How to make barista grade coffee at home

(Image courtesy of Claudia Sofia)

There’s nothing I relish more than the glorious cup of full-bodied coffee I am blessed with whenever I make Garage Café or Café Eleto my study spot of the day. A good cup of coffee is an art, and like good art, it comes at a high price– at least by student standards. I can only justify treating myself to a cup of barista-prepared coffee once or twice a week. The rest of the week, I must get my coffee-fix at home.

Now, with a lockdown in place, most of us are stuck with homemade watery beverages, but homemade doesn’t need to be the-next-best-thing; it can come pretty damn near to coffeeshop perfection. We need to look after ourselves in lockdown, and although coffee isn’t the healthiest thing, it is a student essential. So why not treat yourself to the best?

I think I can safely say I have pretty much perfected the art of homemade coffee. I surprised myself with just how good it turned out; and the best part, it’s vegan!

It’s actually really simple and easy to make. It doesn’t take great prowess, just a bit more time and effort than it usually takes to make instant coffee. Yes, it costs a bit more than instant coffee, but significantly less than getting Starbucks every day.

Equipment:

You’ll need a bit of equipment, so bear with me. First, you’ll need to get yourself a cafetière (a French Press) they’re actually surprisingly cheap to buy from Wilko or online. You will also need an electric milk frother, which you can also get for a pretty affordable price online. The basics: a kettle, two mugs, a microwave and a spoon.

Even if you don’t want to follow all the steps, this method can still help you step up your barista game.

(Image courtesy of Claudia Sofia)

Ingredients:

Dark roast ground coffee

Ground coffee is the type that comes in a bag and you can smell it if you squish the packet. My housemate gave me a packet of ‘Taylors Hot Lava Java’ and the full-bodied, strong flavour emulates freshly-ground coffee perfectly. Ground coffee is pricier than instant coffee, costing around £4 per packet, but one packet will last you three weeks, yielding many yummy coffees. (You can also use instant coffee, if that’s all you have; ASDA‘Extra Special Italian Style Instant Coffee’ in Strength 4 is my favourite.)

Oat milk Barista edition

If you drink dairy, semi-skimmed is frothy enough, but let me put you onto oat milk: it’s perfect in coffee. You can use either ‘Moma Oat Barista Edition’ or ‘Oatly Barista’. A 1L carton costs around £1.80 (but they’re often on a deal in Sainsburys!). The ‘barista’ part is key, as normal alternative milk is harder to froth up and it won’t make for a creamy, velvety coffee.

Optional cocoa powder to top

If you have Nesquik cocoa powder or any other hot cocoa powder in the cupboard, sprinkle that over the foamy top.

Preparation:

  1. Boil enough water for one cup of coffee. Add one scoop (15g) of ground coffee to the bottom of your cafetière, fill with boiling water, but slightly less than you would for a normal coffee. You want the coffee part to be strong, not bland and watery. Like an espresso shot. Stir it. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

  2. Grab a mug and fill a third of it with your barista oat milk. If you don’t want to buy a frother, just make sure to really shake the carton before you pour your milk into the cup. If you have a frother, just turn it out and whisk it around until it becomes foamy and more voluminous. Heat the frothy milk in the microwave for 20 seconds, the froth will rise even more in there.

  3. Once you have let the coffee sit for 5 minutes, plunge and fill a third of the mug with the fresh coffee. Use a spoon to put the frothy milk on top of the coffee, or you can just pour it into the cup. (If you want to be thorough, only pour the foamy part and froth up the remaining unfrothed milk before you pour it in.)

  4. Sprinkle some cocoa powder over the top and you’re done!

There’s a ritualistic quality to taking your time to make yourself a proper cup of coffee; it offers a few moments of calmness and serenity that can centre you before you delve into whatever task you need a caffeine kick to get done.