8 Easy Tips and Hacks for Brewing Better Coffee at Home

While visiting your favourite cafe to enjoy that morning cuppa is great, you have to admit there’s something magical about not having to step out of your house for a quality cup of coffee.

Be your own barista and follow these eight amazing tips and hacks for the perfect brew right in the comfort of your own home.

1. Buy Whole Beans, Not Pre-ground

It may not seem like a big thing, but you can really taste the difference between pre-ground coffee and whole-bean coffee.

Having a whole-bean coffee means you’re getting the freshest cup possible. If you think about it, it makes sense, too: from seed to plant, coffee beans go through a long process. Once the bean is ground up, it starts to age at a rapid pace.

Whole-bean coffee is generally fresher, has better flavour, and smells a whole lot more impressive.

2. Stick to the Good Stuff

This tip seems self-explanatory, but it’s important to be selective and choose quality beans.

If you’re unsure where one would go for quality beans, look to specialty coffee shops, which are more likely to have beans that aren’t over-roasted. If you’re shopping for beans online, don’t bulk buy, and check for a ‘roasted on’ date and not a ‘best by’ date.

When looking at the roast date, search for something that’s been roasted anywhere from seven to 21 days from the said roasted date. Any coffee in this time frame will more or less be as fresh as it can possibly be.

3. Arabica vs Robusta, Light Roasts vs Dark Roasts

four types of coffee roasts
Roasts vary in colour, so note the difference between them: lighter roasts give you milder flavours, medium roasts result in coffee that’s balanced with a more rounded aroma, and dark roasts usually have full-bodied chocolatey notes. Photo from Christina Rumpf.

The only way to ensure you make the perfect pick-me-up at home is to know coffee inside out.

When buying beans, learn the difference between Arabica versus Robusta beans. Arabica beans tend to have a sweeter, smoother, flavour profile paired with notes of chocolate and sugar. Robusta beans produce full-bodied coffee that’s earthier and more acidic), as well as light roasts versus dark roasts.

4. Store Your Beans the Right Way

a container filled with coffee beans
Keep your coffee beans fresh by storing them in a vacuum-sealed canister. Featuring the De’Longhi Vacuum Sealed Coffee Beans Canister. Photo from De’Longhi.

There seems to be some belief that storing coffee beans in the fridge helps preserve it for longer, but this really isn’t the case. What may end up happening is the beans will absorb moisture from the fridge, along with smells of any pungent foods in there.

Don’t want your coffee tasting like kimchi or whatever you had for dinner two nights ago? Store them in a vacuum-sealed canister or airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from light.

Get the De’Longhi Vacuum Sealed Coffee Beans Canister today for SGD79 or MYR240.

5. Focus on the Quality of Your Water

This is interesting: many baristas and coffee experts believe the tap water versus purified water debate is a big deal.

Water makes up to 98% of your cup of coffee, so you have to think about how things like water hardness, minerality, and alkalinity may affect the overall quality and taste. In some countries, tap water may be too hard (or soft) to bring out the best flavours in your brew.

Read this article to find out if you can use your tap water to brew coffee.

6. Add Spices to Jazz Things Up

a cup of coffee surrounded by various spices
Don’t shy away from adding additional ingredients such as cacao shells and cinnamon sticks into your coffee. Photo from Brigitte Tohm.

Flavoured coffee can be full of artificial ingredients that clash with the actual flavour of coffee beans.

Keep things honest by adding natural ingredients instead, so experiment with things like cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cacao shells, toasted hazelnuts, and so on.

7. Invest in a Good Coffee Machine

a coffee machine and various coffee beverages
Brew everything that you desire, to perfection, with a reliable coffee machine. Featuring the Dinamica Plus. Photo from De’Longhi.

This goes without saying, but the quality of a cuppa depends mainly on the type of coffee machine you’re using.

Whether you’re after a pump espresso (check out the Dedica Style) or a bean-to-cup (hello, Dinamica Plus), take the time to do your research and know what you’re spending your money on.

8. Clean Your Machine Regularly

Remnants of old coffee can taint the taste and quality of a freshly brewed cup.

Get into the nooks and crannies of your machine, and pay special attention to where the coffee drains through the filter. Also, make use of vinegar, baking soda, and water to get those super stubborn stains.