Physical distancing is in full effect in most parts of the world right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that many folks are spending much more time at home, it may not be possible to get over to your favorite local coffee spot to sit and enjoy your coffee. Many cafes have adjusted their businesses to provide takeout service only, or only roasting their beans and not serving coffee, but some are not able to do either of these. And even if you could do takeout, isn’t it nice to sit, sip and savour your coffee? If this sounds like all the issues you’re having, I’ve got you covered. Here’s how to make all your favorite cafe drinks at home during these unprecedented times.
The First Step for Any Good Coffee: Grinding
Depending on what drink you want to make, you may or may not require some specialized equipment. The most important thing to start with is a good coffee grinder. We’re just going to assume you have a proper coffee grinder and not mention it in the specific sections below. Freshly ground coffee, using a good burr grinder is the first step for a great cup of coffee, due to the uniformity and freshness of the grind.
Drip Coffee, K-Cups
If you’ve gotten this far in life and you don’t know how to make drip coffee, use a Keurig or make instant coffee, we’re not sure this article will even help you out with that. If you just want drip or K-cup coffee, just go get yourself a coffee maker and filters, Keurig machine and K-cups, and have at it. We’ve got a few different options here on the site you may want to look at.
Got instant coffee laying around the house from that camping trip you took last summer? Well, I’ve got a special recipe for you to try. From social media challenge, to global phenomenon, Dalgona Coffee is now found everywhere you look online. And yes, I realize the irony of that statement since it’s being included in this article. Dalgona coffee is a gloriously smooth and creamy whipped coffee made with equal amounts of instant coffee, hot water, and sugar.
Start by combining 2 tablespoons of instant coffee, 2 tablespoons sugar (cane sugar is best) and 2 tablespoons of hot water, and then mixing or whipping until stiff peaks form. This should definitely be done with an electric mixer, but it is possible by hand. Serve it on top of hot or cold milk and you’re good to go!
If you’ve never had a pour over coffee, perhaps scoffing at the idea thinking it’s just an overly complicated and expensive drip coffee, now may be the time to try it out yourself. Making pour over coffee is methodical, meditative, and can produce a wonderful cup of coffee that accentuates the flavors of your beans. To make pour over coffee, you’ll need some specialized equipment.
The simplest setup involves a reusable metal coffee filter you just place over your coffee mug and pour hot water over coffee grounds. You can also use paper filters, which all have different sizes to dictate what gets through to your cup or is held back in the filter. A gooseneck kettle is typically recommended to allow for a slow, even pour of hot water of your ground coffee, and a scale is also recommended so you can hone in your ratios, though typically 1g of coffee to 16g of water is the standard. As you can see, there’s actually quite a bit to pour overs, so it’s worth investigating more if you find it interesting.
Espresso, Americano, Long Blacks etc.
If the reason you go to a cafe is to get espresso or an americano, well, you will definitely need some new gear if you want to make these at home since the key to making espresso is forcing nearly boiling water through the coffee under high pressure. For an americano, you just add water to your espresso. For a long black, just add less water!
Espresso machines are not cheap, but now may be the time to make the investment if you’re going to be needing your coffee fix regularly. Once you’ve got your espresso machine, there are a few key tenants to making espresso to adhere to. Typically you want around 7g of coffee, the temperature of the water to be around 88F and 131 psi of pressure, so the temperature in the cup is around 67F, with around 25ml, poured over 25 seconds. There are so many variables to espresso, and they can change due to variations in bean size, grind size, roast level, even the humidity and temperature on a given day. There is lots to learn here too, so
Cappuccinos and Lattes
If you’re looking to make cappuccinos, lattes or other milk drinks like cortados, you’ll need an espresso machine to make your espresso (the building block of all these drinks) as well as a steam wand and your choice of milk. Dairy milk always foams the best, but oat milk, almond milk and cashew milk are new dairy-free alternatives that baristas around the world are starting to use more and more. To make a traditional cappuccino, you make a double espresso and top it off with foamed milk. A cappuccino you’d get at a modern coffee shop is more like a small latte, with ratios of ⅓ espresso, ⅓ milk and ⅓ foam. A latte, by comparison, is typically a shot of espresso and steam milk with ratios of ¼ espresso, 1/2 milk and ¼ foam. There are also some other variations such as macchiatos, flat whites and cortados with their own varying ratios.
The most important thing to note from this article is that regardless of the type of coffee drink you want to make, you’ll need to get some equipment that comes standard in most coffee shops. We’ve got some great articles elsewhere on the site to help you choose the equipment you’ll need which we’d recommend checking out next.