The number one way to improve your at-home coffee drinking experience is to start with great tasting coffee beans. When you’re using specialty coffee in the form of capsules, there’s little more you need to do to brew an amazing cup of coffee at the touch of a button. However, we do have some additional tips to make your brew even better and teach you how to make the perfect coffee.
How to make the perfect coffee
All seven of our top tips are straightforward and take very little time, but they make a big difference. Try them for yourself to enjoy the best cup of coffee you can possibly brew at home.
Use Soft Water
Experts in water chemistry have determined that the best water for brewing coffee is soft water, meaning water that is low in minerality. The best water is also clean and free of chlorine. Our peers in the coffee industry universally agree. Some lucky people have soft tap water, but if you don’t there are a few of ways to get soft water for brewing coffee. One is to use bottled water, but not just any bottled water as most are too hard. We always recommend Volvic, which is in the ideal softness range to bring out the best in coffee. Other options include using charcoal water filters e.g. Brita filter jugs or tap-mounted filters, and mixing a mineral additive into distilled or reverse osmosis water.
In addition to routine cleaning and descaling of your coffee machine, we highly recommend flushing out the residue from the previous extraction before you brew a new cup. This is simple to do – just run a cup of plain hot water through the machine with no capsule in place. Discard the water (after using it to warm your cup) and with it any remaining coffee particles and oil residue left over from the previous brew. That residue would otherwise end up in your coffee and affect its flavour, so this is an important step to add to your coffee making routine.
Use the Right Volume of Water
Difference Coffee’s capsules are designed to brew a 30 ml shot of espresso. This specific volume offers the perfect extraction and yields an espresso that’s bright, sweet and full bodied. Using a greater volume of water will cause over-extraction of the coffee and result in unpleasantly bitter, astringent notes. Make sure your Nespresso machine brews a 30 ml shot from our capsules by calibrating the espresso button. Hold the button down while brewing a shot and release it just before it reaches the 30 ml mark. The machine will now remember this setting and brew a perfect 30 ml shot of espresso every time. For a longer shot, just add a touch of hot water.
Stir Your Espresso
Soon after extraction, a shot of espresso quickly separates into layers. At the bottom of the cup settles denser, thicker coffee with more pronounced sweetness and acidity. On top is the intensely bitter, silky textured crema, and in between is thinner, weaker coffee. If you sip an espresso without stirring these layers together, you might get a taste that’s too bitter, too weak or too strong. Stir that espresso before you sip, and instead you meld the three layers together. As a result, every sip offers a full, rounded flavour with the perfect balance of sweetness, acidity and just hint of bitterness. Stirring also releases the espresso’s enticing aromas and helps to cool it down a little. So, before sipping espresso, reach for a spoon.
Let it Cool Down
The mouth perceives different flavours at different temperatures, so the taste of a cup of coffee changes as it cools down. Both sweetness and bitterness become more apparent at slightly cooler temperatures, so stop drinking piping hot coffee! By doing so you miss out on the complex, nuanced flavour profile of specialty coffee. Instead, simply let it cool down for a minute or two before you start to sip. We believe the ideal temperature for our top-quality coffees is around 60 degrees Celsius. Experiment with coffee temperatures and we think you’ll agree.
Americano – Don’t Press Twice
Many coffee drinkers make an Americano at home by pressing the espresso or lungo button twice. While it does appear to be an easy way to get more coffee out of a capsule, this incorrect method over-extracts the coffee and makes it bitter. Instead, brew one 30 ml shot of espresso, remove the capsule, then top up the cup with plain hot water. For a stronger Americano brew two shots from two capsules. Adjust the ratio of espresso to water to suit your tastes.
Use Full Fat Milk
Many people enjoy milk in their coffee, but choose skimmed or semi-skimmed milk over full-fat. This might be because they’re concerned about calories, or it’s just what they have at home. However, coffee made with lower-fat types of milk tends to lack body and taste a little disappointing. If you enjoy milk in your coffee, make sure it’s full-fat milk. The higher proportion of milkfat in full-fat milk results in a sweeter, richer coffee drink. It gives the coffee a pleasant mouthfeel and accentuates the natural flavours of the coffee. If you’re looking for the best non-dairy milk to put in coffee, we recommend Oatly Barista Edition.