Creating an At-Home Coffee Bar
David Reffsin, of Pierce Bros Coffee Roasters in Greenfield, MA has some great advice for coffee aficionados. Reffsin explais how you can put together a coffee bar in your home to enjoy the finer aspects of coffee on any budget. “Like anything else, it always depends on how high end you want to go. You can have a $49 Mr. Coffee or you can go with finer products from a company such as Bodum.”
Reffsin points out several aspects of creating a home coffee bar that need to be considered: “For me it starts with how you are set up for electricity depending on what and how many types of machines you want to have, so you’ll probably create your coffee bar in a portion of your kitchen or dining room.” You will also want to have an area that is easy to keep clean. The following are key points to consider in creating your coffee bar.
Coffee Bean Storage
“You can keep your beans in a refrigerator or any other cool, dry place,” advises Reffsin. “Most people will buy relatively small amounts, maybe up to five pounds, so you have the freshest possible coffee.” Reffsin warns never to store coffee beans in a freezer unless you only plan to take them out of the freezer once. “If you take coffee beans in and out of the freezer, they will accumulate dampness that will form crystals in the coffee when placed back in the freezer. Over time, the moisture will degrade the coffee." Reffsin adds that it’s good to stock three or four different types of coffee beans to appeal to the widest range of tastes, but not having such variety that the beans go stale from lack of use.
Coffee Brewing Equipment
“You have to decide the types of coffee you want to brew. Do you want to have an espresso machine, for example?” questions Reffsin. He points out that the better espresso machines may cost in the range of $1,000. You can also have a regular brew pot, a cold-pressed pot, and/or a French Press coffee pot.
“I have ten different types of cups and a wooden rack to display them on. I collect cups from all over the place, but other people may want to have a special set,” Reffsin shares. He comments that your display area can include collections of creamers and sugar bowls, or coffee storage canisters. Some may opt for a theme such as a favorite hobby, sport, or pet. Reffsin also recommends stainless steel creamers if you want the look of a high end restaurant.
Coffee Bean Grinders
If you truly love coffee, you will want to grind your own beans for the best flavor, freshness, and aroma. You may choose to keep separate grinders for flavored or unflavored coffees. Always be careful when cleaning; ensure your grinder is dry before grinding more coffee beans. Besides gumming up the machine, the moisture may hold on to flavors or tiny bits of grounds.
The Coffee Bean Selection
Tastes and prices vary depending on where the coffee is harvested and whether it is organic, free trade, etc. Pierce Bros has a special air roasting system, sort of like popping corn, where the coffee beans actually roast on a bed of air. Air roasting produces coffee that is very low acid while retaining a robust flavor. “Which coffee beans you buy isn’t just about your tastes, but what you can afford,” observes Reffsin. Coffee prices tend to range from $6 a pound to $12 plus.
Again, you can choose a variety of styles. The important thing to remember when brewing coffee is that the hot plate on the machine stays hot, continuously cooking the coffee. Reffsin suggests a stainless steel carafe that has been preheated with warm water before pouring in your freshly brewed coffee. “You can also have two or three types of coffee available to your guests at a time using carafes. It’s a great way to impress your friends!”
Updated November 25, 2018.
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