Feature Image by Annie Spratt

Let’s be real: as easy as it is to make a cup of coffee at home, it never really tastes as good as the drink that’s made by your friendly neighborhood barista. If your coffee runs have become less frequent due to the pandemic, just know that you can make delicious high-quality drinks from your very own home. 

Here are some must-know tips for perfecting your coffee order at home, according to coffee experts.

The roast date matters
When you make coffee from home, it’s easy to forget the last time you bought a new bag of coffee beans. But it’s time to start paying attention because freshness counts. As Patrick Main, beverage innovator and Senior R&D Manager at Peet’s Coffee, tells FabFitFun, buying freshly roasted coffee makes a big difference. “As soon as coffee beans are roasted, the cell structure of the bean begins to slowly fall apart,” Main says. “When you brew with stale beans, the best flavors of the beans become bitter and dull. Freshly roasted coffee, on the other hand, has more of its essential aromatics preserved, so you know you’re getting a sweeter, livelier cup.”

Store your beans in a quality container
Again, freshness counts. According to Main, being mindful to store your coffee beans in a quality container is essential for keeping it fresh, lively, and ready to brew at a time that’s convenient for you.

Brew your cold brew at room temperature
If you’ve been craving a refreshing cold brew from Starbucks lately but don’t want to leave the house, you’re in luck. Cold brew is super easy to make. All you need is some ground coffee, a couple of jars, and a coffee filter. According to Main, use three cups of cold water for every one-fourth pound of coarsely ground coffee, and let it sit for a minimum of 12 hours before filtering out the coffee grounds. While it’s fine to brew in the refrigerator, Main says the coffee will extract more slowly. Instead, he recommends letting it steep for around 18 hours.

“This yields a concentrate that you can mix with water to make drinking strength cold brew,” he says. “I recommend anywhere from 1:1 to 1:1.5 concentrate to water ratio. You can also use the concentrated form as a substitute for espresso to make iced lattes, coffee milkshakes, or coffee sodas (or whatever else your imagination comes up with!).” 

Grind your beans to perfection
“The biggest mistake that I see happening with at-home brewing is the grind of the beans,” Joanna Theresa Heart, founder and owner of The Palm Coffee Bar, tells FabFitFun. If the coffee grind is too coarse, your coffee will be watery. On the other hand, if it’s too fine, the coffee will be muddy and thick. 

If possible, Heart suggests buying your coffee and having it ground at a local specialty coffee shop. “The coffee will be higher quality and if you tell them how you will be brewing your coffee at home, they should be able to grind your beans just right for that perfect morning ritual,” she says. You can also try grinding your own beans at home with a grinder or using alternative methods. It may take some trial and error, but you’ll eventually find the perfect grind for you. 

Know your flavor profile
Do you like your coffee rich and chocolatey or bright and fruity? Everyone has their own opinion of what the ideal cup of coffee tastes like. Heart suggests finding roast descriptions that speak to you and play around. “Have some fun with it,” she says. “Try new blends until you find a favorite.” The next time you’re at the coffee shop, you can even ask the barista what kind of beans they use for the drink you like. Sometimes they’ll have bags of coffee beans that you can purchase.” Once you have that, you’ll be one step closer to perfecting your coffee order at home.

Use quality milk
If you’re wondering why your homemade lattes don’t taste as good as the ones you order, you may want to consider the type of milk you’re using. “Order barista blend alternative milks when possible,” Heart says. “Califia makes a great almond milk and Oatly is our fav for oat milk.” 

Froth your milk
Speaking of milk, another way to get your homemade coffee closer to the one you’d order at the coffee shop is to froth your milk. As Ella Moore, lifestyle blogger and former barista, tells FabFitFun, “What puts people off doing this is thinking you have to invest in an expensive milk frother, but that’s absolutely not the case! To make a latte or cappuccino on a budget, pour the milk into a cafetière, and rigorously pump the filter up and down for a few minutes. You’ll have frothed milk without any fancy equipment.” You can also purchase an inexpensive milk frother to get that creamy consistency.

xx, The FabFitFun Team