How to Make Coffee at Home: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Make Coffee at Home: A Beginner’s Guide

Welcome to this ultimate guide on how to make great coffee at home. The idea behind this is simple: I want to help people take their home coffee making to new levels. There are a few key steps to the coffee making process - freshly roasted coffee, some equipment and a solid understanding of how it works, but mostly following a specific process so that when you make a good cup of coffee, you know how to repeat it.

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For coffee lovers, their first sip of coffee in the morning is like the finest wake-up call. It’s just the right start to the day, keeping yesterday’s unresolved problems at bay, so you have time to breathe and bask in the sunshine while you take in the warm, comforting aroma of your favourite coffee.

This can happen for just a few minutes at your favourite café hangout or while you’re in your kitchen; that is, if you know how to make coffee at home – real, honest-to-goodness coffee – and not the kind that comes out of a jar or packet of instant coffee granules.

It’s crucial for any coffee enthusiast to brew the perfect first cup of the day. And once you’ve mastered making coffee, you won’t want to try anything else.

Of course, the appropriate water, the right roast, and your attention to detail are key elements to making a coffee that’s perfect, but how is it done? Are there any other factors you need to consider?

If it’s your first time making an earnest attempt to make coffee at home, you’re in luck because we’ll show you how in this detailed guide.

So, How Do You Make Good Coffee at Home?

If you want to know how to make good coffee at home and keep doing it well, congratulations!

Being able to make great coffee at home is not only an enjoyable activity; it’ll also help you gain insights into the coffee-making process and help you develop an appreciation for the effort that goes into making a perfect cup.

What is the best way to make coffee?

It all starts with the star ingredient, of course. The coffee you choose will impact the quality of your brew significantly.

Espresso – The Gold Standard

Now, let’s start with making espresso.

Why espresso? Why is it considered the gold standard? Why do you need to know how to make espresso to be able to make the best coffee at home?

Italians created the world-renowned coffee beverage known as espresso. Espresso and regular coffee can typically be made using the same coffee beans; however, espresso is made differently.

You need to brew coffee at a high pressure (usually 9 bars) to result in espresso’s characteristically strong, concentrated coffee flavours and velvety texture. Espresso coffee can be sipped on its own as a delightful way to end a meal.

However, the reason making coffee at home with an espresso machine is the gold standard out of all brewing methods is because it’s also the foundation for a variety of coffee beverages.

You can’t make café latte, flat white, cappuccino, long black, and many other coffee beverages without espresso. In fact, it’s espresso coffee’s adaptability that makes it so well-liked across the world.

Choosing the Right Coffee Machine

Now that you know what makes learning how to make espresso at home so important, you’re probably ready to know about the importance of using the right espresso machine.

In order to create the thick, flavourful beverage you love, an espresso machine brews coffee by pushing pressurised water that’s close to boiling point through a ‘puck’ of ground coffee and a filter.

It was Luigi Bezzera who created the first espresso maker at the beginning of the 1900s.

Today, however, you have plenty of coffee machines to choose from. Below are some great examples of high-quality coffee machines priced below $1,000:

  • Breville Barista Express®: Learning how to make barista coffee at home starts with the right coffee machine. With the Barista Express®, transforming bean to espresso becomes possible in under a minute. The coffee machine’s precise temperature control and ability to grind the beans just before extraction offer the best possible espresso results.
  • Gaggia Classic Pro: The Gaggia Classic Pro is the ideal entry-level home coffee maker. Its conventional group head, solenoid valve, and filter holder give you complete control, and the professional steam wand enables you to make cappuccinos with velvety, textured milk froth.
  • Rancilio Silvia: The Rancilio Silvia’s reputation as one of the best single-boiler coffee machines is legendary. With it, you’ll be enjoying high-quality espresso at home for many years.

What to Look for in an Espresso Machine

The best way to make coffee at home entails the use of a trusty coffee machine.

However, the decision to buy an espresso machine can mean a significant investment, especially if you buy from tried-and-tested brands. Each espresso machine also has a unique set of features, so you may need to do a bit of research to find the right machine for you.

Below are the different items you need to consider to find the best espresso machine to satisfy your needs and fit your budget.

  • Type of espresso machine: There are manual, semi-automatic, fully automatic espresso machines, as well as some new models classified as super- and ultra-automatic – all designed to address specific requirements.
  • Kitchen size: Save for manual models, espresso machines tend to be bulky so you need to ensure you have adequate space to accommodate the one you want.
  • Customer feedback: As previously mentioned, a high-quality coffee machine can end up being a major purchase, so be sure to check out customer reviews about the model you’re considering.
  • Screen or display: Coffee-making is all about precision and timing, and a model with a built-in screen can provide pressure readings and timer displays. Models without displays may be less expensive, you can’t put a price tag on the convenience and accuracy an info-packed screen brings.
  • Durability: Whichever model you go, the quality of the materials is importance as this ultimately determines how long your machine will last.
  • Upkeep: Espresso machines require a certain level of care and maintenance for them to last longer. Depending on the unit, espresso machines generally need to be purged, backflushed, cleaned and so on.
  • Extra features: Whilst not absolutely necessary, some additional features can prove quite convenient in your coffee-making activities in the long run. These include a coffee grinder, digital temperature control, steam wand, etc. Of course, these can also add to the cost of a machine.

