Grab a bit of “me time” in a sea of hectic family life…. Do you love coffee, but lack the equipment and the know-how to make a luxurious cappuccino or latte at home? Here’s 7 rules for how to make the perfect beverage.
Buy fresh beans
It’s easy to acquire delicious, aromatic and fresh coffee beans. Supermarkets and whole-food stores will have a selection. Ideally, there’ll be a café nearby who use and sell beans from a local roaster – which is as fresh as it gets! If you’re not sure where to start your search click here for tips about sourcing beans online.
Keep coffee beans fresh
All you need is an air-tight, light-tight container and somewhere to store your beans at room temperature. Harmful elements to coffee beans are air, light, heat and moisture – so as soon as you open your beans, move them to a container. If you are freezing your beans, ensure the container is 100% impenetrable. Coffee is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air) and could suffer freeze-burn.
Choose Good Coffee
Coffee grown in higher altitudes is “better”, but what really makes a good coffee depends on your palate. You’ll see different types of beans on the shelves – light, medium and dark roast. The lighter the roast, the more bright and mellow the flavour (so dark beans are bolder and heavier). When making a cappuccino or latte it is important to choose the coffee that’s right for you; but a light or medium roast would be more suitable for a sweet, smooth beverage.
Grind Your Own
Coffee goes stale quicker once ground, so only grind your beans when you need them. The best tool is a coffee grinder, but a food processor attachment works well too. Consistency is important – a cappuccino or latte requires finely ground beans for smooth drinking.
Use Good Water
Try not to be tempted to use tap water – the solubles in tap water can damage the taste of your coffee. Filter the water first, or use spring water. If you live in a hard water area, you definitely don’t want to use water straight from the tap because it can damage your machine over time.
Beware the Heat
Not just for safety – boiling water or milk destroys the flavour. Most espresso machines make this manageable, but the danger is when you froth the milk, because it is easy to burn. Be watchful and use high quality equipment. Visit Coffee Maven for top milk frothers, tips and honest reviews of worldwide coffee.
Keep Your Equipment Clean
If you want to keep brewing excellent cappuccinos and lattes you need to maintain your coffee machine. Always empty your granules straight away, and wipe your frother too. The machine will need regular cleaning to eliminate scale. Click here for a guide on how to clean your machine with vinegar (or lemon juice).