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How to Make Your Own Bistro Quality Coffee Blends

Coffee Blends

Making your own bistro-quality coffee blends is entirely achievable. All you need to make your own coffee blends at home is a little knowledge and the right tools. Here’s the science of what makes coffee taste so wonderful and helpful tips for grinding, mixing, and properly storing it for a great cup every time.

Start with Fresh Ground Coffee

The three worst enemies attacking your coffee are moisture, ambient air, and oxidation. The minute ground coffee gets exposed to air, oxidation robs it of the complex compounds and oils that create taste and aroma. That’s why barista coffee tastes better. It gets ground right before brewing to preserve freshness. Grinding your own beans is the first step.

Buy Good Coffee Beans

Most coffees derive from just two kinds of coffee beans–arabica or robusta. Some brands combine the two in different ratios to achieve specific flavors. Arabica beans produce a milder, less bitter coffee with fruity or nutty overtones. Robusta coffee beans produce bitter, more acidic coffee.

Coffee flavor is far from uniform. Arabica beans grown in South and Central America taste different from those grown in Africa or Asia. Select a few varieties to start and try different combinations and different grinds. Experimenting will help you discover the flavors you like best.

Look at these factors when buying coffee beans:

  • Variety–arabica or robusta
  • How do you plan to brew it
  • Where it’s grown
  • How long the beans were roasting
  • Roasting date
  • Airtight packaging

Dark roasts are stronger but have less caffeine content than lighter roasts. A lighter roast lets the natural flavor notes in the coffee shine through. The longer roasting time for darker roasts burns away those smooth, sweeter, fruity notes.

Here are some popular coffee bean options you can grind and mix to get your own perfect blends.

Royal Kona Whole Bean Coffee, 100% Kona, 7-Ounce Bag

  • Kona coffee is very popular for its full-bodied flavor and aroma. Available in dark, medium-dark, and Vienna roasts. Find Kona coffee options online.

2LB Don Pablo Colombian Supremo - Medium-Dark Roast - Whole Bean Coffee - Low Acidity - 2 Pound (2 lb) Bag

Coffee Bros., Light Roast — Whole Bean — 100% Arabica — 1 Bag (12oz) — Ethiopia & Colombia — Gourmet & Specialty

  • Coffee Brothers beans are available on Amazon and in many local specialty coffee suppliers. This brand is available in a range of options, including medium roast, dark roast, light roast, and espresso.

1850 by Folgers Coffee, Pioneer Blend, Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee, 12 s, 6 Count Pioneer Blend - Medium Roast ,72 Ounce

  • Folgers1850 whole bean coffee is quickly gaining in popularity. Find dark and medium roast options affordably priced online.

 

Get a Grinder

 

After choosing the beans you like, it’s time to grind and brew. Here are some things you need and need to know about grinding coffee. The first step is to get a decent grinder. Both blade grinders and burr grinders are popular and available at reasonable price points. You’ll want to buy a grinder that works well for coarse, medium and fine ground coffees.

Coarse grinds are best for French press and percolator coffee. Medium grinds work for drip coffee makers and vacuum siphon coffee brewers. Fine grinds are excellent for espresso and also work well in drip coffee makers.

Creating your own coffee blends

Mixing two or more types of coffee beans isn’t difficult. Think about the coffee you’ve enjoyed most at your local coffee bar or cafe. What blend of beans and grinds will create that flavor? Understanding what you, and the people you love, enjoy most is the right place to begin your experimenting. Here are some popular blend recipes and some special ideas for holidays and celebrations.

Mocha Coffee

Cafe Mocha–a perfect marriage of life’s best guilty pleasures, coffee, and chocolate. This one is much more than adding chocolate to drip coffee. The best mocha is made with finely ground espresso coffee, but if you don’t want to buy an espresso machine, here’s how to make the next best thing: coarsely grind quality dark roast beans for percolator brewers. This will make dark near-espresso-strength coffee that enhances the cocoa for a great tasting cafe mocha. Scroll down to the bottom of the article to see how to make a delicious White Cafe Mocha with Homemade Whipped Cream.

Black and Tan

Black and tan are one of the most popular coffee blends, with a blend of dark roast’s strong earthy flavors and the subtler and less acidic flavor of medium roast beans. Most often this blend uses South American arabica beans, but you can try beans from different regions in small quantities to find the taste you prefer.

