We’ve all been spending a lot more time at home this year, and whether this spring of isolation has been one of stress or boredom for you, a better cup of morning coffee is a surefire to boost your spirits. And it’s easier than you think! Read on for six easy ways to improve your morning brew, none of which costs more than a couple of jaunts to the Starbucks.
Of course, most of us don’t have the budget for a $10,000 espresso machine and accompanying skilled barista at home, so there are still good reasons to support our local coffee shops as well.
1. Buy better coffee
The number one thing you can do to improve the coffee you make at home is to buy better coffee beans. Luckily for us, this is easily done In Victoria, where we are spoiled with local roasters. Buying local not only supports members of your community, but it ensures you’re getting freshly roasted beans for the best tasting coffee, and it only costs a few extra dollars a pound.
Some of our nearby favourites are Level Ground, 2% Jazz, Fernwood Coffee, and Bows & Arrows, or venture a little further afield to Cobble Hill for the excellent Drumroaster. Even better, they each have an accompanying tasting room, so you can sample the coffees, speak with the experts, and find your perfect brew.
2. Buy a (better) grinder
The second most important upgrade to your home coffee kit is a burr grinder.
If you usually buy coffee pre-ground, consider grinding your own, especially if you’re not going to drink it within a week. Once ground, coffee beans start to release their amazing aroma compounds, becoming less flavourful with each passing day. And this is especially true for fine espresso grinds.
If you currently grind your own beans using a blade grinder, consider the upgrade to a burr grinder. Not only do they grind the beans more evenly for better extraction, but they don’t heat the beans as much during grinding. If you’ve experienced unpleasant burnt or bitter tastes in your coffee, your blade grinder could be to blame.
Burr grinders can certainly get expensive, but if you’re willing to put in a bit of elbow grease, the manual ones are remarkably affordable. Those locally sourced fresh-roasted coffee beans you just bought will thank you!
3. Use filtered water
Coffee nerds like myself love finding new ways to be nerdy about coffee, and lately, the quality of the water has been a hot topic for discussion. Which makes sense when you think about it, because coffee is mostly water!
If you don’t already filter your tap water or keep a Brita jug in the fridge, consider doing so for the sake of your morning java. Municipalities treat tap water to make it safe to drink, not to make it as delicious as possible, and an easy way to avoid any off flavours in your coffee is to avoid any off tastes or aromas in your water.
4. Buy a kitchen scale
I’m a big fan of kitchen products that serve multiple purposes, and a digital scale certainly fits the bill. You’ll not only be making better coffee, but you’ll be pairing it with better homemade baked goods — the ultimate win-win.
Using a scale to measure your coffee grounds is far more accurate than using a measuring scoop, which means more consistency. If you’ve ever made a particularly delicious cup of coffee and then found it impossible to replicate, the problem was probably how you measured the grounds.
5. Try a new brewer
There’s no inherently best way to make coffee, but using a different style of brewer can bring out new tastes and aromas in your coffee, give it more or less body, or change the mouthfeel. So it can be fun to switch up your brewing strategy, and you might just find a new favourite.
Many types of manual brewers are cheap to buy and simple to master. Try a French press for a richer, oilier brew; consider a pour over brewer for a bright, clean cup; or check out a Moka pot for a strong, espresso-like coffee.
A bonus tip!
Here’s one last piece of advice that couldn’t be easier, and it won’t cost you a dime. When serving hot coffee, preheat your mugs. It’s as simple as filling them with hot tap water while you brew the coffee. Likewise, when serving iced coffee or cold brew, use chilled glasses. There’s nothing worse than a tepid, lukewarm java.
Whether you try one or all of these quick fixes, I promise your morning coffee will be better for it. And we all know that a better morning coffee is a small but crucial step towards a better day!