Six things to know before brewing coffee at home

Beyond espressos, macchiatos or lattes, there are more fundamental issues to consider when buying, filtering and drinking good coffee. Here is a list of them, along with three recommended cafeterias in Santiago.

With the arrival of March and its routine, as well as the very slow drop in temperatures, we inevitably begin to consume more coffee on a daily basis. Maybe we never stop drinking coffee for breakfast and maybe another after lunch, but from the third month of the year the consumption of this infusion is increasing everywhere.

To appreciate it more deeply, it is worth clarifying some peculiarities of this drink, which originated in Ethiopia but which, over the centuries, first crossed the Arab world to finally become known and popular throughout Europe and the ‘America.

What is there to know? For example, what are their varieties and how they differ. Or how to store it correctly, what are the possibilities of preparing it well at home and, taking advantage of, three excellent places to eat it in Santiago.

Grain or ground?

The voice of the specialists is unanimous: it is better to buy coffee beans. Or what amounts to the same thing: without grinding. Because? Basically, because whole grain retains its flavor and aroma better and longer. Its thin shell protects it a lot from moisture and is also essential when it comes to adding essential oils to the drink.

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Indeed, once crushed, baristas say that in less than half an hour a good part of its properties is lost in contact with oxygen. For all this, it is worth having a good coffee grinder at home to grind the coffee just before preparing it and to the extent that suits us. This Oster model, for example, has burrs instead of blades, which provide a more even and precise grind.

Oster BVSTB-MH23 coffee grinder

Storage: never in the fridge

Whether in beans or already ground, there is a terrible custom that orders coffee to be kept in the refrigerator. This is a mistake, because in the end all we get is adding moisture to the coffee, which we don’t want.

For this reason, the correct way to store coffee at home is in a cool, dry place, away from extreme temperatures and out of direct sunlight. In addition, coffee should always be stored in an airtight container, which does not allow air to enter.

Finally, we must not forget that roasted coffee reaches its maximum quality point about two weeks after roasting; then its characteristics will begin to slowly decline. So to take advantage of this curve, before buying it is practical to calculate the amount of coffee we consume: in this way we can always count on freshly roasted beans and not end up with an aged product.

Typhoon coffee container 1 liter

Varieties: Arabica or Robusta?

There are two major varieties of coffee beans in the world: Arabica and Robusta. The first is the most cultivated on the planet, and is characterized by a complex, aromatic and rather sweet flavor. This is why it is also the most sought after. The second, true to its name, is instead characterized by a much more pronounced taste and a marked bitterness.

Of these two great varieties, there are a series of classifications, which have to do with the height and origin of the crops, as well as the size of the bean, the process it receives after harvesting, the method of roasting and more Again.

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There are even blends that mix Arabica and Robusta beans in various proportions, in order to find certain characteristics of the infusion. In order to be aware of what you are buying, it is advisable to leave the typical purchase at the supermarket, which is rather limited in options, and go to roasters or specialty coffee shops (there are several in Santiago and also in regional cities)., which address all of these variables in their products.

Terra Ethiopia Heirloom Coffee (Natural) 250 gr

The machine

If you ask professional baristas for a machine that can produce good espresso at home, they will most likely tell you that it doesn’t exist, that there are no good home espresso machines.

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This is why coffee professionals often recommend French press or filter coffee makers, such as the V60 or Chemex, for making coffee at home. However, and without being too demanding, there are good home coffee machines that deliver decent espressos and also other preparations – like cappuccino – in the tranquility of the house. Ultimately, it’s a question of research.

DeLonghi Icona Vintage Espresso Machine


The accessories that can be used in the preparation of coffee are not limited to the coffee maker and the grinder. On the contrary: there they are only just beginning. For this reason, the possibilities and variations of coffee that can be prepared using these utensils are numerous.

There’s the tamper, for example, which is used to squeeze the coffee load to work better with the water pressure. There are also milk frothers and carafes to pour this froth. There are mini beaters for working straight in the cup and there are also filter sets for Chemex Method coffee makers. In short, a whole universe of accessories to make the most desired coffee at home.

Tamper Il Barista 58mm

capsule system

Coffee makers that use this system are very popular around the world. So much so that there are several models and brands of this type on the market, not to mention the assortment of capsules that can be obtained. But beyond its popularity, the million dollar question is whether or not this filter format can give you good coffee.

Opinions are divided, although there is a consensus that the key is to choose quality coffee capsules. When it comes to the attributes of the machine itself, such as comfort, cleanliness, and standardized results, the truth is that it’s impossible not to acknowledge that these machines do their job.

Nespresso Inissia capsule coffee machine

Three recommended coffees

Although one can make a lot of effort to prepare a good coffee at home, it must be recognized that having a coffee in a specialized coffee, with a pleasant place and, of course, a good preparation, has no comparison. Luckily, today in Santiago we have plenty of great cafes where we can take a break from our routines and just taste that brew while we read, chat with friends, smoke, or just let time pass.

In the city center, the best coffee is always at the restaurant blue jar , located on Paseo Amanda Labarca, one block from La Moneda, where his machine starts working at eight in the morning, Monday to Friday. In Providencia there is a more hipster but also very good option: Cafe Felix , very close to the Los Leones metro, with a more than interesting selection of beans and coffees, in addition to always having some edible delights to accompany it. And in Las Condes, at the Manquehue metro exit, you never miss Taste specialty coffee where they also take the issue seriously.

*Prices for products in this item are updated as of March 14, 2023. Values ​​and availability may change.

Source: Latercera

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