Secret to Great Coffee

Learn the 3 secrets to great coffee! Curious what they are?

The Secrets to Great Coffee
by Kenneth Dickson

PurelyCoffeeBeans wonders if you decide to start making your own coffee at home, you’ll be tempted to buy the fanciest coffee equipment on offer. Everyone always is! Just yesterday a sales assistant in Sogo offered me a ‘great deal’ on a grinder and coffee maker from a reputable brand. Over NT$4000!

Secrets to Great Coffee
Learn the Secrets to Great Coffee Article

I’ll share my secrets to great coffee with you: the secret of good coffee lies in the careful purchase of coffee beans, nothing less, nothing more. Then treat the coffee with respect when you grind it, brew it, and drink it. That’s all!

Disclaimer: When you buy through a link on this site, I earn commission
from any qualifying purchases as I’m an Amazon Associate.

What will I learn…?  The Secrets to Great Coffee

#1 Quality Chosen- PurelyCoffeeBeans’ secrets to great coffee

Secrets to Great Coffee: Secret #1 the coffee
Secrets to Great Coffee: Secret #1 the coffee

It’s all about the coffee. That’s the first of the secrets to great coffee! It always has been. So when you’re thinking about your coffee in the morning, keep to these principles and you won’t go far wrong.

Avoid buying pre-ground coffee, esp. in the supermarket. Coffee that was roasted months before with a date that isn’t clear to the buyer? You can determine the approximate roasting date, by checking the “sell-by-date” and the shelf-life. Shocked, aren’t you? Worse news is that as soon as the coffee is roasted and ground, the coffee begins to lose flavor no matter how well it is packed. Popular and even premium ground coffees are roasted up to 18 months before consumption.


Even whole beans that are packed in the same way will fare better than ground coffee. Moreover, grinding the beans just before you use them will give you a much better cup; air, moisture and time all take their toll on the flavors of coffee. Why let them? If you grind before you drink, you’ll begin to appreciate how making an effort with your coffee can really bring benefits.

Roasted vs. burned?

Many popular brands of coffee in the supermarket also roast quite dark. Dark roasted coffee beans tend to taste similar because the longer roasting time blurs the original flavor profile of the beans and will disguise the unique qualities of the beans.

This is a deliberate decision by the purveyors of coffee to brand their coffee with their own flavor profile. It’s also an effective way to make the most of cheap coffee beans. So put that 3lb. can of “Arabica Blend Dark Roast Ground Coffee” back on the shelf now, please!

Regional vs. blend

Blending of coffee beans is a typical strategy of large coffee companies, because they can create coffee brands with their own unique characteristics. Blending also helps to balance one set of characteristics against another.

So, for example, you can add a fruity or citrus note by including Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee in your blend. Or you can add a bitter note, by including a little Robusta coffee, just like espresso roasters do in Italy. Most commercial coffees are made by mixing beans that have been professionally roasted, blended and marketed by the big coffee companies, like Starbucks Verona Roast, MJB or Douwe Egberts.

But once you begin to explore the finer beans, you’ll notice that those characteristics can produce really good coffee. Whether you’re looking at regional varietals, like Panamian Geisha, Hueheutenango from Guatemala’s Highlands, or Tarrazu from Costa Rica.

Fresh vs. Roasted

But the biggest difference is the most obvious: no matter how much you pay for the coffee beans, the delay between roasting and consumption will have a significant impact on the resulting coffee. So before you buy your next batch of coffee, check the roasting date.

It’s fine to leave the coffee for a few days after roasting for the fuller flavor profile to emerge. Purchasing coffee that’s been roasted within a month is the ideal, but you will not be able to find such coffee in a supermarket, especially for imported roasted coffee beans.

Look for local vendors who roast their coffee regularly or daily. You’ll get the best coffee at great prices from a local vendor. In Taipei, there are an increasing number of small scale, artisan roasters, as well as coffee chain stores, too.

Louisa Coffee sells regional varieties like Kenya A++, Guatemala, Colombia, Yirgacheffe, all of which are roasted within a few weeks. Cama Cafe also roasts their coffee right in the store, with similar varietals and a few local favorites. Moreway has a broader range of coffee, including Brazilian Ipanema, Malawi AA + Pamwamba, etc. Up in the city, you’ll find good coffee at Fong Da Coffee, Fika Fika Coffee, and at Wilbeck’s branches throughout the city.

#2 Gently Grinding – PurelyCoffeeBeans’ Secrets to Great Coffee

Grind at the time

Most coffee shops sell small bags, between 200g and 250g. So asking the retailer to grind your coffee is a smart move, if you don’t have a machine at home to do it for you. It won’t make much of a difference if you use the coffee quickly.

Secrets to Great Coffee: Secret #2the grind
Secrets to Great Coffee: Secret #2the grind

But nothing says fresh coffee more than when it’s made just after grinding. So buying a grinder is essential if you really want to make the most of your coffee. Of course, you’ll also need to learn how to grind coffee and maintain your grinder, but it’s worth it.

No, not the blades

Let’s get it out of the way: the only kind of grinder you shouldn’t buy is a blade coffee grinder. They’re electrically powered grinders that mash your gentle, fragrant coffee to smithereens. For many people, it’s the grinder of first choice because it’s available everywhere and at a cheap price. For me, it’s best kept for grinding spices.

But the real issue is that the beans aren’t ground properly: some kernels remain quite large, others get ground to a superfine level. To even out the grinding, many users tend to grind for a longer time, which impairs the flavor because of the heat generated by the high speed of the blades.

Burrs, burrs, burrs

Focus on a ceramic burr grinder of some vintage or manual coffee grinder: they’re available in hand-powered models, which you manually grind the beans in the grinder by rotating an external handle. It’s a novelty for a while, but not the best solution for those in a hurry to get to work in the morning. Oh, and don’t let water into the grinding unit or you risk rusting the mechanism.

There are many models in the market place now, including some portable units, so you can make fresh coffee anywhere. The Hario Coffee Hand Grinder Skerton won’t go wrong with its variable settings for grinding coffee from coarse to espresso grade. It retails from about NT$1000+. You’ll also find other models from competitors at good prices, too.

Electric, of course

The electric burr grinder is probably the best model for most people. Set and forget operations mean that you can use it daily without hours of tweaking. Truth be told, there is no upper limit on how much you can spend on a coffee grinder.

  • Some of the Baratza coffee grinders retail from about NT$7000 upwards, though you can find good deals.
  • The Flying Horse Brand (飛馬牌) which is well-recognized here starts from about NT$3000 to NT$18000. One of their models has been sold in Costco for a while now.
  • The Capresso Infinity Grinder is a good choice, comes with hard-wearing steel burrs, and looks good in any kitchen. It retails from about NT$4000.

Most of the coffee grinders mentioned here won’t be found in the coffee roasters, so you might need a little help from a Chinese-speaking friend to track them down from a better department store or online store.


For those exploring grinding options, it’s worth remembering that it’s the coffee beans that make the coffee. So it’s not necessary to spend a lot of dollars at the outset. Just focus on the best beans and a good quality grinder. That’s it.

#3 Simply Made – PurelyCoffeeBeans’ secrets to great coffee

Secrets to Great Coffee: Secret #3 the brew
Secrets to Great Coffee: Secret #3 the brew

Coffee Cones

My first coffee maker was the simplest of all, a plastic drip filter or cone. The cones are very affordable. For little more than $350, purchase a cone, and some papers. Then make some great coffee by buying a quarter pound of coffee from your local coffee roasters.


