A smooth, rich cup of coffee can make a huge difference in how you start your day!
For us at Hoxton, making that mug something special sets you up perfectly - and there's no substitute for serious quality when we're talking about coffee.
If you're not keen on shelling out for a take-out on your way to work or don't have any great barista bars nearby, it's time to find out how to make exceptional coffee that kicks just right.
Put down the instant, and step into the world of homemade brewing (we can't promise it'll change your life, but it's a pretty good place to start!).
What Are the Options for Making Amazing DIY Coffee?
Let's be real - most of us don't have the space or budget for a commercial espresso machine, and grinding your beans can take up a chunk of time.
If you're interested, Starbucks uses a Mastrena, which you can pick up for a cool £12,500, so we're setting our sights somewhere a bit more achievable.
There are a few devices you might buy, and a lot depends on your budget and the type of coffee you love:
- Cafetieres are simple, quick, and don't mean messing about with fussy filter papers.
- A Chemex is a glass coffee infuser that tastes like a filtered pot.
- Moka pots brew coffee on the hob (old school Italian style).
- An AeroPress is a manual plunger coffee maker that makes one strong cup at a time.
We'll run through each of these coffee-making processes below, as well as a couple of other inventions that are worth a look at if you're keen to find your ultimate brew!
Equipment You Need to Make Professional Coffee at Home
Now, you don't need tons of equipment or a designated coffee cupboard, but you might consider investing in a grinder if you're buying coffee beans and freshly grinding for each cup.
Other equipment that coffee connoisseurs have to hand includes:
- Filter papers if you're using a machine that uses this filtration process.
- A pouring kettle - you can even get models with inbuilt thermometers for precision!
- Scales are great if you want to perfect your coffee grounds to water ratio.
Gourmet coffee is big business, so there are multiple options, depending on how much you'd like to spend.
For example, a hand grinder such as the Comandante C40 will set you back just over £250, but you can go for a low-cost version for under £14 (this Stainless Steel Conical Burr Hand Crank is super cheap).
We'd suggest choosing wisely if you're just starting your homebrew journey, as there's every chance you might change your method or buy a coffee machine that doesn't need high-end equipment.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Excellent Home Brew Coffee
Next, we'll explain the process for some of the most popular coffee makers, so you can assess the alternatives and what sort of time you'll need.
Making Coffee With a Cafetiere
A cafetiere, or French press, is a classic coffee-making method, and you've probably got a dusty one sitting somewhere in the back of your kitchen cupboard!
All you need to do is add ground coffee and hot water, wait a few minutes for it to steep, and then lower the plunger so you don't get lots of grounds in your mug.
- Grind your beans, or add ground coffee to the cafetiere.
- Fill with hot water, and give it a quick stir.
- Wait about four minutes, and press the plunger down.
- Serve immediately, as if you leave it, the coffee will start to get bitter.
Cleaning a cafetiere is a bit of a mission, but you can use a coarse grind, mix the coffee and water to about a 1:16 ratio, and get a flavoursome mug with minimal effort.
Using a Pour Over Coffee Maker
Pour overs are among the oldest coffee brewers and use a cone-shaped dripper with a paper filter inside.
You put your cone over your cup, rinse a filter with hot water to seal it, and add finely ground coffee. Pour over hot water until the grounds are saturated, and keep pouring evenly until you get a full cup.
This type of coffee requires a medium to fine grind, has the same water to coffee ratio as a cafetiere, and takes about three or four minutes for a smooth cup.
If you want to give pour-over coffee a go, check out the Coffee Gator Pour Over Brewer for £23.99.
Chemex At-Home Coffee
The Chemex was created in 1941 and has a unique hourglass shape and a certain filter that is much denser and heavier than conventional products you can pick up in the supermarket.
It's meant to regulate the water, so it steeps perfectly.
Here's how to make Chemex coffee:
- Put your filter inside the flask, lined up with the sides of the spout.
- Rinse your filter as before, and then add the ground coffee.
- Pour in water, saturate the coffee, and then stir it.
- After about 30 seconds, you can keep pouring in the water until you're done.
Chemex coffee making works similarly to a pour-over, so the filter and vessel shape are the primary difference.
You can also buy Chemex makers and accessories from tonnes of UK retailers to save on shipping costs.
Brewing Coffee With an AeroPress
An AeroPress is a little newer, invented in 2005 and using a plunger that creates air pressure to squeeze coffee through the filter and into your waiting cup.
You pop a filter into the plastic cap, wet both with hot water, and then twist the filter cap over the chamber and slot it securely over the mug.
Add your ground coffee and water, stir it, and then plunge - simple!
This coffee-making process takes about two minutes, resulting in a smooth, clean brew with a fine to a medium grind and a ratio of about one part coffee to 12 parts water.
Amazon does a smart black AeroPress Coffee Maker with a carry bag for £30.99.
Moka Pots for Espresso
If you're all about heritage coffee, strong sharp espressos and time-honoured traditions, a Moka pot (or stovetop coffee maker) is for you.
The pot creates pressurised steam, and you'll know it's done when you hear a hissing noise from your hob.
You'll need to use a fine coffee grind and about double the water to coffee (this isn't a mild brew!). Fill the lower chamber up to the line with hot water, put your ground coffee in the filter basket, and then screw on the top.
Place your pot on the stove - medium heat - and wait for the trademark sound.
Moka pots are an inexpensive way to make intense espressos at home, and you can buy a polished aluminium ProCook Stovetop Espresso Maker for £18.
Siphon Vacuum Coffee Makers
Siphon coffee makers look like a mad science experiment, so they're something different to whip out and impress your guests after dinner!
The coffee maker uses vapour pressure to push water upwards, mixing it with the coffee and then dripping back through a filter.
To use a siphon coffee maker, you'll need to:
- Soak your filter in warm water and put it in the hopper or top compartment. The filter needs to be hooked into the glass tube.
- Fill the bulb, the bottom bit, with water, and insert the hopper into the bulb, placing it above the burner.
- When the water is boiled, bring the heat down, put your coffee grounds in the hopper, stir, and leave it for about a minute.
- Next, you take the siphon away from the burner, stir again, and wait for your coffee to drain down.
It sounds complicated, but it only takes about five minutes, and you're rewarded with a punchy coffee.
Cold Brew Home Coffees
Our final option is to try your hand at cold brews for a smooth coffee that you can brew overnight (it needs 12 hours plus to get the right flavour).
Soak coarse coffee grounds in water at room temperature and filter to get a mellow cup. You can make a whole carafe, rather than individual cups, and don't need technical equipment!
The best filter is a mesh liner with a coffee filter, and once your brew is ready, you can store it in the fridge.
Choosing the Right Coffee Beans for The Best Morning Cup
Before you start brewing and refining your tastes in quality coffee, let's talk about the coffee itself.
Any of these coffee-making techniques rely on the depth of flavour in your coffee roasts, so even if you've got an all-singing coffee maker that froths, filters and foams, your coffee won't taste any better if you're using a low-quality bean.