Home brew: an expert guide to the best coffee makers

Six professional coffee lovers reveal how they prepare their own coffee at home

Karl Purdy of Dublin based Coffeeangel shows us three ways to prepare the best coffee at home. Video Barry Cronin

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We may be traditionally known as a nation of tea drinkers but coffee is fast becoming the hot beverage of choice in Ireland with specialised coffee shops jostling for space on high streets all over the country.

Expensive and complicated-looking coffee machines rule the roost behind the counter but what do baristas use to create their own perfect early morning brew?

Domini Kemp, co-founder of Joe’s Coffee House, currently uses an eight-cup Chemex (€59.95) but will soon own a MoccaMaster (€215).

Domini Kemp: co-founder of Joe’s Coffee House currently uses an eight-cup Chemex but will soon own a MoccaMaster
Domini Kemp: co-founder of Joe’s Coffee House currently uses an eight-cup Chemex but will soon own a MoccaMaster

“The MoccaMaster is a really sophisticated machine which makes excellent coffee and looks absolutely gorgeous. So although I currently use a Chemex which is a really simple way of making delicious coffee, I am going to get the MoccaMaster – because all you have to do is press a button, it’s so easy.

Our main roaster at Joe’s is Ralf Rueller from The Barn in Berlin. Their roasting style is Nordic and they take great pride in sourcing ethically and sustainably so this is what I drink at home – buying in small quantities (€11.50-€12.50) and going through it quite quickly.

I should also be grinding my coffee, but know my limits in the morning so I understand why some people say making fresh coffee is too much hassle, but delicious coffee is like delicious food, you get back what you put in.”

Fresh coffee

 

Helen Cunningham of The Phoenix Cafe in Dublin cannot do without fresh coffee and when she is at home, she uses a traditional French press.

Helen Cunningham of The Phoenix Cafe in Dublin: uses a French press at home. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Helen Cunningham of The Phoenix Cafe in Dublin: uses a French press at home. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

“I absolutely love coffee and would go out of my way to find somewhere which serves a good cup. We specialise in fresh, wholesome food and our coffee is certified organic and roasted in Wicklow by McCabes.

“At home I always use a French press ( €15 - €90 depending on model). I would generally use McCabes(€7) or another favourite is Monmouth coffee from the Borough market in London. For me, the ritual of brewing a fresh coffee is a bit like taking time to smell the roses. It’s a daily opportunity to enjoy and savour the important little things in life.”

Perfect cup

John Connolly, chocolate maker for Hazel Mountain Chocolate and owner of two cafes of the same name – one in the Burren and the other in Galway city, uses a Hario Beam Heater to make the perfect cup of coffee at home.

John Connolly, chocolate maker for Hazel Mountain Chocolate and owner of two cafes of the same name, uses a Hario Beam Heater to make the perfect cup of coffee at home.
John Connolly, chocolate maker for Hazel Mountain Chocolate and owner of two cafes of the same name, uses a Hario Beam Heater to make the perfect cup of coffee at home.

“Our (he and his wife Kasha) house coffee is a Brazilian Fortaleza coffee (€10.50) by Johan & Nystorm. At home I use a small grinder which is very important because if you’re going to spend money on beans it needs to be ground fresh just before you make it. Then I put the ground coffee into my Hario Beam Heater (up to €300 for heater and €120 for glass tubes).

“It looks complicated but is in fact very simple and makes great coffee – how it tastes is really important and I have thrown away more coffee than I have drunk over the years as if it isn’t good, I will bin it.”

Barista

Ali Budan has been working as a barista for three years and truly loves her job. Working at The Fumbally, Dublin 8, she makes coffee all day, but even at home, will never resort to instant and instead makes filter coffee using a Clever Dripper or a Kalita Wave, depending on her mood.

“Probably like any other barista I have more than enough equipment at home to brew coffee with but my favourites are Kalita Wave (€35) and Clever Dripper (€25) – which are quite different one from another. One is a pour-over and the other is an immersion brewer.

“When I am feeling lazy I use the Clever Dripper which works almost like a French Press – this gives a full-bodied tasty cup with very little hassle. Kalita is also a pour-over which requires a little more patience but rewards you with a cleaner cup.

“I always use single origin beans and currently Brazilian coffees roasted by 3fe. Making coffee is all about finding what suits you best – it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.”

Passionate

Conor Naughton runs Suas Coffee House in Ennis, Co Clare. Passionate about coffee, he serves 100 different blends a year and was recognised by Today FM for having “The Best Cup of Coffee in Ireland”. At home he uses the Chemex 1-3 cup (€42) and while he enjoys most speciality coffees, usually chooses a 3fe roast from El Salvador.

Conor Naughton, who runs Suas Coffee House in Ennis, Co Clare, uses the Chemex 1-3 cup to make his coffee at home
Conor Naughton, who runs Suas Coffee House in Ennis, Co Clare, uses the Chemex 1-3 cup to make his coffee at home

“I brew with the Chemex which was originally designed for science labs but also brews an amazing cup of coffee. It takes great care and attention to brew, but is definitely worth it. I am blessed with an exceptional supply of coffee from 3fe Coffee, but for me, coffees from El Salvador just have everything; sweetness, acidity, body and mouthfeel.

“Once you taste good quality specialty coffee, it’s hard to go back but it’s very easy to achieve at home. I can’t recall the last time I drank instant as these days I would rather hold out for a good coffee.”

Complicated machines

Karl Purdy of Coffeeangel in Dublin is originally from Belfast but lived in Canada when he was a child, so spent his formative years enjoying the coffee shop scene there. Today, he spends his day surrounded by complicated machines so although the coffee he drinks at home has to be top quality, he uses a simple KINTO 600ml SCS Carafe and filter brewer set (€42).

Karl Purdy, of Coffee Angel, uses a simple KINTO 600ml SCS Carafe and filter brewer set when at home
Karl Purdy, of Coffee Angel, uses a simple KINTO 600ml SCS Carafe and filter brewer set when at home

“I work with some of the most technologically-advanced, professional equipment all week so at home I prefer a simpler, more manual approach. Coffeeangel have just discovered, KINTO, a wonderful Japanese company producing beautiful manual, pour-over brewers and I use one of their gorgeous pouring kettles, a simple cone brewer with paper filter and fresh beans. And I always grind to order using my trusty Bartaza grinder.

“I am currently drinking an amazing mirco-lot from a small, award-winning farm Guatemala La Bella Pacamara. Brewed as a filter, it has notes of caramel, star anise and strawberries with dark chocolate on the nose. It is priced at €11.75. Enjoying coffee at home should be simple and rewarding and brewing a delicious cup does not require a massive investment.”

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