Stuck at home without a fancy espresso machine?
Step away from the jar of instant and let me show you these 4 cheap & easy ways to make real coffee at home.
First things first, you’re going to need some fresh coffee. Order some online or pick up a bag from your local café – trust me, they’ll appreciate the support right now.
Now if you don’t have a grinder (mental note, buy one later), then don’t forget to ask for it ground.
Coffee Plunger (French Press)
Sometimes called a French Press or Cafetière in distant parts of the world, this simple device is gathering dust in the back of many an Australian pantry.
On the off chance that you need to buy one, you can pick up a quality brand like Bodum from around $20 through department stores or online.
The brewing process is simple:
- remove the plunger
- add coarsely ground coffee
- add water that is just off the boil (around 93C for those with a digital thermometer handy) and give it a quick stir
- allow to brew for 4 minutes before plunging and serving.
The ratio of coffee to water is important to get a good extraction of flavour. As a general rule, use 60g of coffee per litre of water. So, for a small plunger that holds 320ml of water, use 19g of coffee (around ½ cup).
Created by the inventor of the Aerobie frisbee, this giant syringe has become iconic among baristas for the quality of coffee it produces & how easy it is to clean.
Many baristas, myself included, use a slightly different method to the official instructions included with the device:
- Insert the paper filter to the base and rinse.
- Place the brew on a sturdy mug and add 14g of medium ground coffee
- Add 220ml of water just off the boil and stir
- After 1 minute, push the plunger down. Be patient, this can take 30 seconds or so.
The Aeropress can be found for around $35 at a variety of online retailers & coffee roasters.
Clever Coffee Dripper
The design of the Clever Coffee Brewer looks like any other pour over coffee brewer, but it’s got one key difference.
The valve at the bottom that means it holds the water with the grounds until you pop it on a cup. This means that you don’t need a fancy gooseneck kettle to delicately pour the water over the grounds, like with other pour over coffee brewers
Put simply, if you like the clean, delicate flavour of batch brew filter coffee at your local café, then this is a simple way of reproducing that at home.
Here’s how it works:
- Pop in a paper filter, rinse and drain
- Add 18 grams of medium ground coffee
- Pour in 300ml of not quite boiling water and gently stir
- Allow to brew for 3 minutes
- Place it on a mug or decanter to drain
The Clever Coffee Dripper should cost you around $35 a variety of online retailers & coffee roasters.
Also called a Moka Pot or a Bialetti after the popular brand, this brewer is a staple in Italian home kitchens.
The flavour of the coffee it produces is the complete opposite of the clever coffee dripper. Defined by a thick, heavy body & low acidity it has quite an old-fashioned taste compared to the espresso found in most Australian cafes. It’s still tasty, but in a completely different way.
In terms of brewing, I use hot water to speed up the process and minimise the contact time with the coffee. This can help minimise the bitterness than can often be a problem with stovetop espresso brewing:
- Pour boiling water into the base of the brewer up to the brass valve
- Insert the coffee filter and fill with medium fine ground coffee.
- Holding the bottom section with a tea towel (be careful, it’s hot), screw the top part on.
- Heat on the stove using a medium heat
- As the coffee pours through you will start to hear the air escaping. Shut off the heat and serve.
You can pick up a stovetop espresso maker for around $30.
Low tech flat white?
If you love the creamy texture of a flat white or latte, here’s a simple way to recreate it without an espresso machine:
- Grab a clean, glass coffee plunger
- Remove the plunger and add 200ml of cold milk
- Heat (without the metal plunger) in the microwave for a minute and a half.
- Remove from the microwave, add the plunger and plunge up and down quickly for around 20 seconds to create a dense milk foam.
- Remove the plunger, swirl the creamy milk and pour into the coffee