Blending Flavors

Creating your own coffee blends means addressing flavor profile characteristics. Every blend combines a base flavor, mid-range flavor notes, and high flavor notes. The base notes are sweeter, nutty, or caramel flavor overtones. The mid-palate flavor is what you taste with your first sip, and should come from a single grind variety you really like. Floral aromas and high flavor notes come from more acidic, lighter roasts. Find the midrange beans you like and experiment with adding different roasts and varieties. It’s a good idea to track the blend ratios and your results so you can make the blends you love again.

Making Flavored Coffee Blends

Everyone thinks of flavored coffee during the holidays, but what about the rest of the year? Don’t wait for Christmas. It’s easy to make your own tasty flavored coffees for any occasion. They also are the perfect homemade gift for friends and coffee-loving relatives. Here are some tips for making great flavored coffee blends.

Vanilla Bean Coffee

Vanilla is a delicious way to give fresh ground coffee a flavor boost. The simplest way to get a strong vanilla flavor is by adding vanilla beans, pods, or real vanilla extract directly to the beans and store in an airtight container. Then, as always, just grind the amount you need. The flavor permeates the beans and should stay good so long as you store them properly.

Chocolate Coffee

Cocoa nibs, dried and fermented cocoa bean bits are good in a surprising number of ways to add antioxidants and a subtle mocha flavor to foods. For coffee, just add a couple of teaspoons of cocoa nibs to each cup of coffee beans you grind and then brew. Try adding a couple of drops of peppermint oil extract to the cocoa coffee after brewing. It’s a great, delicious peppermint mocha without all the sugar found in flavored holiday creamers.

Cinnamon Coffee 

Cinnamon is a wonderful way to add festive flavors to the coffee. Loaded with antioxidants and flavor, adding it is easy. There are two methods. Flavor the beans directly by adding a couple of cinnamon sticks to coffee beans in an airtight container. The cinnamon will infuse the beans with its flavor. The second method is even easier: put cinnamon sticks in your pot while the coffee brews. The hot coffee absorbs the flavor as the sweet cinnamon aroma fills the room. Check out the Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee recipe below.

Now you know that great coffee at home is possible, it’s time to get creative. Mix and match the roasts, grinds, and flavors you like to make your own coffee blends right at home. Your friends may wonder if you hired a private barista next time they taste your coffee.

Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee Recipe

Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee

Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee

Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee

Prep Time 11 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. real maple syrup
  • 3 T. cinnamon
  • 1 T. ground ginger
  • 1 T. ground nutmeg
  • 2 t. ground allspice
  • 2 t. ground cloves
  • 1 T. pumpkin pie spice
  • 16 oz. freshly brewed hot coffee
  • 8 oz. Irish Crème
  • additional pumpkin pie spice for garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, blend 1 pint of heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer or immersion blender until it doubles in size and changes texture. Then, drizzle maple syrup into the bowl and continue blending until the mixture is light and fluffy. Set aside.
  • Combine the pumpkin pie spice ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Before brewing, sprinkle fresh coffee grounds with one tablespoon pumpkin pie spice and gently shake to evenly combine the mixture. Brew spiced coffee grounds as usual.
  • Pour 2 oz. Irish Cream into each cup and top with 4 oz. of freshly brewed coffee. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice before serving. Enjoy!

White Cafe Mocha Recipe

White Cafe Mocha

White Cafe Mocha

White Café Mocha with Homemade Whipped Cream

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ c. heavy whipping cream
  • 3 T. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. real vanilla extract
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • ½ c. Ghirardelli white chocolate baking chips
  • ½ T. coconut oil
  • 2 c. freshly brewed strong black coffee
  • Optional: Sprinkles for garnish

Instructions
 

  • To prepare the whipped cream, pour the heavy whipping cream into a large bowl and mix until it becomes partially solid. Add the vanilla extract, and then the powdered sugar, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Pour the milk into a saucepan set over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring continually to prevent scorching, until heated through, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Pour white chocolate chips into a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat in 20 second intervals, stirring between each one, until melted. Add the coconut oil and stir to combine.
  • Transfer the warm milk into the bowl with the white chocolate sauce and stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Pour the hot coffee into 16-oz. mugs and top each one off with the white chocolate milk mixture.
  • Remove the whipped cream from the refrigerator and add a big dollop to each mug or spoon into an icing bag fitted with a decorative tip to create an attractive swirl. Add sprinkles, if using, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

Tip: The addition of a little fat, such as melted butter or coconut oil, to the melted chocolate chips helps prevent clumping if the chocolate cools.

