The perfect coffee - at home
If you’re a fan of coffee shop coffee, and you want to recreate top-notch coffee at home we’ve got some hints and tips to help you. Whether you’re whipping up a cappuccino using your home espresso machine, or warming up the cafetiere for some filter coffee, we’ve tracked down the trade secrets of success.
The cappuccino is probably the most famous espresso based drink in the world but it’s tricky to get right. Every cappuccino starts with an espresso. The espresso should always be made with freshly ground, good quality beans. The brewed quantity should be about 30ml. A perfect espresso also has around 5mm of pale espresso crema on top. Once you have perfected the espresso you need to add milk and foam. You are aiming for 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foam. The milk must be frothed to 60C with a texture of fine dense bubbles. As you pour, you need to create a slight dome of foam. The steamed milk will enter the cup first, followed by the silky foam.
The Caffè Latte
The caffè latte is the number one choice in UK coffee shops. Here’s how to impress your friends by making it at home. Make your espresso as you did for the cappuccino. Unlike the cappuccino though, you are aiming for more steamed milk and less foam, so you will need to use more milk. Once the milk is frothed you need to pour it gently so that the milk makes up the bulk of the drink and there is no more than 1cm or so of foam. The coffee flavour of a caffè latte should be a little more subtle because of the higher proportion of milk.
The Americano is so named because, during the Second World War, American servicemen based in Italy did not, in the main, enjoy the short bitter espresso drinks served in local bars. Italian baristas decided to develop a drink the Americans would enjoy, so they diluted a standard espresso using hot water. The Americans liked the watered down coffee better, and the Italians charged more for it; so everyone was happy. To make an Americano fill a cup 2/3 full of hot water, then pour in the espresso. Add cold un-foamed milk if desired. But don’t ever pour boiling water onto an espresso as this will burn it and create a bitter taste.
Perfect Cafetiere Coffee
If you are using a cafetiere you will actually be making a stronger brew than espresso-based coffee. The flavour will be fuller because the coffee is being brewed more slowly. Begin by pre-warming your cups and your cafetiere with a little boiling water. Once warm to the touch, empty the water from the cafetiere and add your coffee – 1 rounded dessert spoon for each cup you want to make. Add hot water. The water needs to be hot rather than boiling as boiling water will scald the coffee and produce a bitter flavour. Leave at least an inch of room at the top when you add the water and then stir the coffee before replacing the plunger. Now wait. When you see the coffee grounds begin to settle at the top, after approximately 3 minutes, slowly push down the plunger and serve immediately.