There’s something special about grabbing a morning cup of joe on the way to work.
Unfortunately, this can be pretty expensive without you even realizing it.
Why not consider making your own at home?
It’s easy and can be just as delicious, while saving the $6 per latte each day.
With the right equipment, you can create different kinds of drinks, too, but we’ll cover all you need to know on the best way to make coffee and espresso at home.
Types of Coffee
There are many types of coffee drinks to discover, whether you’re new to the coffee world or are a complete coffee-lover.
Some of the most common include, but are not limited to:
- Black: Café noir, as it’s originally called, is simply made using ground coffee beans that have been steeped in hot water.
- Espresso: This is the foundation of most coffee drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos. Espresso is made by forcing steam through tightly packed ground coffee beans. A doppio is a double shot of espresso.
- Americano: Also a black coffee, but it’s made starting with a shot of espresso and topped with hot water.
- Latte: Made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. It can be served plain, or you can choose to add flavoring, such as vanilla.
- Cappuccino: Similar to a latte but consists of more foam than steamed milk. Cappuccinos are often topped with a bit of cocoa or cinnamon, and you can also add additional flavoring.
- Irish: Made with black coffee, a shot of whiskey, and a bit of sugar.
Apart from hot coffee, there are also a variety of cold or iced coffees to discover:
- Iced coffee: This is a very basic coffee, consisting of black coffee, ice, milk or cream, and, optionally, a sweetener.
- Iced espresso: Consists of a shot of espresso, ice, and, optionally, milk, cream, or a sweetener. Other espresso-based drinks are also popular in iced versions, such as cappuccinos and macchiatos.
- Cold-brew: Your ground coffee is steeped anywhere between six and 36 hours, depending on how strong you like it. Add ice and milk or cream.
- Frappuccino: One of the most popular drinks from Starbucks, the frappuccino is made with blended ice, coffee, whipped cream, and syrup.
Types of Coffee Beans
There are two main types of beans: Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica is the most popular bean worldwide, with a sweeter, fruitier taste and a higher acidity.
Robusta, also known as Coffea Canephora, is easier to maintain as a plant but lacks in flavor.
However, what it lacks in flavor is made up of caffeine—this bean has very high caffeine content, so it can keep you on your toes.
To put this in comparison, the arabica bean has a caffeine content of around 1.2 to 1.5 percent, whereas the robusta bean is around 2.2 and 2.7 percent.
Due to the high content of caffeine, the robusta plant is naturally pest and disease resistant, meaning it requires minimal to no chemical treatment.
The knock-on effect is that since robusta bean plants are easier to maintain, the beans themselves are more affordable.
Coffee vs Espresso: What Is the Difference Between Regular Coffee and Espresso?
The difference between regular coffee and espresso is in the preparation:
- Coffee Preparation: How the coffee is prepared is what makes the biggest difference. Regular coffee is steeped in hot water or prepared in a drip coffee maker. However, espresso is made by forcing steam through coffee grounds.
- Bean Preparation: Espresso beans are typically roasted for longer and are ground finer—think sand, not gravel.
Ideally, you’ll need an espresso machine or a coffee machine that can produce a good espresso.
In saying that, there are ways to brew espresso without a machine; however, you’ll need a grinder to grind your beans finely.
More high-end machines or designated espresso machines will do all the hard work for you by grinding your beans before making the coffee.
Are Espresso Machines Expensive?
Now, you might think that an espresso machine is a budget-buster; however, there are excellent choices available—just see the best espresso machine under 100 here or the best budget espresso machine here.
If you’d like a more high-end machine, check out the best espresso machine under 500 options.
Can You Make Espresso With Regular Coffee?
Yes, you can make a delicious espresso with regular coffee beans.
But, beans labeled as “espresso” will provide a stronger coffee.
How the beans are ground and roasted will also produce a significant difference in your espresso.
People have been led to believe that it’s either the bean or the coffee blend that makes a coffee an espresso.
However, both of these are wrong.
You can learn more about the best coffee beans for espresso here.
How to Make Espresso at Home
If you want to create a shot of espresso but don’t have the machine, there’s no need to fret.
There are three easy methods to do espresso at home without the need for a machine.
Remember the basics in making a good espresso: long-roasted finely ground beans.
