How to Make Barista-Tasting Coffee at Home

On average, you will spend approximately $1,460 on barista-made coffee per year. That’s if you only drink one per day and don't pay the additional $1 for a fancy dairy-free milk. Let that sink in. 

In saying that, investing what you now know is a pretty decent amount of money into caffeinated liquid each year is a non-negotiable. After all, the best part of any given day is walking to your favourite cafe to order a steaming cup of high-quality tasting coffee. It’s become a ritual, a part of your to-do list and it definitely counts as self-care, right? 

But what if we told you that you could save money by replicating that cafe-quality cup of goodness at home - sans the bitter-watered-down liquid you normally associate with homemade brewed coffee? 

Bed Threads Journal asked the barista team at Pilgrims Bronte, with the helping hand of Sydney-based specialty coffee roaster Pablo & Rusty’s, to reveal all the tricks of the trade you need to know about recreating that four-dollar (or more) cup of joe in your very own kitchen. 

7 top tips to creating barista-quality coffee at home

1. Fresh beans are best

Always make sure to have fresh, high-quality beans on hand. Fresh beans mean lots of flavour, whereas stale or old beans will be very flat and one-dimensional - not the cafe at-home experience you were searching for. You'll also miss out on that long-lasting aroma your nose picks up at your local cafe that excites the rest of your senses for things to come. 

2. Grind per serve

Try your best to grind your coffee as you need it. The reason behind this is once the coffee is ground, it accelerates the 'best before' timeframe drastically. If you can, invest in a good quality grinder.

3. Store your beans in an airtight container

Always store your coffee in an airtight container out of the sun, and keep it in a cool place. If you don't, you run the risk of heat and sunlight impacting the flavour of your coffee in both ground or full bean form. No one wants dry, flavourless coffee.

4. Only use a quality machine or equipment

You're much more likely to produce a cafe-quality experience at home with the right tools. While you will be paying more upfront, it’s definitely worth it for the difference in taste plus, you’ll be spending less in the long-term not having to replace them as often.

5. Know the size of your favourite mug 

Coffee is not a one-scoop-fits-all. However, almost every machine will have one standard 'recipe' or 'dose'. If your favourite go-to mug at home is one-and-a-half times the size of a 'normal 8oz' cafe-sized cup, you'll find it too weak. 

6. Fresh, cold milk. Always.

Always use fresh, cold milk. Using cold milk every time stops the possibility of burning milk and souring the proteins present.

7. Clean and flush your machine

Always clean and flush your machine after every use, and have it serviced. Not doing this will take away from everything you've worked so hard to achieve. 

7 biggest mistakes you’re probably making when brewing coffee

So, you think you’re doing everything right but you’re still getting a bitter, underwhelming brew? There are a few mistakes you’re probably still making...

1. Using cups or mugs that are too big or too small

Think of making a cake in a bigger than normal tin and just adding more water or milk to fill the tin - not a great end result!

2. Keeping coffee grinds in a non-airtight container

Doing this speeds up the process of the coffee drying up and losing flavour before you get started.

3. Not measuring your dose of coffee

Doing this will never give you the same results twice! Unlike instant coffee, fresh coffee flavours change dramatically with even half a gram difference.

4. Incorrectly grinding coffee

There’s a good chance you’re incorrectly grinding coffee for the type of beverage you intend to make, whether that be espresso, cold brew, pour over, drip filter, French press - the list really goes on.

Research the type of grind you will need for the type of coffee you want. For example, an espresso grind is very fine and will result in a slow pour from your machine, but a grind for a drip filter would literally pour like water and have no taste. 

5. Leaving your steamed milk sitting on the bench before pouring

This is a big no-no as the milk and the textured froth separate like oil and water. Be sure to keep spinning it in the jug in a circular motion to keep it light and fluffy.

6. Not frequently cleaning your equipment

It's simple but important!

7. Using expired beans

A good tip is to throw your old coffee on your garden beds after six weeks. After six weeks (on average for home use), the coffee has passed its peak and is ready to be replaced by another batch of fresh beans. 

Follow Pilgrims Bronte on Instagram @pilgrimsbronte and Pablo & Rusty's @pabloandrustys.

Liked this? Here, a dietitian ranks the most popular coffee orders from healthiest to least healthiest. So, how does your go-to rank?

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