2 Tools to Level Up Your Home Coffee Game - One Is Already in Your Hand

Coffee, Coffee Education, Home Brewing, How-To -

2 Tools to Level Up Your Home Coffee Game - One Is Already in Your Hand

More and more of us are making our daily cup o' joe at home these days. As we've become more accustomed to staying in instead of going out, that daily ritual has been grounding, a comforting constant when many things seem very inconsistent and unpredictable. Whether for the sake of learning something new to keep our minds engaged, or of reclaiming some of our lost coffee shop experience, we've also begun tweaking that daily routine to improve the resulting beverage. We get new brewing equipment, try a new brand of coffee, or fine tune details like grind size of our beans. 

Regardless of your current home barista set up, I have two simple tools you can add in to improve your coffee every day. One of them, you might be holding in your hand right now. 

Weighing coffee beans on a kitchen scale. Photo by Victor Muñoz.

1. Scale

A small kitchen scale is relatively inexpensive. You want one that you can tare and set to weigh in grams. (Tare means being able to zero out the weight on the scale while something - like a measuring cup - is sitting on it, so you only weigh the contents of the cup rather than the total weight on the sale. Handy feature.) My current scale was on the inexpensive side, but it does the job. 

 Hand holding a white smart phone beside white mug of coffee with foam. Photo by Marianne Krohn.

2. Calculator

If you're reading this on your phone or tablet, you have a calculator in your hand. We aren't doing advanced trigonometry today. We just need the multiplication feature. If you don't have your phone around when you're brewing your coffee, an ordinary calculator will do. If you're more confident in your early morning math skills than I am in mine, you can grab a pencil and paper to do it by hand as well. 

Woman writing in journal, white mug of coffee.

How To Use Your New Tools

Now that you have these new, complicated pieces of technology on hand, here's how to incorporate them into your home barista skill set. 

Choose your beans and brew method.

My morning roast today was La Belle Noir. I chose to make it in my electric drip coffee pot.

Weigh your beans and water.

Some people weigh their beans before grinding; I like to weigh mine afterward because a bit of grounds inevitably stays in the grinder. I want my measurements to be as accurate as possible.

Today I went with the standard 1:16 ratio. I set my basket and filter on the scale, tared it to zero, then weighed 64 grams of grounds. Because I don't know what 16 times anything more than 2 is in my head, I used the calculator on my phone to multiply 64 x 16. 1024 grams of water was the ideal weight to keep the ratio. I set a glass measuring cup on the scale, tared it again, and poured in my water.

I used bottled spring water. You can also use tap water, filtered water, or intentionally adjust the ph balance of the water you use. Each will have some effect on the final taste of the coffee. Experiment to see what you like best!

Brew it. Taste it. Document it. 

Whenever I try a new coffee or adjust my brewing methods, I write notes in my tasting journal. It's small and has space to document specifics I want to remember - roaster, origin, brew method, tasting notes, and more. This makes it easy for me to compare coffees and brewing specifics against each other and, more importantly, to recreate the beverages I enjoy most.  

33 Cups of Coffee - coffee tasting journal, inside pages33 Cups of Coffee - coffee tasting journal

Now you know a few more simple tools and techniques to improve your home barista skills! 

Leave a comment below with one of your own favorite tips to making great coffee every day. 

 

Cheers!

Amy, Founder of Red Eye Bistro


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