Trends & Lifestyle

The four fundamentals of great coffee

When it comes to making coffee, there are four fundamentals that should be considered if you’re aiming for greatness. These are: beans, machines, water, and milk. If you’re a non-milk espresso coffee drinker, you can ignore the fourth, but the other three are key.

While each home barista will go on a personal journey when it comes to creating their perfect cup of coffee, these four pillars of coffee form a fundamental formula that should always be adhered to. Even the most seasoned of baristas will come back to these fundamentals regularly – especially if a coffee doesn’t taste quite right.

Let’s break them down one by one.


Fresh beans are essential to great coffee. Not just beans, but fresh beans. This means when you’re choosing your beans, make sure they are as close to the roast date as possible. Also, if you don’t have an in-built grinder in your espresso machine, we suggest you buy one. Pre-ground coffee loses its freshness and flavour quickly. Buy fresh, grind fresh – only grind what you need per coffee, and only put the amount of beans that you will use in a day in your hopper.


Your coffee machine should be an extension of you and fit with your capabilities and interest level. Therefore, choosing the right machine to suit your preferences is essential. For example, you might love great coffee but don’t want the fuss of having to figure out all the settings or techniques that a barista does. In this case, a fully automatic machine is probably ideal. Or perhaps you want to make coffee manually but don’t have the full skillset of a barista. In this case, a manual machine with some automatic options may be appropriate. Then again, you might be keen to learn and hone your barista skills at home, so a manual machine would be the right fit for you.

All the above are great options. What’s vital is that you choose the machine that complements your lifestyle and skillset best. Also, referring to our first point, a machine that includes a grinder will enable you to grind your beans fresh and without too much fuss and fiddling with the settings. We recommend choosing a machine with an in-built grinder.


We often take this natural resource for granted, but it is elemental to our life. As it is with coffee. The better quality your water, the better tasting your coffee. We recommend you add a filter into your coffee machine water tank (check compatibility first). Also, it’s important that you regularly descale your machine to remove chalky deposits that build up from minerals in water.


Same as above, if you’re using milk or a plant-based alternative, you want it to be high in quality. That means fresh and chilled. Whether you’re using a steam wand to manually texture milk or an automated milk frothing system, the milk should be cold for best results. Never re-use milk that has already been heated. Also, don’t overheat your milk. The industry standard for frothing milk is between 55-65 degrees, with 70 degrees considered to be the maximum temperature before the milk irrevocably changes in its chemical composition (and rapidly deteriorates in flavour and texture).

So there you have it, those are the four pillars of coffee. Keep them forefront in your mind and you’ll be destined for a life of great coffee making!