How to make the perfect lockdown coffee
- Credit: Will Maddocks
Whether you prefer a latte or flat white or just a big cup of filter, here are some tips to make the perfect coffee at home during lockdown.
Alex Sargeant, one of the directors at Strangers Coffee Company, in Norwich, said: “It goes without saying to get the perfect cup of coffee at home you need to start with high-quality beans or ground coffee. You get back what you put in.
“I recommend trying freshly roasted speciality grade coffee.
"This way, the beans have been bought for their flavour, tasted and scored and the farmer is rewarded for their hard work growing the crops, and we get delicious coffee.
“I also only use only 100pc arabica coffee: you won’t find robust coffee in my cup as it tends to bring bitter rubbery flavours to the brew.
“Great beans are not the only secret to improving your home brew. Here’s a couple of other things to consider."
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“Whether you're using mineral or tap, water will make a big difference in taste.
"Even changing brands of mineral water may make differences in the flavour of your final cup. So, change it up and see if it does for you.
"Watch your water temperature, too hot, over 98 degrees and you're going to pull negative flavours from your coffee, leading to a bitter cup, to low temp won't extract enough and you’ll end up with a flavourless, flat brew.
"Get a thermometer to help be more accurate with water and milk temps and see what you like."
Get some scales
"The ratio of coffee to water makes a big difference to taste and mouthfeel. Weigh your coffee and water, each time you make a cup. That way making small adjustments to your recipe in future is easy.
"Too weak - more coffee or less water.
"Too strong - less coffee or more water."
Perhaps the perfect espresso is your quest
“This is where coffee gets a bit more tricky and potentially very expensive.
“If you have an espresso machine already then great, you're halfway there.
“Consider a good burr grinder as this is fundamental to getting the best from your beans. Making small grind adjustments affects extraction times which in turn affects flavour.
“Play around with the amount of coffee you use, length of espresso shot, and extraction times as these all make big changes to the coffee's taste."
“Once you’ve got the espresso right, you may want to try a milky drink like a latte, cappuccino, or a Flat white.
“For that, you need to steam some milk with the steam arm on your espresso machine.
“Steam the milk, raising the volume by a third, trying to use the steam to spin the milk in your pitcher. You only want tiny bubbles for a really creamy texture.
“If you're heating milk you want to keep this below 70 degrees, ideally between 50-65deg to ensure the protein structures hold, and smooth texture remains.
“Once you’ve got the basics, practice and experimentation is the only way to find what works for you as everyone’s taste is different."
He added: “Need more advice? Strangers Coffee is still here to help you with your coffee journey, even during lockdown.
“All three of our stores are open for takeaway and our baristas will always try and help answer any coffee questions you may have or suggest the right beans for you.
“We also have recipes for most brewing methods, available on our website, to help get you started.”