Using an AeroPress
This device is a single-serve coffee machine that presses the coffee through a thin paper filter.
Here is how to make a coffee using an AeroPress:
- After adding your finely ground coffee beans and water to the AeroPress, allow it to steep for about 10 to 50 seconds.
- Then, press the plunger through the tube, which forces the coffee through a filter. Voila!
- Your easy espresso is made.
An AeroPress can use either an AeroPress paper filter or a thin metal disc-shaped filter.
Using a French Press
Chances are, you already have a French press in your kitchen.
These are typically large in size and will create more coffee—which isn’t a bad thing.
However, when making espresso, you might want to cut back slightly.
Remember, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of finely-ground long-roasted beans per 1 cup of water.
- After adding your beans to the French press, add just a few splashes of hot water—this will bloom the coffee, releasing its aromas and oils.
- After a few seconds, add the rest of your water and steep it for four minutes.
Then plunge and enjoy your French espresso.
Using a Moka Pot
The Moka pot is a staple piece in European and Latin American coffee.
Although it isn’t a designated espresso maker, it adds water pressure via steam, which stimulates the taste and feel of espresso.
- Again, you’ll have to use long-roasted finely ground coffee beans that you add to the basket of the Moka pot.
- It’s important not to overfill the pot—it should be filled to the fill line. Overfilling the pot can alter the taste of your coffee.
- As the bottom of the pot boils, a stream of coffee is pushed through the filter and into the upper chamber—listen for the hissing sound.
- The coffee is done once the upper chamber is full of coffee.
- Give it a quick stir and serve.
Learn the best way to make Moka pot coffee and espresso with this video.
How to Make Cappuccino at Home
Cappuccinos are decadent coffees that might seem a bit too complicated to make at home.
But, it’s actually not as hard as you might think.
The basics of a cappuccino include a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and foam.
Here’s how to make a cappuccino at home:
- If you don’t have a machine, you’ll have to steam your milk to create foam on the stove. You can use a small saucepan to heat 1 cup of milk over high heat. Before it begins to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Use a small electric mixer—or a whisk—to whip the milk until it thickens and creates froth.
- Use any of the espresso recipes above, and pour the milk over the coffee, add the foam at the end and, optionally, add a dash of cocoa.
All of this will be quick and easy with the help of a cappuccino maker—you can check out the best cappuccino maker here.
How Do You Make the Best Coffee at Home?
Making your tasty coffee at home is an excellent way to save money, and maybe even a few calories.
You can easily do a variety of brews from the comfort of your home.
Simple things like knowing how to store your beans correctly or weighing your grounds will help you along in your quest to achieve a great cup.
Whole-Bean or Pre-Ground?
For convenience, many coffee-drinkers opt to buy pre-ground coffee beans.
However, we strongly recommend that you go for whole beans and splurge on a grinder.
You see, coffee is most flavorsome in the following days of roasting, and it should be consumed within a month.
This doesn’t mean two-month-old coffee is bad for you, but it won’t have the same taste.
The pre-ground coffee you buy at the supermarket has probably been there for weeks or months—making it less fresh.
Storing Your Coffee
How you store your coffee beans can affect the taste and smoothness of your coffee.
Ideally, you’d store coffee beans in a vacuum-sealed bag; however, a mason jar will suffice for home use.
If you have multiple sizes of mason jars at home, feel free to move your coffee beans to the appropriate size as your supply lowers.
Keeping them packed tightly will help to keep them fresher for longer.
How to Make Coffee: Common Methods
There are three common ways to brewing coffee at home—and these don’t require any fancy machines.
The classic drip-coffee machine is a favorite and even a must-have in many American households.
It works by heating the water, which produces steam.
The steam runs through a tube where it goes through the coffee grounds and filters into your coffee pot.
Pour-over coffee has become increasingly popular as it creates an aromatic coffee.
It’s made using a pour-over brewer, coffee filter, and finely ground coffee beans.
The French press is another easy method for making a delicious cup of joe at home.
A French press is a glass brewer where ground coffee beans are added directly into the glass.
Hot water is poured over the coffee and left to brew.
After about four minutes, you use the press to gently separate the coffee from the grounds.
Using a grind and brew coffee maker is also handy during the morning rush.
You simply add your coffee beans to the top of the machine and it will grind and brew them.
