Making coffee house coffee at home doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, with the right tips and a bit of practice, you can make some of the best coffee around. In this blog post, we will take a look at five tips for making killer coffeehouse-style coffee at home. We'll also take a look at some of the best machines and accessories for doing so. Let's get started!
What Type Of Coffee Drinks Are You Wanting To Make?
Novice "coffee" drinkers and especially those who might be looking to buy a coffee machine for someone as a gift don't always understand the differences between cappuccino, espresso, and traditionally brewed coffee. The types of machines and processes needed to brew a proper cup though are very different though and so this is where we need to start with any discussion of making a great cup of coffee.
Realistically, there are two primary types of coffee categories - Brewed Coffee and Espresso. Brewed coffee is where water is run through the ground coffee beans and comes out usually in an 8oz portion size. This is your classic "American Breakfast Coffee". Espresso on the other hand is a more refined European-style beverage that can be looked at as a thicker, bolder, more concentrated coffee drink and is usually served as a 1.5 oz shot.
From here, there are all sorts of other variations including cold brew, latte, and cappuccino - which I'm going to consider a variation on espresso since it is essentially espresso and steamed milk. Furthermore, on the brewed coffee side there are variations that include using a drip machine vs French Press vs cold brew but they all work on the same principle.
Which is "best" is completely subjective and each type of coffee has its own strengths and weaknesses that are a very personal set of preferences.
Finally, it is also important to note that coffee pods are increasingly popular and the quality has matured to the point where they can emulate 90% of the experience you might have in an actual coffee shop but with a fraction of the effort. For this article though, we're going to focus on the more traditional coffee-making process.
Ultimately you need to define what Coffee House coffee means to you. This will save you a tremendous amount of money, time, and effort. For instance, if all you are looking for is a delicious caramel iced latte then you can avoid buying an expensive espresso machine and instead focus on a cheaper traditional drip coffee maker and spend the extra money on a great Carmel syrup instead.
Picking The Right Coffee Beans To Make That Perfect Cup
Not all coffee beans are the same and the variety you see on the market today is as wide as the types of beers and wines you might see on your grocery store shelves. It is sometimes difficult to determine the right fit for your preferences but if your goal is to replicate a coffee house experience at home then it is important to pick beans that have been sourced with the ethics and quality that reflect your lifestyle. Likewise, having a great story or a fun name doesn't hurt either!
For instance, Mystic Monk Coffee offers a variety of delicious blends in whole beans, ground, or pods. This may sound like a hipster sort of name but the beans are actually roasted by Carmelite Monks from their monastery in Wyoming's Rockey Mountains as a way to help support their community.
Preparing Those Beans
Depending on what product you buy, your beans will either come whole or ground. If you are making a traditional American-style cup of coffee then most pre-ground beans are fine. However, for a proper cup of espresso, you will need to select ground beans that are prepared for use as espresso, or grind them yourself to ensure maximum freshness.
Many high-end coffee machines will grind these beans for you as part of the brewing process.
Accessories and Addons To Make That Perfect Coffee House Experience
If you want to make a great cup of coffee at home, there are a few key accessories and add-ons that can help. These are especially important for preparing espresso and include:
quality coffee grinder - This is important whether you are using whole beans or pre-ground coffee. A quality grinder will help ensure a consistent grind which is critical for making great espresso.
tamper - Again, this is critical for making espresso as it helps to evenly compress the grounds in the filter basket. This results in more even extraction and a better-tasting cup of coffee.
milk steamer - If you want to make lattes or cappuccinos at home then having a quality milk steamer is essential. There are many different types on the market but they all essentially do the same thing - heat and froth milk.
coffee scale - This is a less essential item but can be helpful if you want to make sure you are using the right amount of coffee. When making espresso, it is important to use the proper ratio of coffee to water and a scale can help ensure accuracy.
Additionally, you'll want to consider having a blender and ice maker if you are wanting to make blended coffee drinks to replicate something like a Starbucks Frappuccino for instance.
Finally, don't forget about the syrups and flavorings too. For me, this is the most fun part of coffee house coffee drinks. I'm in love with my mocha and caramel-flavored coffees and while Torani Syrups are the traditional choice - I prefer to use real caramel instead of just flavorings since it has more texture and looks great on iced caramel lattes.
Don't Forget To Use The Perfect Cups To Serve Your Coffee
We've talked about preparing that perfect cup but everything ultimately comes down to serving that cup so you can enjoy it the way you would in a coffee shop ... and no we don't mean in a paper cup with a sippy lid!
Glass or Ceramic? - While the flavor of your coffee will be the same, ceramic coffee cups are usually thicker and ceramic retains heat better so your coffee will stay warmer longer.
Narrow or Wide Mouth Coffee Cup? - Again, this won't impact the actual flavor of the coffee but for hot coffee especially, having a wider top of the cup will allow the coffee to cool more quickly and a narrower top will provide a more concentrated aroma. For people who like the hottest coffee possible, a narrow top is going to be a better choice but for those of us who love latte drinks and slightly cooler sips, a wider cup is the best choice.
On the other hand, if you are going a Frappuccino or iced coffee route then just pick a stylish tumbler that matches your personality. While plastic and aluminum travel tumblers have a level of convenience that can't be denied for your busy lifestyle - this is about replicating your coffee house experience at home.
As such, consider doing something fun like using mason jars to hold your iced coffee or a glass tumbler.
There you have it, the five keys to making a perfect coffee house experience at home. From the right coffee and machine to the perfect cup and accessories - pay attention to these details and you'll be well on your way. Enjoy!