The Importance of a Clean Coffee Machine

First and foremost, it’s important to clean your coffee machine regularly for your safety and health.

Cleaning your coffee machine will also help you conserve energy and keep your coffee maker from needing pricey repairs or a complete replacement.

With frequent cleaning, you can prevent the build-up of back pressure on your pump and improve the efficiency of the element by performing a little daily maintenance and a yearly deep clean.

To keep your espresso machine in tip-top condition, it’s crucial to perform a routine deep clean as well. Depending on how many coffees you brew, perform a deep clean on your coffee machine every 4 to 6 months.

For the best cleaning advice, you can check the manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual.

Other Important Factors to Make the Best Espresso at Home

Knowing how to make good coffee and having an excellent machine are crucial to produce the best results. However, the procedure on how to make espresso coffee involves a few other ingredients and some important considerations.

Coffee Is Best Fresh

The raw coffee green bean has a fairly stable shelf life. However, once it has been roasted it will brew at its best for about 3-4 weeks.

Any coffee at the supermarket with a ‘best before’ date is probably already past its ideal age. For best brewing results, look for coffee which tells you clearly when it was roasted.

Fresh Coffee Beans and Storage

You want to have fresh coffee beans on hand and properly stored for anytime you want to enjoy your home-made brew.

After roasting, coffee beans almost immediately start to lose their freshness. Try to purchase coffee beans that will last three to four weeks in smaller, more frequent quantities that are freshly roasted.

Bean quality can also deteriorate from air exposure. Divide your coffee supply into multiple smaller portions and store the larger, unused portion in an airtight container. If you purchase whole beans, grind only the required quantity prior to brewing.

It’s a good idea to use vacuum-sealed or airtight containers for storing your coffee beans and to keep them in a dark and cool place. Conventional coffee retail packaging is typically not the best for long-term storage, so invest in airtight storage containers.

Of course, you can avoid these problems with a coffee subscription from Coffeefusion.

By choosing to get your coffee supply this way, you have the option to choose the type of coffee you want, its grind size, amount and interval of delivery. This way, you never need to worry about running out of your favourite coffee and avoid wasting coffee that’s gone bad.

Degassing Coffee

In the first week after roasting, coffee is going through what is called degassing. The chemical reaction that takes place during the roasting process alters the coffee bean dramatically.

Gases consisting primarily of carbon dioxide become trapped inside the coffee bean during the roasting process. Degassing releases gas from a roasted coffee bean, and it varies depending on the type of roast.

Darker roasts tend to degas more quickly than lighter roasts. A significant amount of carbon dioxide is released 24 to 48 hours after coffee is roasted.

Over the course of the next week, the coffee beans release the carbon dioxide, during which time extractions can be a little bit inconsistent, especially when brewing under pressure with an espresso machine.

The escaping gases can interfere with and slow down water from coming into contact with the coffee grounds during the brewing process. This can result in the uneven extraction of coffee flavour and aroma. Therefore, waiting until your newly roasted coffee beans have rested before brewing is always a smart idea.

Ideally, if you know the roast date, you can start brewing your coffee one week after the coffee was roasted, through to about 4 weeks in order to have the best potential for great flavour.

Freshly Ground Coffee

In order to get the most out of your coffee at home, a good grinder is a key aspect of your setup.

The coffee stays so much fresher as whole beans, as once you grind up the coffee there is so much more surface area for oxidation to occur. Think of it like a bowl of fruit vs a bowl of fruit salad. The fruit bowl can sit on your kitchen bench for the week, where as a fruit salad will start to deteriorate in the open air within an hour.

You also need to make little adjustments to your grind setting in order to dial your extraction in perfectly. With a cheap grinder or pre-ground coffee, you can’t really make the minor adjustments you’d need to nail that extraction.

Finding a Good Grinder

If your machine doesn’t have a built-in grinder, you can start with a good-quality affordable entry-level model like the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, or grinders from Eureka, Niche Zero and DF64.

Some important qualities you need to look for in a coffee grinder are:

  • Type: There are two main types of grinders: blade and burr. Of the two, blade grinders are cheaper; however, burr grinders produce superior results, especially in terms of the evenness of the coffee grounds.
  • Price: While price doesn’t always equate to quality and value, it’s a fairly good basis in determining how well your chosen grinder will perform. Remember that even the less expensive coffee beans can achieve a premium flavour and aroma with the right grinder. So, try to choose tried-and-tested models that will provide good value for the long term.
  • Material: Blade grinders are typically made of stainless steel. Meanwhile, burr grinders can be fabricated from various materials like ceramic, steel and even titanium.
  • Size and capacity: If you’re making coffee only for yourself or in small batches, a smaller coffee grinder will do,
  • Heat, speed, noise: The heat produced during coffee grinding can affect the taste of your coffee. Blade grinders are notorious for burning coffee beans, if you’re not careful. More pricey, high-quality grinders feature a speed control mechanism that helps reduce the heat in each grinding cycle. Aside from heat, check reviews concerning the noise level of the machine to ensure you’re able to use your grinder in the morning without worrying about your neighbours.
  • Ease of use and upkeep: Whatever type or model of grinder you choose, familiarise yourself with its care, cleaning and maintenance as this will determine its functional lifespan.