Learn more about the best grind and brew coffee maker here.
How to Keep Your Coffee Hot and Fresh
As coffee loses heat, it tends to also lose some of its taste.
If you like your coffee cold, you’d likely make an iced coffee in the first place.
There are some key ways to keep your coffee nice and hot:
- Mug warmers
- Immersion heater
But what can you do about the leftover carafe coffee that your spouse thoughtfully brewed in the early hours of the morning?
Most drip-coffee makers or carafe coffee machines will keep the coffee heated using a hotplate.
Others use a thermal carafe to help keep the coffee hot and fresh for longer.
The significant difference between the two is that hotplate coffee makers generally use a glass carafe, whereas thermal coffee makers use an insulated carafe with a stainless steel exterior.
Want to learn more? You can read all about the best thermal coffee maker here.
Coffee Makers for Compromised Spaces
Having a small kitchen means you have to be more careful with the number of appliances you have.
Having both a single-serve coffee maker and an additional carafe-style coffee maker will take up significant counter space.
This is where a dual coffee maker comes into play.
A dual machine essentially gives you the best of both worlds.
They’re generally able to produce single-serve coffees on one side and a full carafe on the other side.
Some will even have the option of tweaking your coffee by enabling you to do it stronger or lighter.
A dual machine is also an excellent choice if you live on your own but often have friends or family over.
You can learn more about the best dual coffee maker here.
Are Budget Coffee Makers Worth It?
Pour-over and French press brewers are great, inexpensive ways to create delicious coffee—but if you’d like an easier cup of joe, a coffee machine is the best choice.
Many people are shocked by the prices of machines, but there are great budget-friendly machines on the market.
Budget machines are generally very simple in design—they usually don’t come with a lot of bells and whistles.
Some are single-serve, which means they only produce one cup at a time—excellent for anyone who lives alone or if you’re the only coffee drinker in the house.
Other budget-friendly machines include smart features, such as a programmable timer, enabling you to brew your cup of joe before you wake up in the morning.
You can learn much more about the best coffee maker under 50 here.
What Is the Right Machine for a Coffee Shop?
For coffee shops, a commercial machine is an ideal choice.
Commercial coffee makers might be a bit larger than the regular machine, but many enable you to produce more than one cup at a time.
Commercial machines are also attached directly to a water line—making the entire procedure easier.
All you have to do is measure your beans, add them to the machine, and press start—the machine will handle the rest.
If you’re a coffee-lover, you can easily have a commercial machine at home—although you might want to go with a smaller model, unless you have available space.
Read up on the best commercial coffee maker here.
What Is the Healthiest Way to Make Coffee?
The healthiest way to make coffee is by using a filter, as concluded by this study.
It particularly monitored how filtered and unfiltered coffee affected human cardiovascular health, with unfiltered coffee containing substances that can raise blood cholesterol.
How Do You Make the Smoothest Coffee?
A smooth coffee has a balanced and rich taste and no sudden surprises—such as bitterness or sourness.
Freshly ground beans are ideal since they give a fresher taste.
Pre-ground beans won’t have the same aroma or rich taste.
Pre-infusing or blooming your grounds is an excellent way to improve the taste of your coffee.
There can be leftover carbon dioxide gas on the beans from the roasting, though.
To counter this, letting your grounds sit in a little bit of water for a few seconds will help to release any leftover gas.
What Coffee Brewing Method Is Best?
In our coffee brewing methods comparison above, we found that the pour-over brew method is best and is very popular due to the aromatic taste.
On the other hand, the French press will create a richer and stronger coffee since the grounds are steeped for long and then pressed hard.
In saying that, it depends on your preference.
Tools to Making Coffee at Home
If you’re looking to do a simple cup of joe at home, check out the Cuisinart Perfectemp Coffee Maker.
The Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is an excellent choice for anyone wanting espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes at home.
Having a good grinder, such as the Cuisinart Supreme Grind, is an excellent way to get freshly ground beans.
Making the Best Coffee
Making delicious coffee at home isn’t hard at all.
By knowing which beans to buy, how to store them, and the right brewing method, you can easily have an artisanal coffee.
Although you can make specialty coffees, such as cappuccinos and espressos, without a machine, we highly recommend using a machine if you often drink these types of coffees.
Let us know your favorite brewing process in the comments!