Caffeine Culture in Quarantine: brewing coffee at home

Forget Dalgona coffee and sourdough baking; it’s time to finally let our home barista skills shine. If you’re anything like me, a walking being fuelled by caffeine, then the skill of home-brewing is the most important skill to hone during the current period. Why? As our beloved cafés have shut their doors, home brewing will allow you to keep up your coffee intake without resorting to instant coffee. Although you may not have access to a shiny, glistening, fancy espresso machine like the ones adorning the countertops of cafés, this will not hinder your ability to craft a good cup of coffee that almost tastes like it was lovingly laboured over by a skilled barista. Below, I will introduce you to three types of common home brewing equipment and how to use them, so that you can proudly declare yourself as the ultimate home barista.

Common Types of Brewing Equipment

French Press
The French press, also known as the cafetière, the coffee press, or coffee plunger, is arguably a beginner’s best friend in home-made coffee. It’s ubiquitous in most households, and even if you didn’t know that it was called a French press, the likelihood is that you have seen its unmistakable shadow before.

Moka Pot
The Moka pot is another distinctive coffee brewing equipment that is almost synonymous with coffee-making itself. Its octagonal shape is highly distinctive, which can be broken down into two main chambers and a strainer (sometimes also known as a filter basket or a funnel). Intended for use on a stove-top, it utilises steam pressure to create a punchy shot of coffee that will be the closest you get to espresso without an espresso machine.

V60 Dripper
The V60 dripper is not for the faint-hearted of home baristas; although it looks like a deceptively simple piece of brewing equipment, it is the most complex to brew with out of the three introduced in this article. It produces a filter coffee, which will be two to three times less intense than the coffee produced by the Moka pot, and thus is ideal for brewing coffee that will be enjoyed by itself (with no sugar or milk). For this reason, this brewing equipment best lends itself to highlighting the nuances of speciality coffee.


Brewing Instructions

French Press

1. Use around 15g of coffee ground to 250ml of water. You can adjust how much coffee ground you use depending on how strong you like to take your coffee – use more grounds if you like a stronger flavour, and less if you don’t want a slap-in-your-face intensity.

2. Begin by putting the grounds in French press without the lid and add double the amount of water than you have grounds. For example, if you use 15g of grounds, then add 30g of water.

3. Once you have added the water, gently stir the mixture and then let it sit for 30-45 seconds. This is known as ‘blooming’ and purges the carbon dioxide trapped in the coffee grounds so that your final cup will be tastier.

4. After the initial bloom time has elapsed, pour in the remaining water and gently place the lid on the top without plunging. Allow the coffee to steep for four minutes once the lid is on.

5. When four minutes have elapsed, press in the plunger and pour the coffee out for your enjoyment!


Moka Pot

1. Add water to the bottom chamber of your Moka pot just up to the valve (a small, round protrude on the side).

2. Fill your strainer with coffee grounds, then gently give it a shake to level out the grounds and prevent any overfilling.

3. Place the strainer on top of the bottom chamber, and screw on the upper chamber of your Woka pot – make sure you screw it on by holding the pot and not the handle, or you risk breaking the handle.

4. Heat your Moka pot on low-medium heat on the stove-top, ensuring that the flame used is no bigger than the base of your pot.

5. When you hear a hissing and bubbling sound, and hazel brown foam begins appearing at the top of the spout in the upper chamber, remove the Moka pot from the stove and your coffee is done, ready to be consumed.


V60 Dripper

6. Similar to brewing with the French press, use around 15g of coffee ground to 250ml of water, depending on your desired strength of coffee.

1. Place a coffee filter inside your V60 dripper and rest this on top of what you want your coffee to go into – this could be a mug, or a server if you do not intend on drinking everything by yourself.

2. Rinse the filter with hot water to remove any papery taste, letting the water drip out fully before discarding the hot water.

3. Add your coffee grounds to your pre-wet filter and gently shake the V60 dripper to level out the grounds.

4. Pour in just enough water to thoroughly wet the grounds without any pooling on top of them and let sit for 30-45 seconds; this is the bloom phase you read about earlier.

5. After the time has elapsed, slowly pour the remainder of your water in a circular motion. You should stop and start to ensure that the V60 dripper is never filled to the brim.

6. Once you have poured all 250ml of your water, your coffee will be ready for enjoyment as soon as all of the water has filtered through the V60 dripper.

You are now versed in being the ultimate home barista; go forth and practise these skills to create your perfect cup of coffee!

Image Credit: Rokaiba Afrin- The Oxford Student