Whether you’re looking to fill your time with a new hobby or are seriously enthusiastic about coffee and want to be able to make your perfect brew at home without the need to go and pay for a cup at a coffee shop every time, there has never been a better time than the present when it comes to learning the basic skills that you need to become a home barista. Brewing coffee at home has never been as popular as it is right now thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw more people working from home and missing out on passing their favorite coffee shop to grab a cup every morning. The good news is that with plenty of different and easy ways to brew coffee at home, you don’t have to go to a café to order your favorite drink; there are lots of different coffee recipes that you can try at home.
What Does a Barista Do?
The job of a barista is to brew various type of coffee, along with understanding and selecting the best coffee bean types to make the perfect coffee shots. It’s a job that requires skills and technique, and if you want to start making your coffee like a barista at home, it’s important to be consistent when it comes to learning new things. Practice as much as you can – the first coffee that you brew probably isn’t going to be your best one ever, but the more you keep going, the more you will improve. While most home baristas don’t get as good as professional baristas, since you’re at home with home equipment rather than professional coffee shop stuff, you can still get quite close by watching barista training videos, investing in the right equipment, and practicing as much as you can to perfect your craft. So, how can you become a better barista at home? Check out these top tips.
Understand Current Coffee Trends
Creating your own menu of coffee drinks to enjoy is a great skill to have. To do this, it’s a good idea to stay up to date with the latest coffee trends and understand how coffee is evolving over time. Spend your spare time researching the coffee drinks that are the most popular ones these days and try out different ones to figure out what you enjoy the most.
Invest in the Right Machines and Tools
While skill does play a large part in the quality of the coffee that you brew as a home barista, it’s important to make sure that you invest in the best quality equipment. The good news is that there are lots of different machines and equipment types that you can buy to make coffee at home and some of them are not as expensive as the others. For example, an espresso machine is likely to set you back a few hundred dollars if you want to make espresso at home, but on the other hand, you could try a Moka Pot, which brews espresso-like coffee for a fraction of the price. If you like your coffee strong, consider getting a French Press – one of the easiest and simplest ways to brew great coffee, and for quite a low price too. Alternatively, if you want a quick, easy, and mess-free experience, you may want to consider getting a Nespresso or Keurig machine that uses plastic coffee pods to make your brew. If you’re on a budget, check out home barista buy sell groups on social media for second-hand equipment in great condition. Some of the basics you’ll need include:
Coffee Maker: There are lots of great coffee maker options to choose from if you want to start brewing your own coffee at home. According to research and customer reviews, capsule or K-cup coffee makers and espresso machines are the most popular choices for home baristas.
Coffee Grinder: If you want the best coffee, then don’t buy it pre-ground – get your own coffee grinder so that you can grind your beans freshly for each cup you make. A burr grinder is always a better option compared to a blade grinder, since burr grinders will always grind uniformly and consistently.
Portafilter: If you love espresso and are going to get your own espresso machine to make this drink at home, you’re going to need a portafilter. This small, yet essential piece of equipment looks a little bit like a spoon and serves the main feature of holding the ground coffee. The portafilter is attached to the espresso machine and then the hot water goes through the beans to extract the coffee for the perfect espresso. Most espresso machines come with a portafilter included, but you can get a different one that you prefer as long as it’s compatible with your machine.
Milk Frothing Jug: If you like to take your coffee with milk, then a milk frothing jug is going to be another essential purchase for your home barista set-up. There are two types of pitchers: classic or sharp design. A classic pitcher is the best option for home baristas as it’s easier to use to pour the milk consistently.
Steam Wand: If you want to make cappuccinos and lattes with latte art, you’re going to need a steam want. You can get some espresso machines that come with a steam wand included, or get a separate machine designed for steaming the milk. You will use this to create microfoam with your milk, allowing you to practice your latte art.
Choosing the Right Coffee Beans
The next thing to get to grips with if you want to be a home barista is choosing the right coffee beans. Ground coffee can be an appealing option for those who are just starting out as they are convenient to use. You may want to consider using pre-ground beans for your first few times so that you can practice; however, it is worth bearing in mind that your coffee is not going to taste as good since most of the time, pre-ground beans are simply not very fresh. To make the best cup of coffee at home, you should grind your beans by yourself. You can even take it to the next level once you have gained some experience and roast your own beans at home for the ultimate professional taste. Coffee grounds tend to start to lose their taste after just thirty minutes of grinding, so it’s best to grind your beans freshly and immediately before brewing.
Use Filtered Water
When it comes to getting the best results from your home barista kit, one of the best things to make sure that you do is use filtered water, rather than water straight out of the tap for brewing your coffee. Just like the ingredients play an important part in the taste of the food that you cook, the same goes for coffee. Filtered water will always lead to better-tasting coffee, since using normal tap water contains minerals that will find their way into the coffee and could alter the taste, causing higher acidity.
Learn How to Steam Milk
Unless you only like to drink your coffee black, learning how to steam milk is a key barista skill that you will want to get the hang of at home. Steaming milk is a process of making the milk hot before turning it into microfoam that can be added to your coffee. The good news is that steaming milk with a steam wand is not actually a very complicated process, and it’s easier to learn than you might think. Basically, you will need to learn how to control the temperature of the milk well before pouring it into your coffee.
Keep Your Machine Clean
A good barista knows just how important it is to keep their machines well-maintained and in good working order. Even if you have only used your espresso machine to pull one shot of espresso today, it’s a good idea to clean it out after each use to keep it in good condition and prevent future problems. If your coffee machine has not been cleaned for a while, not only does this mean that it is at a higher risk of problems and breaking down, but it can also start to affect the taste of the coffee.
If you’re new to brewing your own coffee at home, don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time – even the best baristas in the world had to start somewhere. It’s quite normal to fail several times when trying to brew the perfect cup of coffee, but keep practicing and don’t give up, and eventually you’re going to get there. Don’t let the little failures frustrate you – the more you practice, the better results you are going to get, especially when it comes to the more intricate techniques like latte art.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic saw more people working from home than ever before, home barista set-ups have become increasingly popular. Keep these tips in mind if you’re interested in brewing your own great coffee at home.