The cone is quick to use, easy to wash, and makes a variety of coffee. There are two kinds of cones available in the market right now: the traditional cone with the flat base (the cheapest), and the modern V60 cone which has a circular hole. The traditional cone comes in 2 sizes for one or two people. It is also found in a variety of materials. The V60 is more expensive and requires its own papers.

Just remember: use a tablespoon or coffee spoon to measure your coffee! Try to keep the water about 85C or 90C, otherwise you risk cooking the grounds, and having a tasteless cup of coffee! Also, watch the grind level, too coarse it will come out like water; too fine, you’ll end up with grounds in your cup. Aim for a medium-fine grind.

French Press

The French Press is the most glamorous of the methods to make coffee, especially if you buy one of the gold-plated glass beaker versions. Yet it’s one of the simplest ways to make coffee.


Grind your coffee to a medium coarse grind. Measure into the bottom of the glass pot. Add hot (NOT boiling) water into the beaker. Let soak for about 45~60 seconds, then add the remaining water. Add the pushing handle gently to the top of the beaker. Insert until you reach the top of the hot water.

Then steep at least 3 minutes. You can use a timer if you need to. The coffee won’t get too cold during that time. Don’t worry about that. Finally, gently but firmly press the plunger right down to the bottom. Serve into the cups and enjoy!

Just remember: it’s glass filled with hot water. So don’t drop the jug, don’t chip the jug, don’t put metal objects inside it, and don’t knock it. The last thing you want is a jug of hot coffee breaking all over the place. When finished, rinse gently and leave to drip dry. If you have a dishwasher, make sure that the french press can be washed safely in it.

The french press, v60 cone, traditional cone, spoons, timers, and thermometers are available at most good coffee shops. Now, promise me you won’t share my coffee secrets with anyone! Of course, you won’t… but people will be asking how you make your coffee taste so good. It’s going to be hard not to.

Profile

Kenneth Dickson started drinking cappuccino at Luvian’s Coffee Shop thirty years ago, and hasn’t stopped drinking, making and writing about coffee ever since. Taipei is his coffee heaven. Now he writes at PurelyCoffeeBeans. com about his love of coffee.

References

My latest coffee article has been published. If you’d like to find out the secrets to coffee great, check out the article on pg. 27 of the Community Center’s Centered Magazine. Enjoy! But don’t forget to make some great coffee!


For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page

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2 ways to learn how to make espresso macchiato at home – fabulous, fun and you’ll love it!

Do you know how to make espresso macchiato at home? As PurelyCoffeeBeans knows, it is one of those coffees that you will never see at the local convenience store because it is unique and only served at reputable coffee bars and restaurants.

Disclaimer: When you buy through a link on this site, I earn commission
from any qualifying purchases as I’m an Amazon Associate.

Learning to make this kind of coffee would be quite an impressive achievement for the at-home barista to make simply because it relies on the quality of the espresso. There is nowhere to hide if you can’t do it right!

how to make espresso macchiato
Let’s see what an espresso macchiato is !

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

What can I learn about how to make espresso macchiato?

In fact, if you heard someone ordering an espresso macchiato from the barista, you might be quite surprised by what the customer actually gets. (Hint: it’s really tiny!)

But you can learn how to make espresso macchiato right in the comfort of your home! No need to go to Italy or your favorite coffee specialist!

Espresso Photography Shots
Step 1: How to make espresso macchiato – Find or make an espresso shot!

Where does espresso macchiato come from?

This beverage originates from the lively culinary & lifestyle traditions of Italy. Italians will only drink espresso in the afternoon. So the espresso macchiato was created for those afternoon coffee drinkers looking for an espresso with a stronger aromatic taste, but mellowed by the addition of a dash of milk!

Cappuccino is normally served in the morning and consist of a combination of espresso and steamed milk, then the surface is topped with foamed milk. Espresso is served in the afternoon which is a very concentrated coffee beverage that some people feel it is too strong. Then the baristas in Italy came up with the idea of espresso macchiato which takes the best of both worlds and brings them together, gently and delicately.

What does ‘macchiato’ mean?

The word ‘macchiato‘ means spotted or marked. It is made by adding a small amount of foamed milk to an espresso. The drink appeals to people who generally do not like such an unnuanced strong espresso, but who otherwise feel cappuccino is too weak and milky tasting for the afternoon.

The combination creates its own unique taste which we enjoy and appreciate. If you are a true coffee lover like me, this is a style of coffee you definitely need to try!

How to make espresso macchiato?

Variation 1: Standard Recipe

The way to make an espresso macchiato is exactly the same as a standard espresso. Once the espresso is actually made, just spoon the foamed milk lightly over the top of the espresso.

Please note that when we say ‘spotted’, we don’t mean drowned! You are not making a Cappuccino or a Latte… so use the foamed milk sparingly.

The reason that Espresso Macchiato is a popular alternative is that the limited amount of milk actually balances the strong coffee flavors. I find that not everyone likes the overly sweet concoctions that the Caffe Latte and its Caffe Macchiato siblings have become.

Similarly, for some the Cappuccino can also be quite milky, if it’s not made with strong enough coffee, a common problem if the coffee is poor quality or the espresso machine isn’t maintained properly.

Espresso-Macchiato

However, the espresso macchiato allows you to experience the naturally strong tones of espresso, while balancing the bitterness with a touch of sweetness from the milk. Wonderful!

Variation 2: Milk First

First, add about 10cc of milk into the bottom of the espresso cup. Then place this under the steamer and create the foam.

Now, place the cup under the espresso outlet. Pull your shot(s) directly into the cup. For non-purists, you can sprinkle very lightly with cocoa powder for a finish. Otherwise drink as is! 😀

What equipment and coffee do you need?

If you want to know how to make espresso macchiato, you need to have these tools on hand.

  • A decent manual or burr coffee grinder so you can grind the coffee fine enough for espresso.
  • An espresso maker of some sort which you have set up and used to make espresso before.
  • A milk steamer so you can make the foam for the top.
  • Good quality espresso coffee beans.
  • Espresso cups for presenting your beverage.

Buy espresso cups or glasses: Insulated

That last item is particularly important in the winter. Espresso of all kinds is a very small drink, so keeping the temperature warm in the winter is a challenge. In other words, it cools fast. I would normally recommend small cups like those pictured in Jeremy Yap’s picture, filled with hot water to keep the cup warm.

1214Look at these highly recommended double hulled glasses on Amazon

1618Check out these insulated espresso cups @Amazon for warmer espresso

But in a Chicago winter freeze, I’d suggest using double hulled glasses or insulated espresso cups to help keep the espresso warm while you steam the milk..

Video Tutorial: How to make espresso macchiato?

You can watch the video to see how it’s done by coffee expert Mike Phillips. Hell teach you how to make espresso macchiato perfectly!

Tips and tricks on how to make espresso macchiato if you don’t have an espresso maker

You can use a stovetop espresso maker or an Aeropress to get a decent espresso as an alternative. Steaming the milk might be done on a regular pan, with a thermometer and an Aerolatte to get a bit of froth.

2022
Or you could get this Secura electric automatic milk frother (pictured) from Amazon if you still want to practice how to make espresso macchiato. It’s quite an effective tool in the kitchen!


For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page

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Learn how to make cappuccino at home! These 6 effortless steps show you how!

