It’s aeons since making coffee meant grabbing a jar of Nescafe and popping the seal. These days, the provenance of your coffee beans is as important as the label on your wine. But once you’ve invested in your ingredients, how do you make sure you achieve the best brew possible? We asked Tim Williams, coffee guru at Workshop Coffee Co., to share his top tips.

“It seems obvious, but without good coffee as a starting point, there’s very little even the best barista can do to produce a great cup,” says Tim. Be sure to buy from a coffee-roasting company or specialist coffee retailer if you can. Check for a ‘roasted on’ date and at least some information about the farm or region the coffee is from. A country of origin is not enough. “Likewise, grinding your coffee fresh, just before you brew with it, will make a staggering difference to the quality in the cup. You’ll regret not having done it before.” Finally, “invest in an AeroPress, ” says Tim.

Tim Williams’ coffee-making masterclass

You’ll need (for one cup)

  • The best coffee you can afford.
  • A burr grinder, or a hand-operated mill from Hario or Porlex.
  • A water filter
  • Scales
  • An AeroPress and filters
  • A timer
  • A kettle
A sneaky tip from the expert

Adjust your grind. If your coffee is tasting weak or thin, it could be that your grind is too coarse. Conversely, if it’s tasting bitter, heavy or silty, it might be that your grind is too fine. Try adjusting your grinder until you find the right setting for that particular coffee, and don’t forget: adjusting your grind is a waste of time if you’re not weighing your ingredients.
  • 1

    Fill the kettle with cold, filtered water and stick it on to boil.

  • 2

    Load the paper filter into the AeroPress filter holder and rinse with warm water.

  • 3

    Twist the filter holder into place on the bottom of the brewing chamber.

  • 4

    Dust off your kitchen scales and weigh out 15g of coffee.

  • 5

    When the kettle boils, take it off the heat and let it rest for a couple of minutes. Grind your coffee – it should be about as fine as coarse sand.

  • 6

    Sit the AeroPress, with filter in place, on top of your favourite mug. Fill the brewing chamber with 250g of hot water (using those trusty kitchen scales).

  • 7

    Stir gently.

  • 8

    Pop the piston into the top of the brewing chamber, creating a seal and preventing the coffee from dropping through the filter. Let the coffee brew. This is where the magic happens, so be careful not to rush it or forget about it. You want the coffee and water to be mixing together for between one and two minutes.

  • 9

    Take the plunge. When your kitchen timer tells you to, gently but firmly press down on the piston with both hands. Ensure your mug is strong enough to take the pressure!

  • 10

    Resist… resist… then drink. Always allow your coffee to cool for a few minutes before drinking it. Not only will the coffee be too hot to drink comfortably straight away, but a lot of what’s really interesting and delicious about great coffee is also relatively hidden at high temperatures. Waiting a few minutes before diving in will reward you greatly.

Workshop Coffee Co, 27 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RN (020 7253 5754; workshopcoffee.com)

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