A barista's tips to making the best coffee at home

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With midterms coming to a close, students remember now more than ever how absolutely vital coffee is when cramming for a huge exam or simply trying to stay awake during it. But quality coffee from the local coffee shops adds up after a week of vigorous studying. Spending $5 on a latte every time you need a caffeine fix is excessive.

Joey Falcon, barista at Mama Mocha's, offered his insight on how to make the best cup of coffee at home. 

"The best coffee at home kind of translates to easiness plus quality," Falcon said. "Because usually when you're making your coffee at home you're kind of out of it. You're kind of in that morning haze where you can't really put decisions together at once."

Falcon said he enjoys making french presses at home because it's a fairly standard, quality cup of coffee that brings a rich, flavorful cup easily.

Anyone can do it with the right equipment, Falcon said. 

A french press is needed when making this type of coffee. Most grocery stores sell these. They range in price depending on how serious the buyer is about making great coffee at home on a regular basis. If you want an extremely high-quality flavor there are stainless steel presses available.

Hot water is imperative. Using a kettle, pot or microwaved cup of water will get the job done. 

On to the coffee, the most important ingredient. Falcon recommended getting a burr grinder for the coffee beans. 

"I suggest a burr grinder for the coffee just because it's a more high-quality grind," Falcon said. "It's more even. A lot of people use quick grinders and those are just blades that chop the beans unevenly."

More evenly ground coffee helps with the overall flavor of the coffee, Falcon said. Rather than chopping the beans like other grinders do, it crushes it creating a more scientific means of extracting the beans' flavor. Burr grinders can be purchased for about $60 but are worth the investment, Falcon said. 

If the $60 burr grinder is a bit out of price range, even with a press and crunch grinder you can get a flavorful cup of coffee from a french press, Falcon said. 

"As far as technique goes, use a coarse grind on that so it isn't too fine," Falcon said. "You want it to be pretty thick, kind of like chunks. Not large chunks but the coarsest setting that most grinders have is going to be what you want."

After the beans are ground, extract the flavor with hot water for four minutes and pour the cup.

Falcon said he prefers a medium to light roast. At Mama Mocha's they sell mostly darker roasts but they have a few light and medium options. Falcon's favorites are South American originated beans, specifically Brazilian beans because they tend to be sweeter than coffees from other places in the world. 

"Making coffee at home is as much as you want to make it, really," Falcon said. "It's as far as you want to fall into the rabbit hole."

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