How to make coffee taste better at home

Plus the one hack to make instant coffee taste better every time.
"how to make coffee"

It’s never been more expensive for coffee-enthusiasts to enjoy a barista-made brew, particularly if you like your plant-based milks. But no matter how untenable cafe coffee prices have become, a coffee connoisseur is often resistant to switch to brewing their own at home. But making your own coffee doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice great taste. From instant coffee to pods to beans, here’s how to make coffee taste better at home.

Instant coffee

Instant coffee gets a bad wrap, particularly from self-professed coffee snobs. But if it’s made right, instant coffee can actually be a convincing substitute for your regular brew. Here’s how to make a delicious instant coffee:

  • Buy good instant coffee: One of the first places you can go wrong with instant coffee is buying the wrong brand. Choice rated Bushell’s Classic Gourmet Instant Coffee as the best of the best in their extensive taste tests. Similarly, when shopping for instant coffee, look for ‘freeze-dried’ rather than ‘spray-dried’ for a superior taste.
  • Make sure your ratios are right: Another crucial misstep when making instant coffee is getting your ratios wrong. Too much water can produce a bland taste and too much coffee can overpower the entire drink. A general rule of thumb is for every 2g (roughly one heaped teaspoon) of instant coffee granules to use 200ml of water.
  • Add a dash of cold water first: Speaking of water, adding a dash of cold water to your instant coffee before your boiling water is a game-changer. Instant coffee granules contain amylum, which can harden and create a bitter taste when combined with boiling water. If you add a splash of cold water first, it will soften the amylum and create a paste-like consistency – then add your hot water. 
"how to make coffee"

Coffee pods

Coffee pod machines are an inexpensive way to enjoy coffee at home without having to commit to a costly and complicated set up. If they’re used right, coffee pods can actually be a cost-effective and delicious at-home coffee alternative. Use these tips for a better brew.

  • Regularly clean your pod machine: A big factor in the taste of your coffee pods is dependent on the cleanliness of the machine. Ideally, you should clean your machine once a week and properly descale it four times a year.
  • Pick the best coffee pods: Just like with instant coffee, the pods you buy can determine just how good of a cup of coffee you’re going to have. Choice ran a coffee pod taste test and crowned Daley St Medium Dark Roast pods the best of the best.
  • Run water before and after putting pods in: It’s best practice to always quickly run your machine before and after you brew your coffee. Essentially this ensures there’s no stale water or coffee residue that can affect the flavour of your coffee.
  • Use two coffee pods: If the taste of your coffee pods just aren’t quite cutting it, try using two coffee pods for a stronger flavour. 
"how to make coffee"

Coffee machine

For the coffee connoisseurs who can’t bear the thought of instant or pod coffee – a proper machine may be the only choice. However, simply having a coffee machine doesn’t necessarily guarantee great coffee (though it certainly helps).

  • Make sure you’re using fresh beans: As soon as coffee beans are roasted, they begin a process of degassing which happens over a period of 3-5 days. After this, a lot of the original flavour of the beans can be lost. For the best tasting coffee, ensure your beans are fresh.
  • Invest in a quality grinder: The way you grind your coffee can severely affect the flavour of your coffee. Depending on how you’re making your coffee, a certain grinder may be required whether it’s a flat burr grinder or a blade grinder.
  • Perfect your tamping: If your coffee isn’t up to your taste standards, try looking into how you’re tamping. Over-tamping can create a bitter cup of coffee whilst under-tamping can result in a watery shot. 
  • Practise milk frothing: It’s important to perfect your milk frothing skills for the best tasting cup of coffee. If you don’t stretch the milk correctly, it can severely affect the flavour of the drink.
"how to make coffee"

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