How to Make Specialty Coffee at Home: 9 Tips for Better Coffee

Great coffee doesn’t happen by accident. Here is how to turn your morning brew into a fabulous experience and get the best flavours out of your favourite coffee.

We love people who never stop searching for the next great cup of coffee. But we know it’s not always easy to find that one special combo guaranteed to put a smile on your face from the very first sip. The big world of coffee is full of endless choices of flavours, too many specialty roasts and intricate coffee-making techniques. That’s why we’re breaking it all down for you. Here is how to make great coffee in the comfort of your own home and the tips you need to start preparing the best drinks ever, all tailored to your own taste. Coffee lovers get your favourite cups out of the cupboard and let’s begin!

How to make specialty coffee at home?

There are many ways to make a wonderful cup of specialty coffee. But they all require fresh coffee beans, good-quality water and a few pieces of equipment for brewing coffee to perfection. Whether you prefer the simplicity of drip coffee, the richness of pour-over coffee or the bold flavours the French Press reveals in every cup, the best way to make coffee is always a subjective choice.

However, a few rules have stood the test of time and are now considered the foundation for any awesome coffee making experience. So, here are a few tips that will help you make rich, full-bodied coffee drinks you’ll love waking up with.

Barista-approved tips for making great coffee

1.     Freshly-roasted coffee gives your drinks the best flavour

Find local roasters that pride themselves on the freshness and quality of their coffee. Starting with specialty roasts of high-grade coffee will have a profound impact on the way the drink tastes. So, it’s important to take your time and explore the variety of origins, beans and roast types in your local area.

As for our best tips to keep that beautifully-roasted coffee fresh from day one, here’s what never fails to preserve the quality: buying coffee in one or two batches a week and keeping it in an airtight container, preferably ceramic, at room temperature. For the best-tasting brews, keep coffee away from moisture and in a cool place away from the direct sun light (room temperature, not in the fridge).

2.     The way you grind coffee makes a huge difference

For whole-bean buyers, that heavenly cup of coffee depends on you grinding the coffee as close as possible to brew time. This way you can be sure to tap into the full flavour of your preferred roast. There are different ways to grind coffee, but it’s important to choose a grinder able to give you evenly-sized coffee particles every time. Smaller pieces brew faster than larger one which means that the flavours will not be extracted evenly and you won’t get to enjoy all the aroma your coffee can muster. So, for that ‘wow’ factor, burr grinders are usually preferred to blade grinders. Find out more about how to grind coffee with our handy step-by-step guide.

3.     Don’t ignore water quality

There’s nothing worse than having your favourite specialty coffee ruined by the off-putting chlorine ‘flavour’ in the tap water. So, it’s important to remember that the perfect cup of coffee relies not only on quality beans, but also on quality water. Filtered water or soft (low mineral) bottled spring water let the tantalising coffee flavours shine through, making them your best allies for a superior-tasting drink.

4.     Water temperature is key

Water temperature decides the speed and aromas being extracted from your coffee. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a temperature between 90-96 degrees Celsius. If you go below this range all the distinct hints and flavours might not show up. If you go above it, the coffee could turn into a bitter drink that won’t be save by any amount of sugar or cream. Wait 30 seconds to a minute before water starts to boil, and that should give you the perfect water temperature for making coffee.

5.     Be aware of the water-coffee ratio

Wondering how to make coffee using the right amounts of water and coffee? There are many rules you can explore. Some rules recommend two tablespoons of coffee per cup, others swear by the one-part coffee to 18 parts water ratio.

We know, there are many ‘golden rules’ out there. But the key is to experiment with a few and see what works best for you. Whatever your preferred water-coffee ratio might be, here is a tip coffee connoisseurs use all the time: have a scale you trust at hand to measure the proportions accurately! You can thank us later.

6.     Choose your favourite brewing method

The French Press is a classic favourite. It’s so easy to use and will extract all those bold flavours we love so much in coffee. A pour-over coffee maker is another wonderful way to bring out the best in your coffee. It gives you the control you need over water temperature and speed to get that glorious taste you’re looking for. Discover how the pour-over brewing method works with our article.

7.     Froth your milk for glorious creamy coffee drinks

If you want to know how to make coffee like a true barista, one of their secrets is in the way they add the milk. Steam milk frothers are the best option, especially if lattes and cappuccinos are your darlings. But if that option is outside your budget, why not use a wand to froth the milk while warming it on the stovetop. Be ready to try your hand at some fabulous latte art while you’re at it!

8.     Spoil yourself with thrilling coffee flavours and syrups

Sweet coffee lovers are in luck! There are many wonderful ways to tailor your drink using syrups. From vanilla to cinnamon and even mint, you have an entire palette of yummy flavours to play with. So, if you want something other than sugar to sweeten your morning brew, count on a few splashes of flavoured syrup to do the job.

9.     Don’t be afraid to experiment

Once you’ve got the basic rules of coffee making down, the world is your oyster. Be adventurous and experiment with different specialty coffee roasts, explore new origins, tap into new coffee gear every once in a while and try a new coffee drink you never tasted before. Coffee is fabulous because it’s so delicious and incredibly fun. So, go on and put your own special spin on that next morning brew!

We hope you enjoyed learning how to make coffee with us. But don’t stop now that you know all the Waaqa tips and tricks for a glorious cup of coffee. There’s so much more to explore in the world of coffee beans and the awesome drinks they make. Next, find out what all the different coffee roast levels mean and how to choose the right one for you. It’s simple, we promise!