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How to make the Perfect Filter Coffee at Home?

Discover the secrets to Brewing Darshini style Filter Coffee at Home

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10 Oct '23
8 min read


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Sometimes when we visit restaurants or coffee shops and enjoy a cup of coffee, we might wonder why the coffee we make at home doesn't taste half as good as the one we just had. Do these establishments use special coffee powder that makes their coffee taste great? You might even inquire about the brand of coffee powder they use, hoping to replicate the same taste at home. Some coffee shops even sell their coffee powder at a premium. You buy the same coffee powder, try it at home, and end up disappointed. You can't help but wonder where you are going wrong. Is there a secret recipe that these people are not revealing? The quest for the perfect coffee at home continues.

What you don’t realize is that making perfect coffee goes beyond the coffee powder. There are a whole lot of other factors that contribute to good coffee.

Now, if you are wondering what qualifies me to write about making that perfect filter coffee at home, let me clarify upfront: I don’t have any professional qualifications or experience working as a barista, if that's what you are looking for. However, I do know a thing or two about making good coffee at home. I love my coffee so much that I have invested time and money experimenting with different coffee machines and powders, trying out coffee at various places, and talking to the people behind the counter who make coffee and use different methods. Moreover, whenever I make coffee at home for myself, even my wife and our nanny, who don’t usually have coffee (they are tea people), ask me to make coffee for them because I make good coffee. Most people who visit our home have loved our coffee and have often ended up asking how we made it, what coffee powder we use, etc. So, I would say this experience qualifies me to write this piece.

Let's define what you would call a perfect filter coffee. Filter coffee is usually had with milk, unlike black coffee. It has to be a little bit frothy, not too much, slightly creamy, not overloaded with milk or water, just the right amount of sugar (optional). When you have it, you should experience a slight bitterness in the coffee. It shouldn't be too hot or too cold; you should be sure you are having a hot coffee, not a cold one. A good coffee can significantly uplift your mood. With every sip, you feel happy and content, forgetting about the burning issues at work, the arguments you had with your wife or girlfriend, or any other worldly problems. It's all about you and your coffee in that moment. That is what you would call a perfect coffee.

Anyway, to make the perfect filter coffee, you need coffee powder, milk, water, sugar (optional), and a coffee maker. I know you are also using the same 4/5 ingredients to make coffee at home, yet your coffee is not half as good as the coffee you had at MTR or Maiyas or any other good coffee shop. As I said above, a perfect coffee is not just about the powder or milk or coffee maker; it is about the perfect mix of all.

Read on to see how each ingredient and the process of making coffee can make a difference in elevating your ordinary coffee to a perfect one.

  1. Coffee Powder: You can use any good filter coffee powder, preferably one that has a mix of Arabica and Robusta. Alternatively, you can buy coffee beans from a local shop or online and grind them fresh using a coffee grinder (Avoid using a mixer or spice grinder; use a dedicated coffee grinder) for an even better taste. That's what I do most of the time. Rarely do I use coffee powder. I grind the coffee beans to make fresh coffee powder for use. You don't need to buy a fancy coffee grinder; a simple one that works will do. You can choose between a manual grinder or an electric one. I prefer electric as it makes my job easier, and the taste difference between manual and electric is not that significant. Also, I couldn't find a good manual hand grinder that was affordable. The good ones were too expensive. I use the one from SToK brand, which was previously available on Amazon and is not available anymore. You could buy any other coffee grinder with a good rating in your price range if you are interested. 

    I also add a bit of chicory along with the coffee powder for a better taste. Most coffee shops, restaurants, and Darshinis' use chicory along with coffee powder. They use anywhere between 10% to 50% chicory. For home and regular consumption, I suggest using between 10-20% chicory for a good taste. Those having gastric/acidity issues and are worried that coffee will worsen their symptoms can opt for 100% pure coffee without chicory. Excessive chicory consumption is not good for health. 

     


     
  2. Milk: Opt for whole cow milk with 100% fat for a rich taste. Avoid skimmed or watery milk for the best results.
  3. Sugar (Optional): Use brown or white sugar in moderation. For a healthier option, you can skip sugar altogether.
  4. Water: Filtered water is ideal; you only need a small amount for making the coffee decoction.
  5. Coffee Decoction Maker or Coffee Maker: A coffee maker plays a key role alongside coffee powder in creating great coffee. The rich and smooth taste of coffee comes from the coffee oils that separate from the coffee powder when hot water is mixed with it. It is essential to retain most of these oils for the best taste. Therefore, the type of coffee maker you use becomes very important. 

    After experimenting with several coffee machines, I have found that for the best coffee, Percolator and French Press work exceptionally well. Percolators are widely available at utensil shops, shopping marts, and online platforms like Amazon or Flipkart. I recommend choosing a stainless-steel percolator over Indalium or Aluminium. Although stainless steel ones might be slightly more expensive, they last much longer (several years) and are better for your health compared to Aluminium and Indalium options. 

    Percolators come in various sizes, ranging from 2-3 cups of coffee up to 6-8 cups. Select one based on your household's coffee consumption needs.

    Alternatively, French Presses are excellent choices and are readily available online. They also come in various sizes to suit different coffee consumption needs. I recommend a glass French Press with a stainless-steel filter for easy cleaning and maintenance. 

    You can use either a Percolator or a French Press based on your preference; both works equally well. In my home, we use both, depending on the number of people we are making coffee for. We have a small French Press ideal for making coffee for 1-3 people and a larger Percolator suitable for making coffee for 6-8 people. 



     

Steps to Make Perfect Filter Coffee

  1. Begin by coarsely grinding the coffee beans if you are using whole beans. After grinding, add 10-20% chicory (optional) to the ground coffee powder. Alternatively, you can use store-bought coffee powder as well. However, make sure to request them to grind and pack it fresh for you. Blue Tokai sends freshly ground coffee powder to your doorstep when you order online on their website.
  2. To prepare the coffee decoction, if you're using a percolator, place it on the stove. Fill it with water just below the valve, and add coffee powder to the powder compartment until it's full. Boil it over medium flame until the water in the lower compartment seeps through the coffee powder and settles in the top compartment as coffee decoction. You can turn off the stove once all the water has been converted to coffee decoction. 
    OR 
    If you are using a French press, boil water in a kettle or vessel. Add coffee powder to the French press until the stainless-steel filter barely touches the coffee powder. Do not compress the coffee powder; simply fill it to the level of the filter. Before adding the coffee powder, remove the filter. Now, pour boiling water into the French press with the coffee powder. Add coffee powder and water according to the number of cups of coffee you are preparing.
  3. Boil whole milk separately. While the milk is boiling, add sugar as required directly to the milk. Once the milk has completely boiled, turn off the stove. Avoid using an induction stove or microwave as they can alter the taste of the milk. Boiling it over a traditional stove is best for taste.
  4. Now, add the hot coffee decoction as needed to your hot milk and mix well by pouring it from one vessel to another. Ensure you pour from the top, leaving enough space for air to mix with your coffee, as thorough mixing produces a frothing effect. Avoid adding any water; add hot water only if you feel the coffee is too milky. At times, I also add a small pinch of instant coffee powder while mixing for that extra kick in coffee.
  5. Finally, pour the coffee into your favourite glass and savour your perfect filter coffee sip by sip, leaving behind all your worries and problems.

If you were able to successfully make your perfect filter coffee at home by following my tips, please leave your comments sharing what made the difference and how much you enjoyed your coffee. Feel free to share this article with your friends and family so they can also relish that perfect filter coffee at home.

Category : Food and Cooking


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Written by Prasad B Y

Foodie, Coffee Lover & Techie