Fancy learning how to make cappuccino? PurelyCoffeeBeans knows, it’s easy to learn how to make coffee. Even a cappuccino, a drink made with espresso, steamed milk and milk foam requires quite a bit of skill, especially for different customer requests: some like a lot of foam on top and others want just a little.

how to make cappuccino
Damned fine cappuccino! 5*! Great flavor, nicely made with lovely swirls!

What will I learn?

What exactly is a cappuccino?

This drink made with 2 shots of fine espresso, and equal parts of steamed milk and foam swirled gently on top. In Italy, it is served in a small cup, typically about 5 ~ 7 fl.oz in size. It should taste stronger than its latte cousin, which has a lot more steamed milk.

But the one good thing about learning how to make cappuccino yourself is that you can have it exactly the way you want it without having to explain your preferences to a barista. You will know what ‘double shot’ means, how to froth the milk exactly how you like it, and you will be able to use exactly the best espresso beans you like.

What are the main ingredients in a cappuccino?

She's learning how to make cappuccino

If your home is equipped with an espresso maker, then you’re already more than half the way there. Otherwise you’ll need to discover how to make cappuccino with different methods (below).

Of course, you will need some suitable espresso coffee beans, finely ground for an espresso maker. There are several varieties that are worth trying: I prefer the slightly stronger traditional Italian style espresso that often includes a touch of Robusta for depth and a little ‘kick.

So on your next trip to the supermarket:

I’d suggest practicing with cheaper espresso beans, before you attempt to work with the really expensive stuff. There are very nice espresso coffee brands that are made from 100% Arabica coffee beans, as well.

Pick up some fresh milk as well: don’t use milk that has already been heated and cooled as it may affect the flavor. Start with milk straight from the refrigerator. Some chocolate powder, cinnamon powder or vanilla powder for the topping are also tasty.

If you can’t or don’t drink milk, you can consider some really successful alternatives, including oat milk, soy milk, almond milk. But be aware: coffee may curdle your ‘milk alternative’, because of the acidity. Milk won’t curdle because it isn’t acid enough!

You will also need a good espresso maker that can produce a strong espresso, with lots of flavor and crema. If you don’t have one, you can look at the alternative methods below. Don’t forget the measuring spoon, a decent sized cup, and sugar to taste.

Can you make a cappuccino at home?

Cappuccino can also have sugar added and some coffeehouses offer additional flavorings, such as vanilla, caramel, etc.  So, there are a lot of variations on how to make cappuccino but the original formula is preferred by coffee purists.

Step 1: Get the Perfect Coffee Shot

When learning how to make cappuccino at home it’s good to have an espresso machine, (though you can make a fairly decent espresso using a Moka Pot – see later).  Pull a shot of espresso, but remember to leave a sufficient amount water in your machine to steam the milk.

Use a cup big enough to hold the milk and foam and pour the espresso into it.  Of course, once you have some skill, you’ll be able to make the espresso properly and efficiently. In the meantime, just practice till you know how to get the best shot you can.

Step 2: Steaming the Milk

Using a 9 ounce stainless steel jug, place the steaming nozzle in the jug and open the valve slowly.  Once the milk has been heated, pull the carafe down until the nozzle is just barely touching the milk.  You will start to see foam being formed; when you have enough foam to your liking, pour the milk into the espresso.

Step 3: Creating your Cappuccino

You can simply pour the foam gently into your cup or you can spoon it on with a large spoon. In fact, many baristas do both.  You may even want to sprinkle the top with nutmeg, cinnamon or ground chocolate, though I prefer it with neither.

For those who are willing to try, cappuccino or latte art offers a creative way to decorate your drink. But don’t forget to keep the drink hot enough for drinking. That’s it: it’s really easy to know how to make cappuccino.

Caution: Hot Liquids and Equipment!

Remember that your machine will stay quite hot for a while after you turned it off so keep your hands away from the steamer nozzle.  You should also never steam a jug of milk that is more than 1/3 full or you could risk getting a nasty burn, as the milk can get very hot from the steam. Steam after all is already hotter than boiling water.

Caffe Society from the UK describes the process of making cappuccino on this page, and introduces a video that you can watch, too.

How to make cappuccino without an espresso machine?

If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can still find out how to make cappuccino.  You can try out the other types of coffee makers, and see which really works for you. I can suggest three other methods that should work well, all of which can make strong coffee brews:

Brewing Your Espresso

You could use a Moka pot on your stove top for the espresso or you can brew up some very strong coffee in your drip coffeemaker. It may take you a little while to get the formula correct but the Moka pot can make some seriously strong coffee.

Perhaps even the French press can make a decent brew. But you will need to experiment with the varieties of coffee, the amounts, and the brewing time to get something that satisfies you.

Frothing the Milk

There are curiously several methods that can make frothed milk. You can purchase a frothing jug such as the Bodum Aerius tall milk frother or the Bodum Handheld Turbo Frother. Being hamfisted, I would opt for a metal jug rather than glass. But that’s just me. In my experience, the Aerius type frother makes better froth than the little handheld frothers. But you can try both.

No steamer?  No frother? No problem!  Just add milk to a saucepan and heat it on your stove top, being careful not to scorch or burn it.  When it heats up, use a wire whisk to briskly beat the milk and you will soon start to see foam.

Keep whisking until you get as much froth as you want, remove saucepan from the burner and let it “rest” for about thirty seconds.  You can then add it to your espresso or strong coffee.  An alternative to heating milk on the stove is to heat it in the microwave and use your blender to get froth.

How to make cappuccino with milk alternatives?

Bryanna Clark Grogan at VeganFeastKitchen has done some interesting experiments with soy vs. other non-dairy alternatives, too. So head over there and check out the alternatives. For those who don’t consume meat or dairy or those who allergic to dairy, it’s important to maintain a quality of life that validates your enjoyment of cappuccino!

Skim or Lo-fat Milk: If you’re watching your weight you can use skim milk or reduced fat milk; it will be harder to get good foam but it will save you a lot of calories from the fat.

Soy Milk: If you can’t consume dairy products, Soy milk is a popular alternative that is healthy and available in most good coffee shops. You can find out more about the health benefits of soy milk in your cappuccino by reading the article: Nutrition Facts for a Soy Milk Cappuccino at LiveStrong.

Cashew Milk: One customer @ PurelyCoffeeBeans bought Cashew Milk. Now I’ve never heard of it… but I wondered if it would make a decent foam! So I researched a little and found that the bubbles tend to be too large to froth well, so it might not always work. Go gently!

Almond Milk: Another friend, Josh Ellis, wrote: “I don’t mind the soy milk in Taiwan for sweet coffee drinks (it’s sweeter) but when I was in the UK last year I really enjoyed using oat milk instead. I had an almond milk cappuccino at an English-breakfast restaurant in Taipei last week, but wasn’t really a big fan.” Your mileage may vary! I’m still looking for Oat Milk!

Will you learn how to make cappuccino?

You can quickly learn how to prepare cappuccino; whether you have an espresso machine or not. Get ready to be creative and willing to spend a few minutes doing so.  Learning how to make cappuccino at home will allow you a treat anytime you like and save you money, too.


For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page

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Where should you store coffee beans? What is good coffee bean storage?

