Start your Day with the Right Roast

7 tips for amazing coffee at home

There’s making coffee at home...and then there’s home brewing. As any coffee aficionado knows, there is a whole world of difference between putting a pod in a Keurig and going through the rewarding (and delicious!) process of brewing your own. 

Not everybody hits it out of the park the first time though, so we asked our resident coffee ninja masters to come up with a few tips and tricks to help the folks at home get the best out of their home brew setups.

Start with the right roast

To really kick your brewing into high gear, you need to start off with the right ingredients - a key one being superior coffee. Sure, you can go to the supermarket and just buy whatever is on sale. But there is a world of difference between bargain brand and something hand selected and crafted by artisans. It might cost a little bit more, but if you’re going to all the trouble of elevating your coffee time, it’s worth it.

Brew at the ideal temperature

Beans plus hot water equals coffee, right? 

Yes...and no. 

Technically speaking, that equation is correct. But coffee aficionados over the years have discovered that if the water is too cold the coffee doesn’t release it’s full flavor - a lot of times this contributes to “weak” coffee. Too hot, and you actually burn the beans, making your coffee bitter and gross tasting.  

Fortunately, you don’t need to do a lot of scientific calculations - the exact number you’re looking for is 205 degrees. You can use an old school thermometer or electric kettle to help you achieve the perfect water temperature for your coffee.

Get consistent grounds

You trust your grinder implicitly, right? 

Even the best appliance is going to wear out over time. And even at their peak they may not grind perfectly one hundred percent of the time. 

What’s the big deal with inconsistent grounds? Well, for one thing, different size grounds are going to release flavors differently - this gives your coffee an inconsistent flavor. This is where a burr grinder comes in.

Burr grinders help make sure that luxurious coffee you took the time to grind comes out perfect. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out our deep dive into burr grinders HERE

Use the right water

Using plain old tap water might be the easiest thing, but isn’t always the best. You might like the taste of your water right from the spigot - and if you do, that’s great. But a lot of chemicals can be added (including chlorine) that can negatively impact the taste of your coffee. 

If you find your coffee tasting weird, tap water might just be the reason why. 

There are other factors as well. If water doesn’t have enough minerals in it, (example: distilled water), it’s considered “soft” and  you might find the coffee coming out pretty flavorless. Water with a lot of minerals in it - like high levels of calcium and magnesium - is considered “hard”. 

Different beans respond better to different types of water, too. Some are perfect for hard water, and sometimes soft water helps the flavor to shine. You can do the legwork yourself to find out what kind of water you have - calling your local water authority is a good start. 

Store your coffee properly

The freshness factor has, at times, taken on an almost religious character, but there’s truth in it: air, light, and heat all act on coffee beans in different ways, changing the flavor and quickening their demise. 

That said, it’s good to keep things simple. You don’t have to store your beans in a doomsday bunker, liquid nitrogen freezer, in amber colored glass canisters, to follow some best practices. In fact, putting coffee in the freezer can cause the beans to crack, and can lead to condensation on the beans after you take them out, damaging the aroma and structure. 

If you keep your beans in airtight containers, out of direct sunlight, you should be fine. And remember, it takes about a week after the roast date for most of the C02 to be released (that’s why our bags have a little hole in them) and the flavor evolves over that time (Darwin was right!)

Let the coffee speak for itself

Of course there’s nothing wrong with sugar and cream, after all we have flavored drinks in our brick and mortar shops and Nashville airport locations, and we go way beyond milk and sugar… you can get an Oat Milk Lavender Latte at 8&R… but there’s also something special about letting the coffee speak for itself. 

Remember, these beans have traveled half-way around the world to get into our roaster and eventually fill your cup with incredibly unique, distinct flavors and aromas… each roast has a story to tell. 

So even if you like cream and sugar, let yourself experience the roast you’ve brewed on its own first, just for a second. You might just notice some subtle details that weren’t detectable before. 

Try out different brew methods

Auto-drip coffee makers have been a fixture of modern life for decades, but there’s other options: for a classic experience, try a French press or Chemex. What you sacrifice in terms of convenience is more than made up for in the experience of great specialty coffee made with intention. 

Two other options to try are the Kalita Wave and the Clever Brewer, both slightly different ways of getting a great pour over.

There’s a lot that goes into a great cup of coffee - time, energy, and yes...expertise. Whether your own or that of a trusted roaster like 8&R, the care and consideration that goes into specialty coffee is a world unto itself… a world you can step into every morning, in your own kitchen. 

Don’t know where to start? Get on the “Roaster’s Choice” subscription HERE and we’ll send you a different roast each time!

8th and Roast