Nowadays, it's a rare experience to go on the internet without stumbling across some article claiming it can "hack your life." There are hacks for just about anything you can dream up — cooking, cleaning, even getting a better night's sleep or organizing your office desk.
But, being coffee people, we've only got one thing on our minds: what hacks are there for brewing amazing coffee at home?
While some coffee snobs might turn their noses at the idea of "hacking" the coffee-making process, we are all for using clever tricks to save time and produce the best brew possible! So, we've rounded up the best Coletti-approved tips for simplifying and enhancing the brewing process, just for you.
Hopefully, you'll learn a few clever tidbits you've never heard before, and go forth to be the best home barista you can be!
1. Get the Perfect Grind
Many coffee grinders grind beans unevenly, which will ultimately result in a spotty brew. Here's an efficient hack for grounds that are as close to store-bought as you can get.
Simply grasp the coffee grinder with one hand over the hopper and lift the whole unit off the counter, shaking it gently while grinding. This moves the beans around and helps the machine grind more evenly, resulting in perfect, consistent grounds.
2. Try Roasting Your Beans in a Popcorn Maker
Part of being a home barista is seeing your brew through from beginning to end; from selecting the beans to preparing the perfect cup, you're overseeing your coffee's entire journey. If you want to take this notion a step further, we suggest you consider roasting your beans at home rather than purchasing them pre-roasted. This is a wonderful way to get to know the craft coffee experience!
The idea of roasting your own beans without the proper equipment can be intimidating but never fear — there's a hack for that.
Rather than drop hundreds on a traditional roaster, try a popcorn maker instead. Popcorn makers work on similar principles as large batch coffee roasters by rotating the beans and heating them completely through to develop rich flavors. Check out the instructions at Sweet Maria's.
3. Froth Your Own Milk Like a Pro
If you're looking to craft a homemade latte or cappuccino, you would be remiss to forget your milk froth. What's a latte without all that frothy goodness anyway? But that might be easier said than done if you're a home barista working without any professional equipment, as many of us are.
Well, for quickly frothed milk, all you need is a jar and a microwave. Put your milk in the jar, cover it, shake it hard for 30 seconds, remove the lid, and then microwave the milk for 30 seconds. You'll be left with café-worthy foam that will take your drink to the next level.
4. Or Use Your Handy French Press
In the unlikely circumstance that you don't have a jar or a microwave, but you do have a French press lying around, you can still get wonderfully frothed milk!
Simply warm up your milk, pour it into your French press, and pump the milk hard and fast a few times. Do this until your milk is nothing short of frothy perfection.
5. The Blender can be the Home Barista's Friend
Although the Blender does not work as well as burr grinder, it can double as a coffee grinder if your in a pinch (this is especially handy if you're using a French press and need coarsely ground beans, which you can't necessarily pick up at any old grocery store). But the vessel itself is ideal for holding coffee that needs time to reach its peak flavor, like cold brew.
6. Salt Can Remedy Bitter Coffee
Darn, you let your coffee roast for too long or forgot your percolator on the stove, leaving you with a terribly bitter brew! Don't fret, a pinch of salt in your cup will really help to balance out that nasty flavor.
This is a tip that goes back to the Depression when only poor quality coffee was available and salt was regularly used to improve its taste.
7. Learn How to Make Coffee Without ANY Coffee Makers
This might sound impossible, but you can make a great cup of coffee without any traditional coffee makers — we're talking no percolator, French press, or automatic drip. All you need are your coffee grounds, hot water, two mugs, and some paper towels.
Essentially, you let the coffee grounds soak in the hot water in one mug, just like they would in a French press. Then, using the paper towel as your "filter," pour everything into your second mug, where just coffee will filter through.
For full instructions and to see this brilliant hack step-by-step, check out this article from Wonder How To.
8. Save Time By Making Coffee With Milk
This one is so easy you'll be saying, "Why didn't I think of that?!" If you take coffee with milk, you can skip the final step of mixing your dairy into your cup of coffee by adding milk to your coffee pot from the start.
All you have to do is add your desired amount of milk to your empty carafe before brewing, then turn your machine on and let it do its thing! When your drip brewer is finished, you'll have a pot of perfectly mixed coffee and milk.
9. Clean Your Percolator Easily
No more cleaning damp grounds out of your percolator basket with this simple trick!
Simply snip a small hole in the center of a basket-style coffee filter. Fit the filter over the percolator tube and into the basket, then fill the filter-lined basket with ground coffee and brew like normal. When it's time to clean up, all you have to do is dump out the filter with the grounds. Easy as that.
10. Add Some Flavor to Your Brew
One of our personal favorite coffee tricks is incredibly simple: adding fun flavors to our home brewed coffee with some spices. By adding spices like cinnamon or pumpkin spice to your coffee grounds before brewing, you can create customized flavors for any palate or season! We love the idea of playing with unexpected spices, like chili powder for some heat or cardamon for some serious sweetness.
Bonus Tip: You can make your own vanilla coffee right at home! Just air-dry a few empty vanilla bean pods for two to three days, then add half of a pod to a coffee grinder full of coffee beans and process it before brewing as usual.
Hopefully, you can use these home barista hacks to make your life just a little bit easier!
Would you consider yourself a home barista? Do you have any hacks that you use to make coffee brewing a little easier? Please share your tips with us in the comments section below.