5 Tips for making coffee at home

Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world and a comforting ritual many of us start the day with. If you love a good cup, and are self employed or otherwise working from home a lot, brewing a great cup in your own kitchen suddenly becomes quite important. At the very least, being your own barista can save a lot of money if your work day is punctuated by the smell of roasted beans. Making a good cup comes down to a few factors, and involves more than throwing some hot water over a spoonful of instant. 

Equipment plays a major role in how your coffee turns out, and getting a good machine is not only half the battle, but a long term investment. If you are shopping around, coffee in my veins ranks the best espresso machines at a variety of (affordable) price ranges. Once you’ve decided on a machine, you’re not done though and below are a few tips to get the most out of your cup of home brewed coffee.

  • Purchase fresh whole coffee beans. The taste of your coffee is highly dictated by the type of coffee beans you use. Avoid pre-ground coffee as they don’t bring out the real taste of the coffee. For the best flavor, start by purchasing fresh whole beans. The beans need to be properly stored to keep them fresh for a longer time. Vacuum sealed containers are recommended as they reduce the moisture build-up that greatly deteriorates the flavor of your coffee.
  • Properly ground your coffee beans. The timing and the size of your ground coffee beans greatly determine the flavor of your coffee. You should grind your coffee moments before brewing. The grinding should be done to medium-fine size particles. Too much grinding to fine particles make the coffee bitter due to over-harvest while coarse grinding leads to weak coffee due to less extract. A good coffee machine will give you the required medium to medium-fine size grind.
  • Pre-infuse your grounds. This step comes just before you brew your coffee. It involves wetting the ground with pre-heated water, only a quarter cup of water, to make it wet and expel any carbon dioxide gas present in your ground. The carbon dioxide in the ground repels water during brewing leaving you with a weaker brew. This step is crucial to ensure maximum utilization of your ground for the best flavor.
  • Use the right ratio. The ratio of coffee to water mostly is 1:20. This means that for one part of coffee requires 20 parts of water. But they are other people who prefer to scale their machines to ratios of their own choice. It is recommended to set the digital scale at a constant ratio to enjoy a sweet cup from each brew.
  • Use the right water. They are two types of water; hard water and distilled water. Hard water has minerals that avoid proper bonding of the coffee particles leading to under-extraction hence weak coffee. It also leads to building up of minerals in the machine that causes descaling to be hard and expensive. Use distilled water with a good mineral balance ratio for the best cup of coffee.

To enjoy a properly brewed cup of coffee, ensure to follow the above steps. Your coffee maker machines should also be cleaned and maintained regularly to ensure that they always produce the best cup of coffee. If you live in an area with very hard water, regularly descaling the machine is also essential. So, are you like me and do you like to start your day with a cup of coffee? Or do you have another favourite morning routine before you get on with work? Let me know in the comments!

Picture above by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".

  1. Sean

    16 March

    I can’t live without coffee! well, maybe I can and just don’t want to. My weakness is still going to the starbucks around the corner just to get a change of scenery. but I guess I should really make more at home and save some money.

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