Tips from the Cafe: What You Can Do to Help You Get the Same Drink Quality
It's the dream, being able to reproduce your favorite cafe drinks from your own kitchen. It's the goal of every coffee enthusiast, and it's ultimately what we here at Seattle Coffee Gear are here to do! But it's not easy to match the quality of a great cafe coffee drink. There's a reason they're professionals. Plus, cafes usually have very very high end equipment that it's unlikely you'll have on your countertop.
So what can you do? We've got some great tips to help!
Pick the Right Equipment
First up - make sure you've got great equipment. Whether you want that perfect pour over, a smooth latte, or just a good cup of drip, your gear is key. You might think that a cheap espresso machine or grocery store brand coffee maker can be worked with, but it's usually pretty hard to get high quality drinks out of machines like this. You can check out our catalog of espresso machines and drip brewers to get an idea of what you might be looking for. It's worth noting that you do get what you pay for with espresso machines. There's plenty of more affordable options out there, but higher end equipment generally lasts longer and offers performance more on par with cafe gear. It's also important to remember to get a grinder to match your machine! New users often overlook their grinder, but it's just as important as your machine.
It's also a good idea to get started with a machine like the Diletta Mio that doesn't have lots of programming. These back-to-basics machines are more affordable than super high-end offerings with loads of programming and they'll help you develop fundamental brewing skills.
Get the Best Beans
Specialty coffee shops pretty much always serve high quality coffee to match their high-end equipment. While good coffee is subjective, you'll definitely want to use whole beans, then freshly grind them for each cup or shot. We have a wide selection of beans available, but it's also important to know what you're looking for. A very light, bright flavored roast may not be the best option for your espresso machine. By contrast, beans that are roasted with espresso in mind don't always make the best pour over. All of this said, it's still really important to try things out for yourself, because these suggestions are not always true.
You should also make sure that you have proper storage for your coffee beans unless you're planning to drink them quickly. It takes some time for beans to go stale in a hopper, but sealing them in the proper kind of container improves their freshness.
Take Your Time and Practice
In order to get better at making coffee it's important to practice. This also means you should take some extra time on your morning cup to understand how to use your equipment to its fullest. You can check out our YouTube channel for lots of helpful advice on learning to use your equipment, but ultimately you just have to spend a lot of time working with it and understanding it. One thing many users don't think about is reading the manual, which is key for fully understanding your equipment!
Another thing you'll want to do is actually learn a menu of drinks. Your favorite may be a latte, but by learning how to steam for cappuccinos, make ristrettos, and even brew up a pour over you'll learn more about coffee generally and improve your barista skills. Plus, then you'll have a repertoire of drinks for when you have company!
Don't Get Discouraged
Learning to make coffee like the pros is challenging, after all, they are pros! So don't get discouraged. Take your time, practice your shots and brews, an try new things with your coffee gear. Eventually you'll be making delicious drinks you can be proud of!