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How to be a Barista from Home

By Libby Evans


Image from The Kitchen Community


As a former barista and latte lover, the secret of coffee making is a skill I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Once your eyes are opened to this new trade, you will watch your baristas make your $5 coffee and think, “I could do that,” or you might long to be back there yourself, steaming milk to perfection. 


Luckily, you don’t have to work as a barista to be a barista from home. By the end of this blog, you can be a barista from your own kitchen or even your dorm room! It’s going to take some practice. Your latte art won’t be viral on Pinterest right away, but if you stick with it, the world of coffee will be yours for the taking.



THE ESSENTIALS

Five things you can invest in to become a barista from home are a kettle, French press, coffee grinder, milk frother, and a frothing pitcher. Once you learn to use each of these things, you will be on your way to unlimited caffeine creations. 


  1. Kettle


The first investment in baristahood is hot water. If you have a stove, a regular kettle works great. If you don’t have a stove and you’re in a dorm room or living in a van or something, electric kettles are just for you! Plug it into an outlet, turn it on, and in just a few minutes, you’ll have steaming hot water ready to warm you up.  


Hot water can be used for all kinds of coffee. You can use it for instant coffee, espressos, a French press, tea, hot chocolate, or really any hot thing you might need in your life. Most electric kettles are between $20 and $30.





Image from Wayfair


  1. French press


There are many different machines used to make coffee. There are capsule coffee makers (like Keurig), drip coffee makers or pour-over makers, just to name a few. 


A French press works well for at-home creations because of its stainless steel filter instead of a paper filter that most machines use. Additionally, the mechanics are simple and easy to learn. Coffee grounds are poured in to sit at the bottom. You will use 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds per 1 cup of hot water (from your electric kettle), poured in, stirred, and steeped for about four minutes with the lid on. Finally, you press down the filter, and your coffee is ready to go. 


Espresso can also be made with a French press by adding 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per one cup of water instead of 1 tablespoon. With this simple machine, you can make the base for any kind of coffee, and it doesn’t even need electricity! This French press can be purchased on Amazon for $22. 


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  1. Coffee grinder



This element goes hand in hand with the coffee beans themselves. If you choose, you can buy your choice of ground coffee, but if you buy whole beans and grind them yourself, your coffee will be significantly more fresh and flavorful. Any coffee connoisseur can buy the grounds, but a barista grinds their coffee beans fresh for each cup. 


For the coffee beans, there are three different roasts: dark, medium, and light roast. Lighter roasts have the most caffeine and are typically more acidic and floral, while dark and medium roasts are more bitter with notes of nuts or chocolate. With a coffee grinder, these flavors will be strong, fresh, and delicious. Most fall in the price range of $15 to $80. 


Photo by Russell Kilgore


  1. Milk Frother


Frothed milk is heated up to between 140 and 160 degrees and spun with pressurized air to create foamy deliciousness for lattes and cappuccinos. Even if you’re not making one of those, frothed milk can take hot chocolate to another level or add something new to a regular coffee.


A frothing wand can allow you to froth your milk from home! This hand-held device spins heated milk fast enough to create foam for beautiful latte art. Once you have mastered this skill and your milk is thick and glossy like wet paint, you can spin it into your espresso and showcase your master barista skills to friends and family. Hand-held frothers typically range from $6 to $15.



Photo by Russell Kilgore


  1. Frothing pitcher


The final tool in this barista crash course is a frothing pitcher. This stainless steel pitcher comes in various sizes and is important for frothing milk and creating latte art. The pitcher has a handle to be lifted above the serving cup, and the curved point of the pitcher directs the milk into a stream to be poured diagonally into the espresso. Frothing pitchers are typically between $7 and $15.




 Image from Etsy


These five tools will take you to the barista level, but once you’re here, there’s so much to explore! To learn how to froth milk and create latte art, there are endless tutorial videos online. Additionally, there are many unique recipes, styles, and flavors to try. The last thing I’d like to leave with you as you are sent off on this coffee adventure is to decorate your kitchen with your own style of eccentric mugs and plates. Lattes can be art, but so can the mugs that hold them! My favorite mugs are hand-painted by relatives or from local thrift shops, and they make my coffee taste even better. 


Photo Cupscho



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