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How to Make Premium Coffee at Home

Updated on January 29, 2015

How to Make Great Coffee at Home

Making great coffee at home isn't difficult. Most of us are so used to paying $3.00 for a cup of coffee in a cafe that we don't think we can make it as good as home. We can. For many years I lived in the great Pacific Northwest where everyone is swimming in caffeine. I worked as a barista in college and learned way too much about coffee. In this lens I will show you some tips and tricks to making great coffee at home so you don't have to buy it at your local cafe.

coffee beans
coffee beans

Choosing Coffee Beans

Let's start at the beginning. To make a great cup of coffee, you need to use quality beans. They should be Arabica. There are also Robusta beans but I would avoid them. They are used mostly for instant coffee blends and don't have the flavour that Arabica does. They have twice as much caffeine than Arabica but it has a more bitter taste.

If you are buying your beans at a local cafe, they will most likely have Arabica. You should ask the barista to be sure but any serious cafe selling premium coffee for $3+ a cup isn't going to mess with an inferior bean. Make sure it's Arabica.

morning coffee
morning coffee

Roasting Coffee Beans

When buying pre-roasted beans, there will always be a date on the package. It tells you when the beans were roasted or cooked. Like most things that are cooked, they have a short expiration date. Pick the beans that have been roasted recently and you are on your way to a great cup of coffee.

You can buy beans pre-roasted at your local cafe or roaster. Or for optimum freshness and flavour, you can roast them at home. Don't be intimidated. It is far easier than it sounds. It's just cooking them in a pot until they are done. I really recommend roasting your beans at home to brew a great cup of coffee.

How to Home Roast Coffee

As I mentioned above, home roasting coffee beans is easy. All you are doing is cooking the coffee beans. For your first roast, start out with a saucepan or pot. If you continue to home roast, I would suggest using a popcorn maker or home roaster but for the first few times, just use what you have.

Put a small amount of beans in the pot and add heat. Using a wooden spoon, turn them over constantly. You need to keep the beans in constant motion so they don't burn. And also to watch it very carefully. As the bean cooks, it will lose its skin or chaff. Keep in mind that there will be smoke as the bean cooks so don't be alarmed. You will also hear a popping as it cooks. If you prefer a light roast, you can stop when the popping begins. If you like a darker roast, keep stirring. Like making popcorn, when the popping slows down, the beans are done.

As soon as you remove the beans from the heat, you need to cool them down. I usually put the beans in a metal strainer and put in front of a fan. Never put them in a plastic bowl as they will be very hot and melt the plastic. After the beans have cooled, put them in a container with a lid away from light. You will be able to brew your roast in a day.

Grinding Coffee Beans

I'm one of those people who grinds their own coffee beans. I used to think it didn't make a difference in taste but it does. Buying freshly ground coffee beans or grinding them at home is a great way to add flavour to your coffee.

Check out this video to see how easy it is to grind your own beans at home.


Brewing Premium Coffee at Home

Ok. You've bought Arabica beans. You've either home roasted (preferable) or bought freshly roasted beans at your local cafe. You have ground your beans. Now it's time to brew that great cup of coffee I promised you in the introduction. You don't need a fancy $200 dollar coffee-maker. If you have one, that's great. If you don't, it's not a big deal. The secret to making a great cup of coffee is in the choice of beans and getting them as freshly roasted and ground as possible.


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