Which coffeemaker brings out the most flavorful yet satisfying taste in your cup? Still confused? Well, most of the coffeemaker's are capable of making a good cup of coffee good.
However, you can make it more satisfying by following the pro-tips from our coffee insider. Here are the top coffeemakers you are *probably* already using or planning to buy and how you can make the most of your equipment.
Pod Brewing Machines
This may be difficult to hear, but it’s the truth: you will never be able to make an excellent, strong, flavorful cup of coffee with a pod brewer. But since you’ve already spent money on a pod brewer, are you stuck with dull coffee? Not at all.
Use your pod brewer for instant hot water with another brewing method like a Chemex, French press or an AeroPress for a rich, flavorful cup that still only takes a few minutes to brew.
One of the most elegant preparations, it seems many people are intimidated to try this seemingly complex brewing method. Don’t be fooled! There are just a couple of things you need to make sure you do:
1. Get coffee ground the right size.
Do not use ground coffee from the store! You need to purchase whole bean coffee and grind it yourself or purchase coffee from a small company that will grind it specifically for use in your Chemex.
Many restaurants don’t even know this tip! Once you’ve added hot water to your coffee grounds, you need to agitate the grounds in the water to make sure there are no air pockets, that all the grounds are wet and submerged.
Using a wooden spoon or chopstick is often best and take care not to puncture the filter!
Users of the French press face many of the same pitfalls as Chemex users – you need to have the correct grind, quantity of coffee, and you need to stir for best results. But what most people don’t know is that you can use your French press for more than just coffee!
1. Froth Milk for Café au Lait
Fill halfway with milk, then repeatedly plunge the micro-fine filter through the milk to force air bubbles into it.
Use it to brew tea bags or, even better, loose-leaf tea easily, without hassle. No bits of leaf floating around in your cup or the hassle of trying to find a place to put your used tea bags.
One of the most popular brewing methods now, the AeroPress is a relative newcomer to the coffee game only entering the consumer market in 2005. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and allows anyone to make a great cup of coffee. You’re probably not using it wrong, but most people don’t know these few tricks to really get the most out of it:
1. Get a metal filter.
A metal filter allows flavorful oils and micro-particles of coffee grounds through, adding to the rich flavor, creamy mouthfeel, and reducing acidity in your cup.
2. Take it with you.
You can always have a backup cup of coffee ready, all you need is hot water. From camping to the break room, to an airplane, anywhere you can get or make hot water, you can have your coffee.
3. Stop pushing when you hear the hiss.
Now, this is something most people do not know. When the AeroPress hisses, you’ve hit coffee grounds with the plunger and are effectively squeezing out what’s left in the grounds – bitter, astringent coffee. Not what you want going into your cup.
4. Use the right temperature water.
The inventor of the AeroPress, Alan Adler, recommends using 175-degree water to achieve his standard of "the best cup you’ll ever have".
Espresso Machines and Steam Wands
There are as many opinions about tamping pressure as there are stars in the sky; everyone will claim their method is the best and produces the richest shot with the most crema.
But here’s a wild idea from deep within the coffee industry: tamping pressure doesn’t matter. No human will be able to exert as much force on the coffee grounds as the espresso machine is about to, so don’t stress out about it! Just make sure you have a clean, even, flat plane for the water to hit; you want all the coffee to receive the water evenly. It can be as simple as that!
Most espresso machines also come equipped with a steam wand. The biggest misuse of steam wands, even in a professional café setting, is simply not cleaning it correctly.
A clogged steam wand will drip, making a mess on your counter and adding water instead of steam to your drinks. In the worst-case scenario, milk can get sucked inside the machine when you turn off the steam wand, contaminating the boiler water and giving it a fishy smell and strange color.
To avoid this, all you must do is purge the wand each time you use it. Do this by removing wand from milk (while it's off) and then opening the steam wand valve all the way to blow out any contaminants. Keeping the wand tip submerged in a small glass of clean water will also help prevent dried blockage in the steam tip.
It's not hard to become an accomplished home barista, especially if you already have some basic coffee essentials. Knowing how to use your equipment is just as important – or even more important – than the beans you’re using.
You could have the most expensive, amazing coffee and if you aren’t using your equipment correctly you won’t truly be getting your money’s worth.