How to Roast Your Own Coffee Beans at Home

How to roast your own coffee beans

If you have decided to make the most of your morning coffee, you will need to get raw beans and know how to roast coffee beans. Today, we will help you do just that in six easy steps. Let’s begin.

Step 1: Buy Green Beans

If you want to know how to roast coffee beans, you must start by purchasing raw green beans. These are basically seeds, and yes, they are green in color because they are a lot lighter before they are roasted to the brown color we know all too well.

The key to this operation is to be consistent with the beans’ size and color, which makes roasting easy, and the flavor remains consistent. The raw beans are also a lot smaller before they are roasted.

If you are buying them online, remember that the size increases when the beans are roasted. So, buy accordingly, or you will end up with double the amount you wanted.

 

Step 2: Figure Out the Tools

Commercial coffee establishments use giant roasters to get the job done. But you can do the same at home for your much smaller quantity with equipment that is easily found in your kitchen.

To roast the beans, you can use a popcorn popper because the goal is to confine the beans and roast them to about 450 degrees. That’s precisely what a popcorn popper does. You can also use a whirley-pop or a cast-iron skillet.

And while you’re at it, get a couple of bowls made of metal, a pair of oven mitts, and a spoon to stir your coffee beans while they are still in the popcorn popper.

 

Step 3: Roast the Beans

Coffee Scoop

There are three ways to do this.

Using a Pan

You need quite a bit of ventilation, so using a pan works well. But you also need to open any windows in the kitchen and switch on your exhaust fan.

If you can do this outside, that would be best. But if not, use a thick pan.

  1. Place the pan on medium heat.
  2. You must figure out how to get the temperature to about 450 degrees and this can be tricky.
  3. Add a single layer of beans to the pan to make sure you can stir them quickly.
  4. Stir the beans constantly so that they are uniformly heated.
  5. Wait for 4-5 minutes to hear the first crack when the beans are lightly roasted.
  6. After 6-7 minutes, you will listen to the second crack, which means they are at a medium roast.
  7. Wait for 30 more seconds and remove the beans from the pan and shift them into a colander.
  8. Stir the beans once and shake them.

 

Using a Popcorn Maker

Even for this, you will need to ventilate the kitchen.

  1. Preheat the popcorn maker for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add half a cup of beans to the machine and make sure they can rotate. Adding the recommended amount of corn kernels for the popcorn maker model is a good way to go about this.
  3. Using a spoon or spatula, move the beans to help them rotate.
  4. Cover it with a lid once there is consistent movement.
  5. Keep an eye on it to make sure it is not too much.
  6. You will hear the first crack after 3-5 minutes. The beans are now lightly roasted.
  7. You will hear the second crack at 6-8 minutes, which means they are medium roasted.
  8. Keep the beans roasting for about 60 seconds, and then remove them.

Collect the roasted beans in a bowl or a colander to let them cool.

 

Using an Oven

This is also just as easy if not more. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Open some doors to make sure the smoke doesn’t crowd the kitchen when you take the beans out.
  3. Spread the coffee beans on a tray to make sure it’s a single layer. Use a perforated tray if you have one but make sure the beans don’t slip.
  4. Put the tray on the middle shelf for consistency in terms of temperature.
  5. You will hear the first crack in 5-7 minutes.
  6. Wait and listen for the second crack before you time them for another 60 seconds.
  7. Take them out with oven mitts and let them cool.

 

Step 4: Check for the Lightness/Darkness

If you like your coffee strong, you might want to stop right after the first crack when the coffee is lightly roasted. If you are aiming for a French or Viennese roast, you might want to wait for the second crack. You don’t want to roast the beans too dark because, at that point, they will be burnt and turned to charcoal.

 

Step 5: Let Them Chill

Regardless of the process, always make sure you wear oven mitts to remove the beans after the roasting because they will be incredibly hot. Once you are done with the roasting, you must leave them to cool down for about 12 hours; this is when the beans will degass, meaning they will release carbon dioxide.

You can leave them in the filter, a baking/cookie sheet for this step. You can also air them using multiple metal strainers. But be careful because they will be very hot.

 

Step 6: Store the Beans

Now, this step is crucial. When you buy raw beans that are yet to be roasted, you will notice that they come in a bag that has a valve. This allows the beans to let out carbon dioxide without allowing oxygen into the bag. It keeps the beans fresh for a longer period.

Once you have roasted and cooled the beans, make sure you store them in an airtight container. It must be in a dark or opaque container so that the flavor does not get lost. It must also be in a cool place but not in the refrigerator.

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