How to Be a Better Barista at Home: What Makes a Good Barista?

Today we are reviewing what makes a good barista. If you love coffee and want to know what it takes to make even better coffee at home, this article will be a great help!

A good barista, whether at the café or at home, knows a few tricks to produce consistently excellent coffee. 

The first thing the barista is interested in is the quality of coffee beans. The barista may or may not know about roasting coffee, but they what a good roast tastes like. They can distinguish between light, medium, and dark roasts, and can probably note significant differences between beans of different origins. 

This is the easy part if you buy Coffeyville Coffee. Our roasts are the American craft standard, so you know your coffee beans come perfectly roasted.

The next thing a barista is interested in is water quality and temperature. Filtered water is best. There are more advanced water filter metrics you can explore, but for most people at home, using filtered water is convenient and important.

The most recommended temperature for coffee extraction is 205°F. Many people use water that is just off-boil, and that works too. It is often recommended that you use slightly hotter water (~210°) for light roasts, slightly cooler (205°) for darker roasts.

You would not want to use actively boiling water, or water below 205°F. If the water is too cool, you will underextract the coffee. If it is boiling hot, you will basically over cook the coffee grounds.

The third thing a barista is interested in is the brewing and extraction. This depends on the brewing method, but there are things a barista pays attention to and notes with any extraction.

You want to taste excellent, fully extracted coffee. Over-extracted coffee is heavy, slightly burnt tasting, and unidimensional. This is caused by the extraction taking too long. You can make adjustments to increase brewing time based on the brewing method. For instance, if you are doing a pourover, you can speed up the pour-over by grinding a little coarser or using a thinner filter paper.

Underextracted coffee tastes weak, sharp, light, and overly-acidic. Usually, this means there wasn't enough time for the coffee to be extracted from the grounds. You want to slow down the brewing, and this is done in a variety of ways. If using an espresso machine, you can grind finer. If you are using a French press, you can steep the coffee for 30s-1min longer.

Here is where the experienced barista shines. They can taste underextracted vs. overextracted coffee, even in small degrees, and make adjustments to make better coffee. This merely requires experience, attention, and experimentation.

Thinking about your coffee brewing in these ways will help you on your way to making great coffee at home.