Our guide to proper coffee bean storage methods

PurelyCoffeeBeans worries about his coffee bean storage. Are you also losing sleep over how your coffee beans will taste tomorrow? Probably not. But if you don’t, then that’s because you never drank a cup of disgusting brown liquid before. I have …

storage jars brimming with coffee beans freshly roasted
Coffee storage jars brimming with coffee freshly roasted! (c) 2020 Kenneth Dickson @ PurelyCoffeeBeans

Well, let me tell you, if you take your time to buy good coffee beans, and spend lots of money on buying the best coffee makers, then storing your top quality coffee beans only makes sense because it will save you money, stress and your morning coffee!

Find out more about ways to do proper coffee bean storage by reading about the natural enemies of coffee, different coffee types, why coffee beans go bad, and how you can implement some simple storage remedies to ensure that your coffee tastes as good as you would like it to be.

What will I learn about storing my coffee properly?

When good coffee goes bad…

Reader’s Question


What are Coffee’s Natural Enemies?

There are four natural enemies that impair or destroy the flavors in roasted coffee beans: air, moisture, heat, and sunlight.

Moisture also affects coffee bean storage: keeping your beans dry will help keep them fresh, inhibit the growth of molds or bacteria and the ‘sweating’ process that would occur if they were also exposed to heat or sunlight. Keeping the beans in the refrigerator or freezer also exposes your beans to moisture.


Air is an obvious one: the fresh air will naturally react with the complex chemical composition of the coffee beans, especially the roasted ones. This produces a gradual impairment of the flavor, leaving the beans bland, tasteless, and odorless. In your coffee cup, this means a cup of brown sludge, if you’re lucky. Keep the beans in an airtight container.

Sunlight, too: because of the sunlight, the beans will be gently heated perhaps for prolonged periods, if you leave the coffee jar under the sun. The light itself will also impact the delicate flavors of the coffee beans.

Heat is a natural destroyer of the flavors of coffee beans except when you’re actually preparing your coffee. During the preparation, you use a controlled amount of heat for a specific duration; but exposure to inappropriate heat prior to use will remove some of the flavors you are looking for. Keep your beans cool.

Remember: MASH – moisture, air, sunlight and heat – will destroy your precious (and expensive) coffee beans, so it’s important that you choose appropriate methods for coffee bean storage. And the steps are pretty simple to set up.

But there is one cause of non-remediable source that affects your coffee… can you guess which it is?

Answer: At the bottom of the article.

How long will green coffee beans stay fresh?

Green beans (the unroasted ones) will keep for several years if you put them in a cool, dark and dry coffee bean storage. You will need to make sure that the container is tightly sealed so you can store coffee beans properly. But you should still be able to make a decent roast!

You can vacuum seal unroasted or green coffee beans for future use and keep them for years if you like home roasting. Once they are roasted, though, you should grind them and use them within a few days. Freezing is not recommended because of the inevitable condensation that ruins the flavor of the coffee.

Is roasting your own coffee worth it?

If you’re into roasting your own beans, then you will be able to keep your beans for up to several weeks at room temperatures. Putting them in an airtight container, especially a dark one, will help to preserve the damage the light does to the beans.

Unlike commercially roasted coffee, your own roast should be perfectly drinkable. If you compare to the beans in the supermarket, they often claim use-by dates of upto 2 years! 2 YEARS! Geez!

Unfortunately, green beans don’t make a great cup of coffee when you need it! You still have to roast and grind the beans. In many situations, it’s impossible to roast the beans when you’re on a 10-minute coffee break, for example. This means you need to be prepared, but could become a pleasurable hobby.

But roasted beans are a lot fussier and extended periods in coffee bean storage, even when well-packed, will reduce the flavors in the cup. So you’ll likely end up purchasing freshly (or at least, recently) roasted coffee beans. However, these beans are more volatile if you don’t store the coffee properly.

How do coffee beans go bad?

It is important to store coffee beans well, especially after they have been roasted. Why is that? To understand how delicate your coffee beans’ aroma and taste really are, you should find out how it comes about, what leads to its flavors, and what happens to turn aromas ‘bad’.

Once you roast your coffee beans, the oils that contain the flavors and aromas come are expelled from the bean. You can see this because the oils are visible on the surface of the bean. After a few days without proper coffee bean storage, these aroma-carrying oils turn rancid because of exposure to the air, and the coffee flavor is degraded to the point that you no longer discern the delicate aromas.

Freshly roasted beans also expel gasses that are the product of the roasting process. After about a week, these gasses dissipate so you will have to make sure the carbon dioxide is vented properly, either through special bags or by opening the canister.

Most commercial roasted coffee beans sold is packed in a special bag that allows the gases to escape while preventing oxygen from entering. This bag facilitates proper coffee bean storage, but won’t keep the beans fresh forever.

Once the gasses are vented, the coffee is highly drinkable, but keeping the coffee in tiptop condition becomes a challenge, one that you are destined to lose if it goes on too long.

How do you keep coffee fresh after opening?

The best way for optimum coffee bean storage is keeping the beans in a tightly closed container. There are several kinds of attractive containers that have a strong lock on the lid and a rubber seal but any type of tightly covered jar or can will do as long as you use the beans quickly.

This is the best way to protect the oils of the coffee beans and get the best flavor from your freshly ground and brewed coffee. Also, keep the beans away from MASH – Moisture, Air, Sunlight and Heat! Doing that will help you keep your beans longer and in better condition.

Don’t plan on keeping the beans for three months in a transparent jar with a loose lid, and expect them to retain the same flavors! If you keep the bags small enough to be used within 10 days of opening, store coffee beans that well and your coffee should be fine.

Why does ground coffee go bad?

Yes! All coffee goes bad eventually. Some companies spend a lot of money refining their processing & packaging. There are some methods for storing coffee beans, such as using vacuum coffee containers with nitrogen or one-way valves in foil bags for roasted coffee beans and ground coffee. Other companies throw the beans in bags and hope for the best.

However, whole beans do keep better on the whole! Ground coffee starts to lose all the essentials that matter as soon as it is ground. That is why ground vacuum-packed coffee tends to be so mediocre; the flavors and aromas from the oils have dissipated in the packing and storage processes.

These vacuum containers are excellent for preserving green coffee beans (unroasted) as well as your freshly roasted coffee beans. However, the process of vacuum sealing risks removing some natural smells and flavors from ground coffee. Worse, ground coffee tends to be particularly vulnerable to the MASH symptoms I outlined above, especially after it is opened.

Keep it sealed up!

So, if you are using ground coffee, keep it in a sealed container to prevent additional condensation inside; and use the coffee as quickly as possible. Avoid keeping it in the refrigerator because taking it out daily increases the risk of additional moisture condensing inside the bag.

For beans, some people are suggesting taking larger bags and dosing out each day’s use into smaller bags. Then freezing the smaller bags. Freeze the small bags, take out & grind as normal. Their idea is it will stop additional degradation from the day of initial freezing. Give it a try!

One tip I’m trying now with bags of coffee (both ground & beans): don’t decant the coffee into your own jar from the coffee bag. This just allows air into the entire bag of coffee as you pour. Instead, try to disturb the bottom of the pack unduly by taking what coffee you need from the top, then put the ENTIRE bag (clipped shut) into the coffee jar! That’s what I’m trying nowadays in 2019!

Lastly, I’d suggest you to avoid buying large containers of coffee especially if it can’t be drunk reasonably within a short time. Even keeping it in the fridge will not prevent your coffee from going off shortly.

What do I recommend for proper coffee bean storage?

I don’t store coffee beans in the fridge because I usually buy a large bag, and grind the beans daily. I’m not tempted to put the beans in the refrigerator, because of the risk of creating additional stress on the flavors. I do need to buy a decent coffee can or ceramic jar to protect the coffee from light; and put the beans in a cupboard away from the sun streaming through the kitchen window.


