How to make the perfect cup of coffee at home
Making great coffee doesn’t need expensive kit or masses of specialist knowledge, but a little advice will ensure you brew a flavourful, aromatic cup every time
Want to make the best coffee at home? Want to learn how baristas make coffee in a coffee shop? Check out our guide below for easy tips to create the perfect cup...
The best ways to make coffee
How to make coffee in a cafetière – best for bold, rich coffee
This method steeps grounds in hot water in a pot before pushing down a built-in plungerfilter that separates the grounds from the liquid. It makes a robust brew with a rich flavour because the water stays in contact with the coffee for longer, and more of the oils, fine particles and aromatics are retained. Use a coarse grind (medium to dark roast) – too fine and the particles clog the filter, and the resulting brew may taste bitter. When adding water, stir to ensure the grounds are distributed evenly then steep for around four minutes and don’t leave it for too long, otherwise the coffee will taste bitter. Once ready, slowly press the plunger all the way down, Serve the coffee immediately. If you don’t want to drink straight away then pour into a carafe or pot.
How to make coffee using the pour-over method – best for a light, clean cup of coffee
Pour-over coffee is made by pouring hot water over ground coffee in a paper or metal filter inserted into a pour-over container (Hario V60 or Chemex are popular brands) that drips into a carafe or cup. It allows water to slowly and consistently pass through the grounds, extracting the flavour of the coffee without retaining any impurities, oils or sediment (which are trapped by the filter). This makes a delicate, light brew that highlights the nuanced flavours of coffee. Use light roasted beans, ground to medium/ medium-fine. Add the grounds to your filter and shake so it sits evenly. Pour over the water in a slow spiral for 2-3 minutes, ensuring the grounds are evenly saturated. Once the coffee has finished dripping into the cup or carafe then it’s ready to drink.
How to make coffee in a moka pot – best for espresso-like brews
Moka pots work by heating water in a lower chamber, pressures forces it up through a filter basket of coffee grounds and into an upper chamber. The end result is similar to a cup of espresso. Aim for a fine to mediumfine grind and a medium to dark roast. Don’t tamp down the coffee when you add it to the filter, just keep it level. Use hot water to fill the moka pot, and fill up to the line (never past the safety valve). Gently warm the pot over a low-medium heat and when the water starts to boil, turn down to the lowest heat or even turn off completely – depending on your heat source the residual heat should do the job, but you may have to experiment. The coffee should slowly flow into the top chamber (if it sputters out it’s too hot). Once you hear a hissing sound, take off the heat and serve.
How to make Aeropress coffee – best for a speedy, strong cup of coffee
This cylindrical device steeps grounds in water (give it a stir first) before forcing it through a paper or metal filter by slowly pressing a plunger through the tube. It makes a full-bodied coffee very quickly – between 1-2 minutes. It’s also small and portable, so perfect for camping or holidays. Use a medium to fine grind, and choose the roast depending on your taste preferences.
What's the best coffee to water ratio?
A good general rule is to use 15g of ground coffee per 250ml of water, although you can play around with proportions depending on how strong you like your coffee (with moka pots, use the filter basket as a guide for how much to put in).
Is whole or ground coffee best?
To get the most flavour out of your coffee, buy whole beans (use them within two to three weeks of their roast date) and grind a fresh batch for each cup – burr grinders are best for ensuring an even grind, which also improves flavour. Store beans in an opaque, airtight container somewhere dark, dry and cool.
What's the best water temperature for coffee?
Don’t use boiling water as it will burn the coffee and turn it acrid. A good rule of thumb is to wait 30 seconds after boiling water before using.