Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to make a perfect coffee at home

This article is for coffee enthusiasts only, and as an Italian I’m at the top of the line! The first thing appliance I learned to use in a kitchen was the Moka machine, typical italian device for making coffee. This one in the picture is exactly the same one I still use every morning for my coffee dose. The Moka is made of three parts: in the bottom you fill it up with water, then it has a filter that has to be filled up with coffee powder (fine grind) and the top part is where the coffee comes out from. The mistake that everybody has made at least once in their lives... forgetting the water in the bottom part...! If you do so you can witness a pretty cool scientific experiment on how if you over heat metal you start loosing all the plastic parts of the machines... not fun, the smell is dreadful, do not try at home! 

My grandmother says “IIlly s the best coffee there is!” (E’ il piu’ buono che c’e’!), as she packs a few cans in my suitcases for me to take back to Philadelphia. She prefers to grind it herself, every time she wants a cup and she’s not wrong about that. 
Since we’re talking about making caffe’ at home (we’re gonna ignore professional espresso machines for the moment) we can control two steps of the process: the water and... well... the coffee, so let’s try to get those things right. 
We covered coffee quality by trusting my grandma and saying that Illy is the best. Feel free to experiment and try out different roasts and blends though. 
When you buy coffee that is already ground up is more convenient, yes, but it looses the fragrance and the freshness as soon as you open the can. 
Why? Because powders have more surface space, so it will loose the aroma faster. And because coffee powder is affected by the humidity in the air. If you grind it little by little, every day you'll have the coffee that is right for that particular humidity and it will taste as if it was freshly ground because... well, because it is..! 
So Illy, not ground. Buy a small grinder. They’re cheap. 
Grind enough to make your morning machine. Most grinders have 3 settings (fine, medium, corse) so you can use it for espresso or moka, french press, and american dirty water (that’s how italians call american coffee... eheheh...). 

Now let’s talk about water. Most italians will use mineral water to make their coffee, no tap water. It has less minerals. I have a water filter and I make my coffee with that. 

Pretty simple right? So let’s summarize:

1. Buy a good roast, not ground.

2. Grind just enough coffee for the machine you will be using. 

3. Use mineral water

I promise you, you will taste the difference. 

Buon caffe’ a tutti! 


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