No storage jars with clear glass there. Don’t keep your beans in a glass jar… light gets in! In fact, if the jar is big enough, just put the entire bag with beans inside INTO the jar. Don’t disturb the carbon that has sheathed the beans at the bottom of the bag! That is my current recommendation for storage for short term. When you pour the beans into the jar, the carbon escapes, and is replaced with oxygen leading to increased oxidation and a shorter shelf-life for your coffee!

I’d also recommend that you purchase your beans and try to use them up within about 10-14 days at the very most. If you can’t, you may find that you need to buy smaller quantities of coffee. While this cuts down some of the savings you might make by buying in bulk, your taste buds will thank you a great deal when you buy less and use proper coffee bean storing methods.

Video – How should you store your coffee beans?

Maria Cleaveland, from Equator Estate Coffees, advises us quickly on how to store coffee beans properly in this short video. Worth watching.


At PurelyCoffeeBeans, I’ve answered lots of questions over the years. You’ll find the questions and their answers scattered throughout the site! I’m always open to more questions, if you’re frustrated or curious, or you want to review a coffee, why don’t you drop me a line!

This week we welcome…!


Q1. How long can I store coffee beans? What about green coffee beans?
by a coffee friend from the US

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Check out this coffee storage jar on Amazon

If stored in an airtight container designed for effective coffee bean storage, how long will unground beans last before going stale? I know that some beans tend to go stale more quickly, like JBM, but I mean just your typical espresso roasted fare.

Thank you

That’s a great question. In general, the sooner beans of any kind are used the better. Why? Because air, heat, moisture and time (remember M-A-S-H?) are the enemies of ALL coffee. Saying that, however, unground beans will keep longer than ground coffee. So the real question is: how exactly did you store your coffee?

Green coffee vs. roasted coffee?

One website I read suggested from 2 ~10 years (!) but that it would depend on what kind of bean and HOW carefully they were stored. If the container is airtight, store them away from the sun for sure. Green beans typically have a moisture content of 10-15%, so I would be careful about not storing them in plastic bags, since this may incubate undesirables in your beans.

I wouldn’t personally aim to keep green beans longer than 12 months in a hot or humid climate, simply because ambient humidity is much higher where I live. Roasted coffee beans wouldn’t really be so good after even just a month or so, once opened.

I also debate with myself the advantages of storing beans in the freezer, because of the danger of causing mold growth from warm temperatures and increased humidity from sweating’ of roasted beans. If you have a large bag of green beans, do your friends a favor and give them away: well before the 2 years are up!

There are some practical solutions to storing coffee beans well, you can also check them out some appropriate products on Amazon.


Q2. Expiration Date Way Over! Can we still drink old coffee beans?

by Andrew Tan from the Philippines

Good afternoon, sir!

We have in our office a bag of Kirkland coffee beans that we forgot about! Their expiry date is already more than one year past the printed date! Are they still safe to brew or drink? If not, what can we do with these beans?

Thank you

arabica-coffee-beansThank you, Andrew for asking this question. We have all had bags of coffee beans lying around, I’ve still got a bag of Dunkin Donuts Decaff (it wasn’t brilliant coffee to start with) on the shelf, and half a can of unknown beans stuffed inside a can. Hard to know what to do with them! They’re both way past drinkable.

It’s not worth storing either properly even when I bought them… sometimes making the effort for poor or stale coffee is not worth it.

How long has it bean?

The date of roasting & packaging determines the expiry date, you’ll see this clearly printed or stamped on the bag or can. Unless the package is actually opened, it is likely the beans will still be in reasonable condition.

Exposure to the M-A-S-H factors will cause deterioration in the quality of the coffee. Extreme moisture may offer the opportunity for mold to grow as well. Nice!

What happens to the coffee flavor? That matters!

The real issue though is flavor. Will they retain any of their flavor? If the package has been opened for any length of time, I’m afraid that if you use them to brew coffee, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Exposure to air tends to cause the delicate flavors from the roasting to dissipate. So when you open a bag of coffee, it’s always a good idea to store the beans well, away from heat, sunlight, air & moisture. In fact, it’s also best to use them up within 7-14 days.

How are old coffee grounds still useful?

Old coffee beans can still be used, but perhaps not for consumption. You can grind them up, and use them as air freshener. The coffee grounds will absorb bad smells from the kitchen or refrigerator or even your shoeshelf. If you have a burr grinder which you haven’t used for a while, grinding these beans can help clean out the oils from previous beans that may have gone a tad rancid.

Decorate, prettify, talk about!

Lastly, they’re quite useful for decoration. I’d suggest putting them in a bowl to add a little decorative impact to your kitchen! People are always intrigued by actual coffee beans… we’re so used to seeing instant coffee & ground coffee! They can become a talking point in your kitchen. So don’t worry if you’ve got some old or cheap beans lying about. Even coffee grounds can be reused.

If you’re interested in more esoteric uses, then take a look at the next couple of articles!

Recommended viewing/reading

Now for the answer to our question

Answer: Time from roasting. Time is the only factor that you cannot mitigate with good storage practices. It’s best to not store good coffee too long; even in optimal storage conditions, the beans will continue to deteriorate gradually.


For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page

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Effortless Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System? Let’s make great drip bag coffee everywhere!

As PurelyCoffeeBeans knows, the Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System is now available! In Asia, disposable personal drip coffee has been a convenient and popular way to make coffee for a while now. It has also been significantly influenced by the 3rd wave coffee trends of recent years here.

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A few months ago, I featured a cup of coffee made with this Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee Filter from Starbucks Japan.

Starbucks USA doesn’t feature the product on their website, but you never know. Compared to the Via system, the little sachets of instant coffee which retail about $1 per cup, they seem to be a little more expensive at over $2 a cup.

So what are they? How do they rate? What’s your verdict?

What can I find out about Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System?

How do I use the Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System coffee?

Personal Review of Starbucks Origami coffee

What is Starbucks Origami – Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System?

There are a variety of designs available. You can even find it in Starbucks’ Origami (@Amazon)46 but you’ll get severe sticker shock!!! It is a fabulously easy way to enjoy making coffee, and there are a few hacks that can improve the quality of the final cuppa!

Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System
Starbucks personal drip coffee makers

Let’s introduce this product… I’ll be showing you how to make this coffee later in the post. But first, enjoy the video!

Have you ever made coffee in this way before? Were you satisfied with the method, the product or the coffee? I’d love to hear your ideas!

How do you make coffee with the Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System?

At 4am in a hotel, when you have to get up early, they make a good alternative to rushing around trying to find an open coffee shop or room service, even in Japan.

But how do you make coffee with ears? There are two methods: the simple method according to the packet & the variation. In Japan and Taiwan, you’ll find many different manufacturers make coffee pouches like this. Each design is slightly different, but the general principles will work as I show you here.

What is the simplest method?

You need one tea cup (not a mug), big enough to hold the coffee packet, once opened; 200+/-cc of hot (not boiling) water; and sugar or cream, if you don’t drink it black.

Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System bag and cup

Open the packet carefully (with scissors if you have them), try not to tear the paper holder inside. Then pull out the insert from the foil packet.

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Open the paper insert (it looks like a little pouch of coffee), open the right way up or the coffee will spill out! And place over your cup like in the picture. Make sure each leg stands over the edge of the cup, this will provide support for the unit once you start pouring hot water.

