But First, Coffee: How To Master The Perfect Cup O’ Joe At Home

If you read Delaney’s post a few weeks ago, you *finally* discovered your coffee order alter-ego [shout-out to all my fellow New Yorkers out there ; )] + were affirmed in the CHAARG belief that coffee is not only a necessity, but a way of life. There’s absolutely no doubt about it — this stuff runs through our veins.

But the sad + scary reality is that indulging in the daily coffee shop trip can definitely break the bank. The average American spends nearly $20 a week on coffee alone [yikes!], totalling to approximately $1,100 a year! ++ let’s not even think about the cute workout clothes or a #CHAARGgetaway that this money could buy us…

So, what’s a CHAARG girl to do? Don’t worry — we’re ready to teach you the ins + outs of mastering the perfect cup o’ joe at home or at the office! Whether you’re a brewing newbie or have been making your own coffee for some time now, check out this overview of #EverythingEspresso.

First thing’s first — the real secret for achieving that *coffee shop taste*? Grinding your own beans! Trust us, it makes all the difference. But that also means you’ll either need to invest in a coffee bean grinder [you can find great, cheap options starting around ~$20 from Target//Amazon  [I personally use + love this one] or purchase your beans from a location that has an in-house grinder [grocery stores like Trader Joes//Whole Foods will have one in the coffee section!]. If you’re really interested in diving deeper into brewing coffee, we recommend investing in your own, because the closer you’re able to grind the beans before brewing, the even better they’ll taste.

++ NOW, ONTO BEANS!

In my opinion, the most important thing to consider when picking your coffee beans is choosing between a *single origin* coffee or *a blend*. True to their name, single origin coffees are made of beans all originating from a single source, sometimes meaning one particular country or even down to a specific farm. Blends, on the other hand, are coffees that are made up of beans from various origins, normally brought together for a smooth, round taste. Purists will swear by the single origin, appreciating the particular bean for its unique taste + flavor, while blend fans seek harmony on their taste buds. Be sure to check out the coffee bag’s label for tasting + strength notes!

++ THE TECHNIQUES!

Drip // The automatic drip coffee maker is the most common method + what you most likely have now at home or the office. But the easiest way to elevate this experience? Using your freshly-ground coffee beans, of course! I’m a firm believer in ditching the pods [they wreak havoc for our environment.] or purchasing a reusable coffee pod, as you explore different types of beans + grind consistencies.

Cold Brew // For all those iced coffee junkies! ; ) To make your own cold brew at home, you’ll just need a large bowl, a strainer, + a coffee filter. You’ll be steeping your freshly ground coffee in cold water for a pretty long time [approx. 12-24 hours], so this is *perfect* to make on a Sunday night for that long week ahead! Check out our own recipe here.

French Press // Named for the device you’ll need, french press is perfect for making a strong cup in a short amount of time. You’ll steep hot water over coarsely ground coffee beans [look for a consistent, medium grind] for about 3-4 minutes, before pressing down the filter.

AeroPress //This may or may not have changed my life. The Aerobie AeroPress uses a *rapid total immersion brewing process* to make the ideal, full-flavored cup. Once you get the hang of it, the AeroPress might be the easiest option for home brewing– ideal for those looking to make just one cup [you can brew regular style coffee or espresso] with quick clean-up.

Pour Over // The minimalistic pour over is another easy-to-master + highly effective brewing technique ++ one of my personal favorites! You’ll need a carafe like this one, filters or a brew basket, + a kettle or pot for hot water. The trick when performing a pour over is allowing the grounds to *bloom* — meaning when you initially pour in hot water [use a gentle first pour!], you allow the coffee grounds to fully saturate. You will actually see the grounds swell + expand//bloom. The brew time is often slower than these other techniques, but of course, well worth the wait!

++ FINALLY, THE FIX-INS!

Last, but not least, don’t forget the final touches on your home-brewed cup of coffee! If you’re not taking it black [it’s okay — it takes time!], try swapping out sugar for stevia + whole milk for non-dairy alternatives like soy, almond, or coconut milk. We’ve even made our own DIY coffee syrups before — check out the recipes here!

You guessed it — it’s your turn! We’re challenging you to replace two weekly Starbucks runs with a DIY routine at home. Don’t forget to share with us on social how you make + take your brew! But first, coffee ; )

+ Jessica [@jessicasmith_inchaarg] // VirtCHAARG NYC

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