If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: Making your morning coffee at home can save you legitimate dollars. Maybe you’ve even seen the change first-hand if you’ve been brewing your own caffeinated drinks while quarantined at home these last few months. Why not keep up the habit, even as places start to reopen? Your new routine can include homemade coffee that’s no trouble at all, and even rivals the stuff that used to cost you an arm and a leg.
Here are our best tips on how to make good coffee at home — yes, even when your morning is incredibly hectic and you have roughly 1,386 things to do before you head out the door.
Store Your Beans or Grounds Properly
Good coffee starts with good beans—that goes for coffee grounds too—but that’s only half the battle. You have to store them the right way to keep the coffee flavor intact. Light, moisture and temperature changes are coffee’s biggest enemies, so it’s best to store beans or grounds in an airtight container with UV-blocking technology.
Your barista likely grinds the beans either every morning or on demand, as drink orders come in. This extra step means optimal freshness and a nice, even grind that results in a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. If you’re willing to take the extra step of grinding your own coffee beans at home, the Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is easy to use and has 15 different settings.
Load the Coffeemaker Before Bed
Trying to count the number of scoops you’re doling out while you’re still bleary-eyed is asking for trouble. Instead, load the coffee grinds and water into your drip coffee maker at night before you go to bed. (The general grounds-to-water formula, known as the Golden Ratio, is one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water.) The 9-cup coffee maker simplifies the process: You just need one scoop of grounds for every cup of water, and there’s even a timer you can set the night before so the brewing process starts just as you’re waking up.
If you’re, say, more of a French press person, you can set aside the pre-measured grounds before going to bed (keep them in a mini airtight container). The point is to do as much you can in advance, to save yourself a bunch of steps in the morning.
Keep All Your Coffee Gear in One Spot
Consider setting up a dedicated coffee station in your kitchen. All you need is a section on your counter or even a bar cart that’s set up with every piece of equipment that goes into making your coffee. The station will be home to your coffee maker, most-used mugs, sugar, spoons, reusable straws and anything else you need to make and serve your cups exactly the way you like them. Not only is a coffee station appealing to look at, but it will also save you unnecessary trips back and forth across your kitchen. A coffee bar is also a fun place for people to gather in your home.
Get a Coffee Mug You Love
Fact: You’re going to be more likely to make your own coffee if you have a great mug on hand to pour it into. Whether it’s a sweet, handmade piece of pottery that’s Insta-worthy or a super durable travel mug you can depend on, make sure you’ve always got it clean and ready to go. Bonus: An eco-friendly reusable cup sure beats wasting a paper or plastic single-use cup every day.
Make Simple Syrup Over the Weekend
Simple syrup really lives up to its name, and yet it can do a lot to elevate a hot or cold cup of coffee. You’ll just need equal parts water and sugar—for instance, one cup of water and one cup of sugar. See? Simple. Heat the water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (do not let it come to a boil). Then, just add the sugar and stir until it’s dissolved. The syrup will stay good in the fridge for up to three weeks. You can also try variations like date syrup or honey syrup, two natural sweeteners that will make your morning cup extra-special.
Try a Cold Brew Concentrate
There’s no doubt about it: Cold brew concentrate is a game-changer. All you do is make a big batch at once (up to a week’s worth) in a Cold Brew Coffee Maker, then store it in the fridge. Each morning, you can use the concentrate to make a hot or cold drink. Add cream, sugar, simple syrup or whatever you like, and you’ve got a delicious, barista-worthy start to your day.