Whether it’s finished in moments as you rush out the door or savoured with friends on a Sunday morning, coffee is a huge part of day-to-day life in Australia. More of us drank it than tea in 2014, according to official stats, which is no surprise really - we do coffee really well here!
But, getting a dreamy cup doesn't have to mean scouting out the nearest cafe (and navigating that queue coming out the door). Over to Garth Lawrence from Toby's Estate Coffee Roasters, a trained barista, to share his insider secrets for making a top-notch coffee in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Buy fresh beans
Get the freshest coffee by buying directly from a roaster and looking for a roast date on the pack. Steer clear of product with use-by and best-before dates. Why? These can be up to two years from the roast date, so you don’t know how fresh the coffee is. Roasters also tend to put tasting notes on the bag to give you an idea of flavour.
Beans between five and seven days old are good to go – anything before that and the coffee is actually too fresh! It needs a chance to settle and age. Store beans in an airtight container once you’ve opened the bag, and only grind what you need as you go. Try to finish them off within 21 days.
Take care of tools
No matter if you’re using espresso or filter methods, clean equipment always wins out. Clean group handles, steam wands, milk jugs and filter baskets before and after every use.
Watch your H20
If you don't have a water filter attached to your espresso machine, try using bottled spring water. Water at around 93 degrees Celsius is optimal for espresso. Any hotter? It can burn the coffee and extract bitter flavours. Not nice!
Be milk ready
Once you've put your shot of coffee on, start your milk so they’ll be ready at the same time. Steam and texture milk to only 65 degrees Celsius (this will bring out the best in it as well as the coffee). Think ‘texture’ rather than ‘frothing’ it – silky-smooth is your aim with minimal bubbles.
Finally, as you pour, try to make sure the coffee remains towards the outside of the cup so those first sips are of that and not milk. And there you have it - your perfect boost. Happy drinking!