With more time at home, many people have replaced their take-away espresso with a home brew. RACV City Club Café Manager Alex Hall says different coffee-making techniques can have a big impact on taste and it can be fun to experiment.
“If you want a Nescafe Blend 43 with two sugars, topped with a glug of cold skinny milk, just brew it,” he says. “But if you decide to use another method, prepare to enjoy the process. It’s greatly satisfying to know why your coffee tastes the way it does. By understanding each step, you can make a cup of coffee worth getting out of bed for each morning.”
Types of coffee makers
Alex says it’s important to know the brewing process, because different methods produce different flavours and strengths.
“As a loose rule, any method that puts the coffee under pressure or intense heat will be more robust, with a fuller mouth feel and more bitterness,” says Alex. “The espresso machine, moka pot, French press and even the AeroPress will be on the richer side.”
People who love strong coffee will get the best results with these methods and these styles pair well with milk. Apart from the AeroPress, which sells for about $50, these devices are usually more expensive and contain more moving parts.
“At the other end of the spectrum, we have the pour overs and filter coffees. They are a lighter roast and much lighter in flavour,” says Alex. “Usually they are manually brewed so there is less equipment to purchase and that can end up being cheaper.”
The lighter fruity, floral notes of this style are best enjoyed as black coffee, without milk.
From the piccolo latte to a magic (a concentrated type of espresso with skim milk) or the bulletproof (butter) coffee, there’s always something new to try. One type of coffee that has been trending on social media is a “whipped coffee”, also known as Dalgona coffee.
“I have seen a lot of the Insta-famous whipped coffee, which is instant coffee, sugar and hot water whipped together until it foams and then poured over iced milk.” says Alex. “It’s not my cup of tea – pun intended – but it is very easy to make.”
Don’t forget the beans
Alex says good quality beans make a better tasting product, and there are many local suppliers.
“If you can trace your beans all the way back to the farmer, you will usually find that every person along the process is passionate about what they do, and passionate people produce quality products,” he says.
“They will not cut corners because of cost or because it’s easy. They want you to have the best experience possible because they want you to feel their passion, too.”
Alex’s top recommendation
Alex believes it’s hard to top a classic filtered coffee or, for a more modern approach, the pour over.
“Filter coffee is a great alternative to spending hundreds or even thousands on an espresso machine,” says Alex. “The process is easy, and you end up with great coffee at home.”
He has been experimenting with a Hario V60, which is a pour-over method. The name stems from the device’s V-shape and the angle of its sides.
“A V60 or pour-over coffee is much lighter in flavour and will verge on being fruity and floral,” Alex says. It’s a different experience to the heavy, bitter espresso many Australians associate with coffee.”