How to brew coffee at home like a pro

The Coffee Commune

There are many ways to make coffee, from the humble kettle to fancy espresso machines, to pour-over coffee makers that resemble something out of a science lab. But with so many different types of brew gear available on the market, it can all seem a bit intimidating – especially if an automatic percolator has been the extent of your barista skills.

If you love coffee and want to learn how to make a better cup in the comfort of your own home, here are some of our favourite brewing methods and how to use them. From the Aeropress and V60 to frothing milk without a coffee machine, you’ll be brewing coffee at home like a pro in no time.

How to use an Aeropress
How to use a Stovetop Coffee Maker (aka Bialetti or MokaPot)
How to use an Espresso Machine (Sunbeam Barista Max)
How to use a V60 Pour Over Filter
How to froth milk in a French Press

How to use an Aeropress

This is the go-to coffee maker for many coffee connoisseurs. It makes a strong, delicious coffee quickly, and is easy to use and clean. It is also well suited to travellers, campers and anyone that likes to brew a strong coffee with the simplest of tools.

What you need:

    • An Aeropress
    • A brew vessel to press into (such as a jug or decanter)
    • Some filters, either paper or metal
    • A scale
    • A timer
    • 20g of ground coffee
    • 200g of hot water at around 90ºC

The process:

This recipe makes enough coffee for one large mug or two small cups of coffee. To make a stronger cup, just increase the amount of ground coffee used.

Step 1
Put your Aeropress on the scale with the filter end up. Insert a filter into the plastic cap and keep aside.

Step 2
Add 20g of ground coffee into the Aeropress.

Step 3
Start your timer. Pour in 200g of hot water into the chamber. The water should be at about 88ºC–90ºC.

Step 4
Let it sit for one minute.

Step 5
Remove the Aeropress from the scales. Place the cap with the filter inside on top of the Aeropress, locking it into place. Now comes the tricky bit.

Step 6
Place your brew vessel on top and flip the whole thing over. Now you’re ready to press.

Step 7
Gently press down at a slow and steady pace until there is no more water to push through the device. You will hear a little hissing sound when the water has all been pressed out.

Step 8
Lift the Aeropress out and you’re good to go.

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How to use a Stovetop Coffee Maker (aka Bialetti or Moka Pot)

If you like espresso, this is the coffee maker for you. These stovetop coffee makers are common in many households and produce a rich, authentic espresso in minutes. They’re easy to use with both gas and electric stovetops, as well as campfire stoves when travelling.

What you need:

    • A 2-cup stovetop espresso maker
    • Ground coffee, enough to fill the basket
    • A spoon
    • Hot water (you can use cold water, but it will take longer)
    • Stovetop

The process:

This recipe will make two espressos, or one large cup.

Step 1
Remove the top of the pot and the coffee basket as well. Pour in the hot water into the base. Fill it to just below the valve. (If you cover the valve, it won’t work properly).

Step 2
Put the filter basket on top and spoon the ground coffee straight in.

Step 3
Gently level it off with your finger (or the back of a spoon) and give it a tap on the bench.

Step 4
Screw the top back on and now you’re ready to brew.

Step 5
Sit the pot straight on top of the stove at a medium heat and let it boil. Once the water boils, it will push up through the coffee and flow into the top. As soon as you see a few drops of coffee forming at the top, take it off the heat. There will be enough residual heat for it to continue brewing. Pour it directly into your cup and enjoy!

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How to use an Espresso Machine (Sunbeam Barista Max)

If you’re a lover of freshly ground cafe style coffee, it’s worthwhile investing in an espresso machine for your home. We’re using the Sunbeam Barista Max, which comes complete with a built-in grinder and tamper.

What you need:

    • A Sunbeam Barista Max espresso machine
    • Whole coffee beans
    • A tamper
    • A jug for steaming milk
    • Milk
    • Filtered Water

The process:

Step 1
Before you start, ensure the hopper is filled with enough beans, and check that the water reservoir is adequately filled. Turn on the machine and let it pre-heat for about 10 minutes. Make sure it is in espresso mode – not steam mode.

Step 2
Make sure the filter basket is sitting inside the group handle. The basket needs to be clean and dry. Place the group handle into the grinding cradle and press down to start grinding. Once the group handle is full to the top you’re ready to tamp.

Tip: You can adjust the coffee grinds to coarse or fine by twisting the top of the grinder

Step 3
Level off the coffee and press the tamper into the coffee firmly.

Step 4
Insert the group handle into the grouphead until tight and select either a single or double shot extraction. Enjoy your espresso it as it is or steam with milk to make café style drinks.

Step 5
To steam the milk, put the machine into “steam mode” using the dial and give it 20-30 seconds to power up. While you wait fill your jug with cold milk. When the light is fully illuminated it is ready to go. Briefly turn the knob to the off and position the steam wand inside the jug, just below the surface of the milk (about 1/2cm. Turn the dial back to steam. You should hear a smooth, hissing noise and see a whirlpool action in the jug. The milk is ready when the jug becomes too hot to touch. Tap the jug to release any air bubbles. Pour and enjoy!

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How to use a V60 Pour Over Filter

Hand pour over filter brewers such as the V60 are commonly found in cafes serving filter coffee. These coffee makers are perfect for those that love the process and art of brewing. The design is fun to use and produces delicate and smooth coffee at home.

What you need:

    • A V60 cone dripper
    • A brew vessel, such as a coffee decanter
    • Paper filters
    • 20g of coffee
    • A scale
    • 300g of hot water at around 90ºC- 93ºC

The process:

Step 1
Place the decanter to the scale and place the cone on top of the decanter. Place a paper filter into the cone.

Step 2
Add 20g of coffee into the paper filter. And re- zero your scale.

Tip: You can pre-wet the filter first with hot water to eliminate any paper taste, but it’s really up to you.

Step 3
Add the hot water in three stages, 100g at a time, and let the water drain through each time. Pour the water starting from the center and spiraling outwards. Once the water is drained through, add another 100g and let it drain through again. Then add the final 100g of water and let it drain through.

Step 4
Once all the water has drained, remove the cone and filter and pour your coffee out into a cup. Your v60 coffee is ready!

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How to froth milk in a French Press

Don’t have a fancy coffee machine at home? You don’t need any fancy equipment to make frothy cafe-style milk. Here’s how to foam milk at home using a coffee plunger.

What you need:

    • A coffee plunger, such as a French press
    • Warm milk (You can heat it up in the microwave)
    • A shot of coffee/chocolate syrup, ready to go

The process:

Step 1
Pour the warm milk into the coffee plunger. Pop the top of the plunger on and press up and down slowly about 10-15 times. Keep going until you recreate a bit of foam.

Step 2
Gently tap the plunger on a bench to release any air bubbles. Pour the milk into the espresso or chocolate syrup and enjoy!

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The Coffee Commune