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I’ve started pouring hot water now. Don’t use boiling water! Good coffee is made with water that has been boiled and is hot enough (ie. about 90~95C or approx. 190F). Pour gently, pour carefully. Stop if you see a problem.

Pour the first until you see a small bloom, then let it filter into the cup; keep pouring gently and stopping until the tea cup is full or you have as much as you need. Don’t put too much water through, it will just become watery.

How do I avoid disaster?

There is a delicate art to making coffee in the Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System way (also referred here as Starbucks Origami), because you don’t want the entire unit to fall over or get knocked off. Take it EASY! Don’t rush! It makes a great cup of coffee, as fresh as the 10g of coffee inside. Better than instant any day! Check out this video that shows you how to do it!

Coffee Drip Bags: How to make drip bag coffee taste good

As PurelyCoffeeBeans knows, if you’ve traveled in Asia, you’ll notice how coffee drip bags have become quite popular. Even Starbucks in Japan now manufactures several different types with a variety of roasts you can try. Unfortunately, they’re not available in the US market yet, perhaps because Starbucks Via is a bigger seller.Let me tell you: they taste much better than Via. Much! In this article, I’ll use the Starbucks Origami Personal Coffee System (good name, eh!)

What are coffee drip bags?

I call it the bag with ears because that’s what it looks like! It’s a tiny pouch that is sold in foil sealed bag. It should look like this.

coffee drip bags secrets

The Simple Method is outlined here. But today I’d like to teach the Advanced Method.

What you need

Simple:

  • A kettle that you can boil a little amount of water
  • A jug of some sort (I’m using one from my drip coffee maker)
  • A cup (duh!)
  • A cooking thermometer
  • A water measure with fresh water for the coffee
  • And a packet of coffee (I’m using Starbucks Caffe Verona which contains 10g of finely ground coffee)
  • I also used additional hot water to warm the coffee pot and the mug.

Let’s make it!

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Step 1

When you open it you open the bag, you’ll find a paper pouch that is also sealed.

coffee drip bags secretsThis is the filter paper, filter frame, & coffee grounds. Open the pouch very carefully, don’t use scissors, don’t pull too hard and try really hard not to tear it!

Step 2

Boil the water and add the required amount to the measuring cup. Pour the remainder in the cup to warm it; and into the jug to warm it.

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Step 3

Toss out the hot water in the coffee jug, check the coffee hot water isn’t too hot or too cold. I tend to use about 90~95C range. Add this to the jug.

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Step 4

Add the coffee grounds to the jug and stir once. Wait about 60 seconds for the infusion process to work.70

Step 5

Toss out the hot water in the cup. Then place the empty filter bag & support on the cup and pour the contents of the jug slowly into the filter paper until the jug is empty.

coffee drip bags secrets

Step 6

Tidy up. Add milk & sugar if you need it.

Using Coffee Drip Bags to make coffee

Extra Tips for using these coffee drip bags!

The advantage of this system is that you get a better more flavorful cup of coffee than the simple method.

The minimum additional item you need to do this in a hotel is some kind of jug. You can judge the water amount by eye or cup size in the room.

Just don’t infuse too long because the flavor may change or become too bitter. If it tastes too strong or goes a little cold, you can add some hot water, too. Just don’t add too much.

Remember: the temperature decreases with time so try to keep your equipment warm; add hot water to the final cup, and don’t let it sit too long. Adding cold milk straight from the fridge will cool the drink even more.

Better than instant

It’s way better than instant coffee you find in many hotel bedrooms; and if you can’t bear the hotel coffee in the restaurant, you can finally have your own ‘mini’ coffee bar in your room! After all, not every hotel has a decent coffee shop!

Have you seen these portable coffee filters before? What did you think of them? Have you tried?

Social: Have you tried coffee drip bags?

Has anyone tried these? Any thoughts or opinions? from Coffee

As PurelyCoffeeBeans knows, coffee drip bags are quite popular in Taiwan and Japan. It’s a muss-free way to make coffee. But as you’d expect the coffee is average: though it is packed in foil, the roasting, grinding and packaging are often done weeks or months before by the big companies. There is one guy I know who does it really well, he does the roasting, packing quickly. And he sells out quickly but he only sells via his store in Taipei.

The other problem is the method of preparing: without a jug with a long thing handle, you’re reduced to using uncontrolled glugs of water that splash everywhere. The soaking of the grounds is uneven at best. So the real benefit is that it’s hot, and it’s coffee. That’s it.

Starbucks, in Japan, make a slightly better version… It’s called the Personal Drip Coffee System.

Overall, I prefer a traditional cone with filter paper… I can make as much as I need. It doesn’t rip, tear or spill like these do. And I can control the water and soaking better because it’s wider than a drip bag. No, they’re not ideal.

Edit: In reference to your picture, they are certainly on-the-go. However,… their biodegradability depends entirely on the paper/plastic used (yes, some paper filters use plastic, too) and the claims to eco-friendliness are suspect as well.

Obviously, coffee grounds are reusable… but I have no idea if they are grown with pesticides, etc. I wouldn’t assume by any means that the average drip bag is either eco-friendly or boidegradable.

And finally, you could buy your own drip bags, pack your own coffee, and DIY. Would be quite fine, I think. Pouring the water will always be tricky: you’ll sometimes end up with coffee grounds in the cup, or hot water all over the table. It’s not ideal.

For more discussion on coffee drip bags, check Reddit.



For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page

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7 Reasons to Buy “For the Love of Iced Coffee Ebook”

Lots of people love making coffee for their friends & family. It’s for you, your friends & your loved ones that I write this book! I dedicate in the hopes that I can make your summers more delightful, more refreshing…

For the Love of Iced Coffee Ebook

PurelyCoffeeBeans introduces my new Iced Coffee EBook. Interested in making iced coffee this summer? You will have to read “For the Love of Iced Coffee Ebook”…

For the Love of Iced Coffee Ebook

This Iced Coffee Ebook will teach you:

  • how to make iced coffee;
  • basic iced coffee recipes;
  • includes some wonderful readers’ recipes that are a little more exotic; and
  • find out what to buy, what to avoid, and what to try.

There’s a trove of stuff that will help you discover the real treasure: For the Love of Iced Coffee Ebook available now.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I earn commission from any qualifying purchases.

Welcome to PurelyCoffeeBeans! Let me pour you an iced coffee! It’s getting warm outside!

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I hope you enjoy our site! Sign up for our email newsletter, before you leave!

The chapter contents are as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Let’s Make Iced Coffee
  • Chapter 2: Yes You Can Make It & What You Need
  • Chapter 3: Top Ten Iced Coffee Readers’ Recipes
  • Chapter 4: Cold Brew Coffee: Coffee to Chill!
  • Chapter 5: Iced Coffee Calories Loaded
  • Chapter 6: Now for Something Exotic
  • Chapter 7: Little Tips & Suggestions

Here’s the blurb to entice you and the cover, too!

In “For the Love of Iced Coffee Ebook”, explore the many of variations that have evolved in this refreshing drink; find recipes, tips & methods to make great iced coffee at home; and learn how to prepare, serve and enjoy the real iced coffee. Enjoy!

I’d love you to read my extract from the book.


Chapter 1: Let’s Make Iced Coffee

This is where we learn how to make iced coffee. And no wonder…!

Goodness! It’s hot here! 36C and 37C at the high points, so there’s nothing so refreshing as an iced coffee made well; nothing so disgusting as one that’s made badly! Who wants that?!

