As a mum to preschool-aged children, my morning routine currently consists of four steps:
- Abruptly wake up to the sound of two children demanding breakfast.
- Trudge downstairs and pour rice bubbles into bowls (unless it’s the husband’s turn, then I gleefully dive back under the covers),
- Pick up previously mentioned rice bubbles off the floor.
- Turn on the coffee machine.
For the rest of the day to go smoothly, step four is key. Our coffee machine was an expensive purchase when we bought it seven years ago, but it has since paid dividends in serving friends, fueling parties, restoring our sanity or providing a cafe experience at home when I’d much rather drink my flat white in trackies while watching the news (ahem…Peppa Pig).
There’s an art to making a decent cup of coffee at home; a lesson I’ve learnt since marrying my husband, a former barista and café manager. If you have a coffee machine, here are five tips to help you get the most out of it.
1. Buy freshly roasted coffee beans
Most of the coffee sitting on our supermarket shelves was roasted months ago. For the freshest beans, buy locally roasted coffee and always ask the roast date, as coffee is at its best between 7 to 28 days after it has been roasted. Ideally, coffee should be bought regularly and in small quantities, so you’ll actually consume the beans while they are still fresh.
2. Invest in a coffee grinder and grind as you go
Coffee beans start going stale the moment you grind them, as the increased surface area exposes the beans to air. Grinding your own coffee beans as you need them rather than grinding a big batch or buying pre-ground coffee beans will make a huge difference to the flavour of your coffee.
3. For white coffee drinkers: it’s about texturing milk, not turning it into a hot, frothy milkshake
When steaming your milk, aim for a silky smooth texture rather than a thick layer of bubbles. To reduce froth, your steam wand should sit slightly below the surface of the milk and send it spinning around the jug like a whirlpool. It should also sound like a steady hiss, not a piercing screech.
4. Make sure your milk isn’t too hot
Growing up on instant coffee means we often expect coffee to be piping hot, like it came straight out of a kettle. White espresso is optimally served at 75 degrees. To make sure your milk isn’t too hot, invest in a jug thermometer. You can buy one from most homeware stores or online.
5. For long black coffee drinkers: pour water first, then espresso
Try filling your coffee cup two-thirds full with near boiling water, then extracting your shot of espresso over the top. This way, your coffee will taste better and look like it belongs in a hipster café.
This article was written by Sophia Russell, a Hills District mum of two, freelance journalist and owner of local coffee roastery Murray Farm Roasters. She frequents way too many parks in her spare time.