Scales and Timer

Some additional equipment which is standard in most specialty coffee shops but missing from a lot of home setups is a set of scales and a timer. Being able to weigh your dose and your yield, and accurately follow a recipe, is the easiest way to improve consistency in your coffee.

Although you can buy very responsive and accurate coffee scales, a simple digital kitchen scale with accuracy to 0.1g will help you get started.

Using a scale removes the guesswork in the preparation of coffee and lets you brew on repeat with the same results.

Meantime, a programmable coffee machine with a timer has the advantage of allowing you to schedule coffee (and even tea in some instances) making up to 24 hours in advance. This way, your favourite coffee will be ready when you wake up, at lunchtime, or even later in the day if you like.

It is still possible to brew good coffee without these items, but it is so much easier to brew excellent coffee with the help of a few extra tools.

Coffee Extraction & Espresso Recipe

The coffee extraction process involves using water to draw out the flavours and other qualities from the coffee grounds you use. You will pull the sharp acids and bitter caffeine components first during extraction, followed by the sediments, sugars, and oils.

The darker compounds are the last things to be drawn out of the coffee. The true challenge here, though, is figuring out your own sweet spot so you can use this process to brew a nice cup of coffee every single time.

Various elements can affect the outcome of coffee extraction and you may need to adjust your espresso recipe after some trial and error until you arrive at the perfect outcome that you’re after. These factors include the grind size, brew time, water temperature, water-to-coffee ratio and roast type. 

Water Quality

When brewing coffee, using purified water is crucial. You can be sure that every drop of water entering your espresso machine is clean by using filtered water. Your coffee will not only taste better, but it also is less likely to upset your stomach.

An activated carbon filter is used in water filters to remove sediment, chlorine, and to lessen the water’s total hardness. If these impurities are not filtered out, they can easily damage your coffee machine.

Blocked pipe fittings, scale build-up in the group head and boiler, ineffective heating and performance, and many other problems are among the usual problems that crop up when you use unfiltered water.

Other Ways to Make Coffee at Home

Other than brewing coffee with an espresso machine, there are other coffee brewing methods you can apply as a bona fide coffee lover.

In fact, you can learn how to make coffee without machines, although the process can take longer.

Below are some other options you can consider as you learn more about how to brew coffee.


Even without all the fancy features of a top-of-the-line coffee machine, a coffee plunger is a fantastic substitute for making excellent coffee.

A glass carafe with a metal filter attached to a piston in the lid is used to make plunger or French Press coffee known for its strong-bodied flavour. After the coffee has steeped in the carafe, the grinds are forced to its bottom by pushing the metal piston.

V60 or Filter Coffee

Making drip coffee involves using any device that filters water and adds it to ground beans. The Hario V60, Chemex, Wilfa Svart Manuell, and Chomka are some examples of filter coffee devices.

The V60 process, which has its roots in Japan, lets you extract the most flavour from your coffee beans while delivering a distinct richness and body in the cup.


The founder and inventor of the AeroPress is Alan Adler. This coffee-making contraption is likened to a syringe, as it comprises a cylindrical chamber and a plunger with an airtight silicone seal.

The chamber is filled with water and ground coffee, which are then steeped before being forced through a filter using the plunger. You can use it to make cold brew coffee or filter strength coffee as well as espresso-style or highly concentrated coffee.


A coffee brewer that employs heat to create a pressurised brew is referred to as a stovetop or moka pot.

The moka pot produces full-bodied, rich coffee quickly. The pressurised brewing process produces coffee that’s more similar to espresso in flavour, intensity and mouthfeel than with filter brewing.

Time to Make Great Coffee at Home

For coffee enthusiasts, there’s nothing like a great cuppa joe to perk up their day.

While it’s good to know there are cafés you can go to for your favourite coffee, nothing compares to being able to whip up the perfect brew at home. Aside from saving money, making coffee at home allows you to customise your beverage according to your exact taste and preferences.

And whichever coffee-making method you choose or machine or device you decide to invest in, it’s definitely possible to make excellent brews at home.

For great tips and tutorials on making coffee at home, including frothing and latte art, subscribe and tune in to the Coffeefusion channel on YouTube.

You can also follow Coffeefusion on Instagram for the latest news and updates.

In the next lesson we will look at everything that goes into pulling great shots of espresso.

Before you dive into the next lesson, get yourself some great, fresh coffee to work with. It will make the dial in process a lot easier, and the coffee much tastier!

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