Refreshingly icy, strong and delicious flavors, served the way you want!

I’m so pleased to be writing this book so you can find out:

• how to make great tasting iced coffee,
• how to save money making it at home, and
• share my love for this delicious & refreshing drink!

Lastly, I hope that you can come join me at PurelyCoffeeBeans.com where I write about all things coffee.

But first, I want you to know the “Secret of Iced Coffee”! It’s no longer a secret! You won’t just find it at Starbucks! Lots of places serve it these days!

Around the world, many countries have invented their own way to enjoy coffee as a chilled drink for warmer climes and hotter times. Let’s take a quick look:

• In Italy caffe freddo is popular; espresso is put in a freezer until it turns to slush and is served on hot days.

• In Greece the coffee is prepared as a Frappe, blended with an electric hand mixer so that it has a foamy top. Other cold coffee drinks popular in Greece are cappuccino freddo and espresso.

• In Australia, where it’s been served and sold commercially since the late 1800’s, it comes in syrup form. In fact, iced coffee outsells the most popular cola drink in Australia and its sales figures come close to those of beer.

• In Chile, it is called Helado. Coffee powder or espresso is combined with cream, cinnamon and vanilla, sugar and often ice cream flavored with ground almonds. Although it sounds like a heavy, filling drink it is very refreshing and nearly everyone drinks it at least once a day in the summertime.

• India has its own cold coffee drink which consists of instant coffee blended with cold milk. Israel’s drinkers enjoy a type of “slushie” which uses coffee, crushed ice, sugar and milk.

Many other countries also prepare iced coffee, including Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and more.

However it is made, the common factors are: good coffee and generous proportions of ice. Then there’s an added dash – generous spoonful of sweetness!

It’s Natural!

And it’s easy to understand why, in summer, iced coffee is one treat that is always welcome on a hot and sultry day.

To read the rest of the book, you can read it on Kindle or purchase the book, click: “Buy For the Love of Iced Coffee” eBook on Amazon Now

@ Amazon

And I should know, why not check out my new Iced Coffee Ebook on Amazon!

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PurelyCoffeeBean’s For the Love of Iced Coffee Ebook!

@ Kobo

You can also check the Iced Coffee ebook out all over the world on Kobo!83
PurelyCoffeeBean’s For the Love of Iced Coffee Ebook

About PurelyCoffeeBeans.com

clip_image002At PurelyCoffeeBeans.com, learn how to buy the best coffee beans, make the best possible drinks from whatever machine or method you use, and enjoy yourselves, too!

You’ll also find the best tips for making coffee, as well as lots of advice on top quality coffee makers, readers’ suggestions and much much more…

So there’s lots to discover, lots to learn, lots to drink, and even lots to share with your friends.

Newsletter

Now that we’ve brewed up a storm…

coffeebeansdrinkingcoffeePlease subscribe to the newsletter! You are always welcome to come back… ANY time!

Or perhaps you just need to put your feet up and make a cuppa, already? Don’t let me stop you!

Sign up to get my coffee newsletter regularly: with blog news, promotions, tips and advice. All to help YOU find, make and drink a truly great cup of coffee…! You’ll also get my latest book when it becomes available!

Don’t worry — your e-mail address is totally secure. I promise to use it only to send you The Purely Coffee Beans Perks Ezine plus freebies!

What a few people have recently said

“Oh, and may I say that this is probably the best blockbuilder site I’ve ever seen? What impresses me the most is how you’ve got so many systems in place that are so up-to-the-minute and smart, … It’s fresh and modern, has all the bells and whistles. … Anyway. Nice job!!”

Lynne Mason, Washington from Electric Cars ARE for Girls.

“I have recently spent some time perusing a few of ‘Purely Coffee Beans’ entries, and I must say I am quite impressed!”

J.M., THE EAST INDIA COMPANY FINE FOODS LTD.

“I like your site, very well done, nice to navigate and easy to read.”

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B.B., Guatemala.

“Your website about coffee is really gorgeous”

L., Taiwan.

“What a great site, answers all questions, and stops the big companies from fooling the consumers.”

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For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page

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Cone coffee is no con-trick: Master the drip coffee cone!

Cone coffee is no con-trick: Master the drip coffee cone!

If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’d be forgiven for thinking that coffee only ever spooned out of a jar or served from an automated drinks machine. So learning to use a drip cone will yield a much finer cup of cone coffee in about the same amount of time.

how to make cone coffee image
Taken at the opening day of Nanjichang International Street Photography Exhibition, Taipei, on April 30th, 2016.

Table of Contents: What will I learn about coffee cones and coffee filter papers?

I. Learn about coffee cones and coffee filter papers

Drip cone coffee is a wonderful method for making coffee, quite similar to the drip bag, except the cone uses either a disposable or reusable coffee filter to hold the coffee. Drip cones come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials:

  • (one ~ four cups),
  • styles (flat bottom, V-shape), and
  • materials (plastic, metal, ceramic)

They are ideal for making coffee for one to four cups, and require little more equipment than the drip bags. You can use them over small cups (1- or 2-cup size) or larger jugs (2- or 4-cup size). 

Apart from the cone, you need a regular supply of coffee filter papers, available in bleached or unbleached paper. The bleached paper filters are white and the most common choice. The unbleached brown filters attract a more discerning crowd, but may add a weird note to lighter roasts, esp. fruitier flavors. 

If you choose not to use paper, then a reusable cloth, plastic or gold filter is available. Plastic isn’t the best material because it may leave faint unpleasant tastes. But the reusable cloth coffee filter doesn’t keep so long; the oils extracted from the coffee slowly stain and discolor the cloths. So perhaps gold filters are the best.

II. Master the Beans, Roast & Grind

The drip cone is best for cone coffee that are light to medium roast. If you are buying your own coffee beans, pay attention to the grind size to make sure the grounds are medium-sized: too coarse, you’ll end up with dirty-looking, watery coffee; too fine, the coffee sludge gets into your cup, especially if you’re using plastic or gold mesh filters. 

Grind to a level similar to seasalt, so you can feel the grains, about two tablespoons of your chosen coffee (25g). You may use less if you need, but the ideal ratio falls between 1:15 to 1:17 coffee to water. 

Additional Equipment 

A cooking thermometer helps monitoring the water temperature for cone coffee, while a kitchen scale standardizes the coffee weight, so you don’t have to rely on vague spoon estimates. Lastly, a jug or special kettle with a gooseneck will control the volume and speed of water pouring. It also cools the water. 

Don’t be a big drip!

You will need about 350ml of hot water plus about 100ml for rinsing the filter and heating the cup for EACH cup you’re going to make. Then add 10% to account for evaporation and absorption. Once boiled, swirl some hot water in each cup (about 50ml) for a few seconds, then toss that water. 

Fold the coffee filter along the seams to keep the filter against the edges of the cone. Now place the cone over the cup, then pour another 50ml of hot water around the coffee filter to soak the entire paper. Once the water has drained, add the coffee grains to the bottom of the cone, lightly press down with the coffee spoon. Empty the water again from the cup and replace the cone. Now is time for the bloom.

It’s blooming right!

The aim of blooming is to degas the coffee and start the extraction process. Removing the gas around the coffee grains allows the water to penetrate the coffee properly. So pour about 90ml of hot water into the center of the cone in a small circle. You’ll see the coffee rise a little as the gas tries to escape. You will note bubbles of carbon dioxide start ‘boiling’ in the cone, indicating that the coffee hasn’t been roasted or ground too long ago. This also warms the coffee and keeps the cone warm, too.

