home. While you’re making the espresso in your Moka pot, heat up some milk on the hob until it reaches 65 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, this is basically the point at which it becomes too hot to touch (risky business). Then, pour the milk into a French press and pump the filter up and down until you’ve got enough foam to top your coffee. It works surprisingly well.”
It doesn’t have to be hot
“We started Solo Coffee because we love great coffee, but as you can tell, it takes quite a bit of effort to make a good one at home. Cold-brew has a refreshing flavor profile, higher caffeine levels, and will stay fresh for longer – essentially it’s the perfect working-from-home assistant. To brew your own at home, grind your coffee coarsely (think demerara sugar texture), then, in a French press, pour the coffee in, add cold water and stir until all the grounds are wet. Start with a brewing ratio of 1:10 (1g of coffee to 10ml of water). Leave the coffee to brew for 16 hours at room temperature, then plunge and, ideally, put it through a paper filter. Finally, pour over ice and enjoy.”
By: Kerry Mcdermott