James Hoffmann’s new book, How to Make the Best Coffee at Home, is finally out, and is the perfect guide for both professionals and amateurs.
BY TANYA NANETTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT
Photos by Tanya Nanetti
James Hoffmann is one of the most recognizable people in the world of specialty coffee. His YouTube channel is both informative and fun to watch. His first book, The World Atlas of Coffee, is often considered a bible of the specialty-coffee world. Hence the excitement over the release of his new book, How to Make the Best Coffee at Home.
Just reading the introduction feels like playing an exciting new episode from James’ channel. You can easily imagine James welcoming you into it with his soothing voice.
“A cup of coffee can be many things: a jolt of caffeine, fuel for our work, a social lubricant, a necessity, or a luxury,” James begins. He adds that through his books he wants “to share the things that have helped me make better coffee.”
And that’s definitely what James accomplishes with his new book, through six parts covering every possible aspect of brewing coffee at home.
Buying the Right Coffee
The “How to Buy Great Coffee” section is the perfect welcome for anyone just starting a love story with specialty coffee. It covers the basics of how to choose the right coffee to brew. Short chapters cover everything from freshness and storage to roast levels. Next is a precise explanation of what to expect when buying a coffee by reading its notes, which can be useful to help avoid buying a bag that is a total disappointment for your taste.
Essential Coffee Tools
The next section, “The Essentials for Great Coffee,” aims to narrow down the number of tools needed to brew great coffee: the right water, scale, grinder, kettle, and coffee storage canisters (along with your favorite brewer) are enough to get you started brewing that perfect coffee.
Making iIt Right
“How to Taste Coffee,” the third part, shares some notions on the wonderful world of coffee tasting. He explains how to train your taste buds, how to compare flavors, and how to share notes.
“How to Brew Great Coffee” is the main core of the book. After an introduction about grind size, extraction, and water temperature, this part focuses on how to make the best brews using different methods. He then covers the V60, AeroPress, Moka Pot, and many more.
“Depending where in the world you grew up, cold coffee can either seem like a wonderful, refreshing, and uplifting salve for a hot day, or something inexplicable,” says James, and that’s what “Iced Coffee and Cold Brew” is about, giving a perspective on the different types of cold coffee drinks available out there.
Last but certainly not least comes “How to Make Great Espresso,” the final (and longest) chapter. Here James clarifies all the possible doubts regarding the world of espresso. Short chapters cover ratios and temperatures, how to buy an espresso machine, how to make an espresso, and how to steam milk. These are followed by an interesting explanation of the most common espresso-based drinks available on the market.
Perhaps the coolest part of the book is that, in addition to explaining how to brew coffee correctly, it also teaches you how to become a more aware coffee consumer. All in all, How to Make the Best Coffee at Home is a book perfect for everyone involved in coffee, from the new coffee geek who wants to learn from scratch, to the barista pro who wants to know more and keep improving.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.