How to make the perfect coffee

Dale Harris from De’Longi explains how to make the perfect cup of coffee at home.

How to make the perfect coffee


We could all make our morning cup of coffee at home, and if the coffee we made at home was as good as the stuff they make in coffee shops, we would. Sadly, the truth of the matter is that no instant coffee ever tastes as good as the cup you get from the coffee shop. If you want an indulgent cup of coffee at home, getting to grips with your very own espresso machine is the way to do it.

Dale Harris from coffee experts De’Longhi, talks iLoveMyGrub through how to make the perfect cup of coffee at home.

**The beans**

  • The best kind of coffee is always fresh coffee. For the best results, try to use freshly roasted and freshly ground beans.
  • To make sure your coffee is fresh, try to find a supply of coffee beans which shows the date it was roasted on, and only buy as much as you need for a week. This will always improve the flavours in your cup. Once opened, you ideally want to use your coffee up within one week.
  • Espressos are often blends of different, complementary beans. Italian blends with a high arabica content will often be lighter and sweeter. To try something a little different, go for a single origin coffee. Coffee from the Sumatra will give you a dark, earthy taste or choose a Brazilian bean for a more sweet and balanced flavour.

The milk**

  • As with the beans, it is important to use fresh milk. It's important to use cold milk too - the colder your milk is, the longer you have to texture it whilst you’re heating it up for your cappuccino.
  • Great cappuccinos have a soft, shiny, silky foam made of bubbles that are so small you can't see them (not a layer of bubbles like the head on a beer). If you can't see them, your tongue won't feel them and the drink will feel richer and more satisfying in your mouth.
  • From full fat to skimmed milk, the taste will differ (the fat content changes the way your tongue experiences flavours) but they'll steam in the same way. As long as you're gentle you can make perfect micro-foam with either milk.

**Latté art:**

Latte art is all in how you texture your milk. Milk that has a great texture will eventually pour latte art on its own. Here’s a step-by-step approach to creating the perfect milk for your latté art: 

  • Start by having the tip of your steam arm just under the surface of the milk.
  • As you turn on the power, lower the jug so that the tip approaches the surface.
  • As you begin to add air, a gentle noise will stat to sound. Keep it gentle - if it sounds like it’s making bubbles you've gone too far!
  • When you have created enough foam for your drink, raise the jug so the steam arm is further into the milk; the milk should spin in a whirlpool like motion.  This breaks down any bubbles and brings you closer to that micro-foam texture
  • Steam until the milk reaches around 65 degrees, when it feels hot to the touch. Be careful not to burn your hand!
  • The closer you pour your milk onto the coffee, the whiter the result will be. To achieve a clean white Cappuccino, tilt your cup so you can almost touch the coffee with the spout of your jug, and pour quickly.
  • To pour a heart, start by pouring from a few inches higher, straight into the middle of the cup, the milk should turn brown as it hits the coffee.  Once the cup is about ¾ full, move closer to the surface, again almost touching, and speed up your pour; this will make a large round shape.  As you almost fill the cup, run the last bit of milk through the centre of the pattern, pushing it away from you. This drags the centre and pulls your shape into a heart.
  • A wiggle as you pour the body of your heart can create gentle layers, like onion skins. With practice, wiggling and moving backwards will create a wavy shape that when you pour through it, forms a rosette.

So there you have it: how to make the perfect cup of coffee at home!