Pour over that coffee

Wait a little before beginning the second pour. This time pour in circles from the center to the outside covering the entire coffee. Don’t let the cone fill up too much with the water so pour slowly. When you sense it’s enough, you can stop pouring, then allow another 30 seconds while the water goes through the coffee.

You should repeat the process at least once more. Some recommend four separate pourings with timing between. Don’t be afraid of a few coffee grains in your cup either! 

III. Be Methodical and Make Variations of Cone Coffee 

At this point, you may have pretty much used up your 350ml of water, though some recommend even a fourth pour. I can only say that the more times you pour, the cooler your coffee will become because of the extended time, so I’d aim to complete within 3~4 minutes.

You will still find your coffee about 75~80 degrees, but pleasantly drinkable. If the body is too strong or dark or the volume is too little, consider adding 50ml of hot water. Drink and enjoy! 

IV. Tip: Check your Paper Filter Sizes for Coffee Cones

I’m always getting those wrong…  I thought you’d appreciate a simple guide, too. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve bought the wrong coffee filter size. So here it is:

Size #1 – is perfect for one small cup of coffee. It is the smallest size and makes about 200ml of cone coffee. It is tiny.

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Size #2 – is ideal if you prefer a mug or want to make two cups of coffee.

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Size #4 – is for small jugs of cone coffee, typically 3~4 cups of coffee.

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Size #6 – is for larger jugs of cone coffee, and is typically hard to find.

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I’ve included unbleached coffee filter papers, but you can also find the white papers if you prefer. Melitta isn’t the only coffee filter paper manufacturer, there are plenty of others!

Do make sure you buy the right kind! Some have a flat bottom, some a ‘V’ shaped bottom, and some are ‘square’… while some are for big coffee machines.

No matter which type of coffee cone you buy, match it with the right coffee filter paper. Then you can perfect your technique and make topnotch coffee quickly and easily! 

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Kenneth Dickson started drinking cappuccino at Luvian’s Coffee Shop thirty years ago, and hasn’t stopped drinking, making and writing about coffee ever since. Taipei is his coffee heaven. Now he writes at PurelyCoffeeBeans.com about his love of coffee. 


For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page

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Make Latte At Home with PurelyCoffeeBeans’ 5 Tips and Tricks to Inspire!

How to Make Latte At Home Without An Espresso Maker

Knowing how to make latte at home helps you avoid the often expensive caffe latte in coffee shops across the land! It’s a price tag that will set you back $3.00 and more per cup. Can you imagine how much you would save if you decided to make latte at home over a year…? Do the math!

Disclaimer: When you buy through a link on this site, I earn commission
from any qualifying purchases as I’m an Amazon Associate.

How to make latte with a little art!
Caffe Latte

In fact, the latte factor is often cited as the reason people can’t cut down on their budget: they have to have their coffee. But, fellow coffee lovers, are you really going to let a little coffee latte habit stand between you and financial liberation?

How to Make Your Own Coffee Latte

Really, of course not! Because you can easily, affordably and quickly learn to how to make latte at home! The best way to circumvent the Latte factor is to make your own latte. The ingredients are relatively inexpensive, especially if you buy in bulk. After all, what do you need to make a latte, apart from espresso!

Latte Ingredients

Simply coffee, water & milk. Latte making can be very fun because there are so many options available to add that wonderful nuance to your cup. The best tip out there is to be creative. What’s the worst that can happen? If you don’t like it, try again. Now you can even add a little more exotic flavorings to your coffee for only a little extra in costs.

Special Latte Ingredients

Some wonderful ingredients for that special latte include pumpkin, cinnamon and chocolate syrup, but some other, less popular choices are honey and cookies. There are no wrong options. Just make sure that you choose a decent espresso coffee beans. Then heat the milk and turn your creativity loose. Your taste buds will thank you later.

Making Coffee Latte: Factor in a little effort

There are many ways to make the coffee you crave without indulging in the latte factor. We’ve already looked at using an espresso maker to make latte at home, but there in this article I’ll introduce to four other ways to make the espresso shot that work just as well.

The Moka Pot Way

Making a latte with moka pot espresso at home is easy—all one needs is a little Moka pot—the little Italian espresso machine, used on the stove top. Microwave the milk and voila! A latte! Just brew the espresso according to the directions on the Moka pot, being careful to watch it and never leaving it unattended.

Pull the Moka pot off the heat when espresso is brewed, heat milk in a microwavable cup. Flavor with hazelnut or vanilla syrup after this heating—I wouldn’t heat the syrup, but it is probably at room temperature already—and then, add the espresso. For more information on making coffee in the moka pot, just click here.

The French Press

The French Press is the most flexible way to make all kinds of coffee, and should turn out a decent cup of espresso style coffee, though perhaps with a little less body. It can certainly give your coffee a caffeinated, espresso type boost. Just remember to grind the espresso beans less finely, otherwise you may find your latte has more ‘grit’ in it than you’d like. Or you can just double filter the coffee.

The Aeropress

The Aeropress Coffee Maker turns out a really decent espresso shot, with a little practice. It uses a little more coffee than you might otherwise use, but the unit is affordable, simple to use, and produces great espresso coffee. You’ll just need to buy a decent espresso coffee bean.

Putting the Coffee Latte Art into your Latte: You can make latte at home!

There is the simple battery powered milk frother that use a whisk type tool to froth the milk, and looks a little like an electric tooth brush. Many of the popular models are the Aerolatte Milk Frother series109 of products, though I’d suggest that you buy one with an additional stainless steel pitcher (jug) and rechargeable batteries, too.

You should also look at the Aerolatte Heat & Froth Machine111 type of products. They are indeed much more expensive than the previous milk frothing tool, but they offer more convenience: full automation, easy cleaning, larger capacity, and quick speed.

Milk Frother Helps You Add a Little Latte Art

My friend brought me a little coffee milk frother as a present. Nice, thanks! Much appreciated, Cynthia! 😀

It was a funny looking thing that was supposed to froth the milk, like the one below.

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Buy this latte frother on Amazon115

For Christmas, I bought a friend the simple frother device as a companion for her coffee maker. I was blown away with the quality of the foam, as you can see!

Learn How to Make Latte
Milk steamed and frothed!

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The stick is supported only by the foam in the cup. And it stood there for more than 30 seconds! Here’s the technique:

  • Make coffee your favorite way, though I’d recommend that you choose a darker roast coffee, and make it stronger than you’d normally drink to avoid diluting the flavors.
  • Warm your milk gently (not boiling) so you don’t alter the flavor of the milk or get unnecessary skin floating in the milk.
  • Once you pour your brewed or espresso coffee in the bottom, add some warmed milk to the top, …
  • The remaining milk can be frothed by your milk frother in thirty seconds or less. Simply spoon the froth into your cup.

Voila! There are a number of frothers on the market, but the one we used to make the coffee above looked very similar to this aerolatte frother. If you are interested, you can read more about how to make cappuccino or how to make latte at home here.

Save your Budget From the Coffee Latte Factor

In conclusion, it’s hard to say that buying some of the more expensive items (such as the milk frother/heater device) make a lot of sense if you only make latte at home occasionally. But if you are really trying to cut down on the latte factor in your life, then justifying this inexpensive tool shouldn’t be too difficult.

If you’re also interested in learning how to make a cappuccino at home, head on over to that page!


For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page

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