How I make coffee

6 minutes read

Coffee is life, coffee is warmth, coffee is a beautiful morning. As parents of a 5 month old (as of March 2017) coffee is what separates sleeping from waking hours.

Up until about a year ago I drank coffee, but wasn’t really interested in the taste of it. But since then, especially since working from home, I started to get a little more interested. My brother-in-law definitely had a strong influence as he is very much into coffee. I’m not super into coffee compared to the super fans, but when I drink coffee I want to have something that actually tastes well, not just a transport fluid for caffeine so I’m awake.

We’ve had a Nespresso machine at home for a bit, but it tastes shitty and is pretty bad for the environment. It’s also super expensive so I wanted to have good coffee without having to spend a large amount of money on bad coffee and a coffee machine I have to worry about. So here is how I enjoy coffee.

Get good coffee

You need great beans for great coffee. Buy whole beans and grind them at home. Make sure you keep them in a dark and dry place where no additional air gets to the coffee (not in the fridge though). The coffee I buy typically comes in dark packages with a seal that lets air out, but not in.

Image of Alt Wien Kaffee

We’re using beans from Alt Wien Kaffee, but you should be able to get decent beans almost anywhere. There are tons of small roast shops in many places. Invest a bit, it makes a huge difference and isn’t that much more expensive than cheap beans you buy in the supermarket.

Get a few different ones in the beginning and use one pack after the other to experiment with what you enjoy. After trying 5-6 different packs we settled on one and have been pretty much only drinking that one (Hermes Kaffee from Alt Wien). We’re trying new ones sometimes to experiment, but not too often. But keep experimenting so you find the one that you really enjoy.

Get a good enough grinder and a Bialetti

I’m currently using a Graef CM 800 Coffee Grinder.

Graef CM 800 Coffee Grinder

but its probably more expensive than necessary if you want to go the Bialetti route. I’ve heard good things about the Melitta Molino or Rommelsbacher EKM 200 which cost a lot less.

There are quite a few Bialetti models, personally I use the Moka Induction. The Bialetti Moka are really good, but you won’t really go wrong with pretty much any of the Bialetti Models. In total Grinder and Bialetti will cost about 100-120$, so not too expensive considering you’ll have those for a long time and compared to more expensive espresso machines. I’d definitely get a nice kitchen scale as well, as it helps with measuring exactly how much coffee you want to use. Costs about 10-20$ in case you don’t already own one.

How to brew

Now lets take a detailed look at all the steps I’m doing for my coffee. While this is definitely more involved than just going up to the machine, putting in a capsule and having a coffee it still only takes a few minutes. Personally I treat this as a morning and after-lunch ritual so it allows me to pause for a few minutes in my day as well. And the result is so much better.

Preparations

  1. Clean out your Bialetti in case there is still coffee in it
  2. Heat up some water in a kettle to pour into the Bialetti later (don’t heat the water in the Bialetti as it will make the coffee bitter)
  3. Take a small bowl and fill it halfway with water. We’ll put the Bialetti in there after brewing ends to cool it off and stop the brewing process.

Coffee grinding

I try to always grind exactly the amount of coffee that I need for one brewing. Otherwise the already ground coffee would lose its flavors, which would be a shame. To make sure I get the right amount every time I recently started weighing the amount I use before putting it into the grinder and experimenting with how much coffee tastes best to me.

Put it through the grinder and out comes the perfectly ground coffee. For a Bialetti use a more coarse grinding option, but experiment until you find the one you like the most. When switching coffee you might have to trial a bit to find the perfect setting again.

Fill the Bialetti

Prepare the Bialetti

Now fill up the coffee holder of the Bialetti to the edge. Make sure there is no coffee on the outer edges and that its flat. Don’t compress the coffee inside, just make sure its a flat surface.

Put together Bialetti

Pour the water into the Bialetti up to the inside vent and make sure the water ends before the vent. Then put everything together and set the stove to medium heat.

Making Coffee

After a few minutes the coffee will start extracting and fill the Bialetti.

Coffee extraction

When most of the Bialetti has filled, but the coffee is still flowing take it off the stove and put it into the water bowl you set aside in the beginning. This will make sure that the brewing process stops. If you don’t do this your coffee might get a little bitter as the last remnants of coffee are still pushed through.

Coffee in Water Bowl

When you let it sit on the stove for too long the water will start squirting out and make a spitting sound. You should take it off the stove before that happens. While its on the stove do not walk away. I made the mistake and missed the right time to take the coffee off the stove and it tastes bad if that happens.

Let the Bialetti sit in the water for a few seconds to really cool off, then you’re ready. I typically use the time where it cools off to prepare the cups for me, my girlfriend or guests.

Enjoy your Coffee

I really love a Cantuccini on the side with my coffee as its sweet, but not too sweet. Coffee is best served out of a nice cup, with a cantuccini on the side and someone to share it with.

Coffee and Cantuccini

I hope this helps in convincing you that there is a middle ground between Nespresso and a real espresso machine where you get good coffee, but without the hassle or large costs. Enjoy!

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