How to become a home Barista

14 May 2021

Coffee

Bring out your inner barista and start making deliciously smooth cafe-quality drinks in the comfort of your own home.

Some of us can’t start our day without a strong double espresso. Others enjoy the sweet sensation of slowly sipping a creamy mocha. However you like your coffee, it’s now easier than ever to create delectably smooth barista-grade drinks in your very own kitchen.

At Hotel Chocolat, we love starting off our day with a smooth, delicious cup of coffee. But how can you emulate your favourite coffee at home? Our new range of ethically sourced, sustainable coffee makes it easy for you to make café-quality coffee – from flat whites to espressos – in the comfort of your own home.

What is a Barista?

A barista is somebody who prepares and serves espresso-based drinks. But, really, baristas are coffee alchemists. They take freshly-ground coffee beans, which can be somewhat intense and bitter, and transform them into an enticing, aromatic drink. No matter what your preferences – short and black, strong with a splash of oat milk, or a full-on creamy latte – a barista can whip up the perfect coffee to set you up for the day.

Whether in a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant, most baristas undergo training on the job. You might see them carefully weighing out coffee grounds and steaming milk into the perfect cloud of cappuccino foam. But with a little help (and a read of this article) you can become your own home barista.

With experience in serving coffee in Hotel Chocolat restaurants and cafes worldwide, we’ve learnt a few tricks of the trade. We wanted to share that know-how and create products like the Velvetiser which can perfectly froth milk for a decadent latte, flat white or cappuccino.

How to make a Barista style coffee

When learning how to make barista-grade coffee, choosing good-quality beans is the best place to start. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, the number of coffee options on the market can seem overwhelming. Do you go for strong coffee that packs a punch or a smoother, more mellow blend? Should you go for Arabica or Robusta beans?

We’re presenting a new family of five coffee blends with The One, our signature serve, at the epicentre. Five is enough because, when done right, high-quality coffee should be distinctive enough that it’s simple to find your favourite without scouring the shelves for hours. Our talent for bringing out the best flavours from our beans is reflected in every blend.

After all, great coffee and drinking chocolate shouldn’t be complicated. It shouldn’t be bad for the environment. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether the people who grew the beans for your next cup were treated fairly. And it should be simple to choose a flavour you like, take it home and make a barista-grade coffee and hot chocolate in your own kitchen.

Beans or pods?

Our coffee blends have been created to give you the home-barista experience no matter what brewing method or coffee machine you like to use. You can choose from aromatic whole roasted beans or handy pods.

If you’re grinding your own coffee beans, it’s best to use a coarse grind for black coffee. Once you’ve got your ground coffee, a top barista tip is to weigh out your ingredients. As a general guide, 15g of grounds will give 240g of brewed black coffee a punchy caffeine kick without being overpowering. A filter machine or cafetiere works well for black coffee. But be careful to let water from the kettle cool a couple of degrees before pouring. Boiling water can burn the coffee.

If you fancy a latte, you’ll need a strong espresso base. For 17g of coffee, you’ll be looking at a result of 35g of brewed coffee. To get the perfect espresso, you could prepare ground coffee in a Moka pot or use a quick and easy pod espresso machine.

Pods seal your coffee for freshness and give you the perfect portion without the need to weigh it out. Each Rabot Estate coffee blend is available in a capsule, ground, measured and tamped — ready for you to pop into your machine and prepare the milk for your own cafe-quality cup.

The issue with traditional coffee pods is that they are difficult to recycle. It should be possible to create great, environmentally-conscious coffee, which is why our range of coffee pods are 100% recyclable with the Podcycler.

The milk

Now your espresso is ready, it’s time to add the milk. Mellow mocha or perk-me-up latte, making deliciously smooth, milky coffees at home is easier than you might think.

Professional baristas use steaming wands to heat and aerate the milk to the desired texture.

At home, the Velvetiser can get those perfect results for you. Though it was initially designed for whipping up insatiably silky hot chocolates at the push of a button, this machine is no one-trick pony. It works in harmony with our coffee range to create lattes and mochas so creamy you might never want to buy a takeaway drink again. For the full at-home coffee shop experience, let the Velvetiser heat and foam the milk into a sumptuously smooth texture in just a couple of minutes.

Drawing the perfect rosette pattern with your milk might take a bit more practice, but you can still close your eyes, sip, and enjoy the heady aroma and velvety texture of barista-grade coffee in the comfort of your own home.

Whichever coffee you go for, take your barista skills to the next level with our perfect pairings. Add a bit of extra indulgence with a Dunking Biscuit — the perfect coffee cup companion. Or why not opt for your Baton of choice? Each piece is a precise 8g of solid chocolate, made for dipping. And for a tipsy twist, a shot of any Velvetised Cream Liqueur will make for a supreme Irish coffee.

How to make Barista style drinking chocolate

Sometimes the only thing that will hit the spot is a cosy hot chocolate. How do baristas get their drinking chocolate so delectably smooth?

Well, real chocolate flakes are the perfect starting point for the richest, most satisfying hot choc at home. Will it be an intense Dark 85% Hot Chocolate or a divinely creamy Vanilla White Hot Chocolate?

The secret to making the best hot chocolate is out. The Velvetiser is the perfect tool for unbelievably decadent barista-style drinking chocolate that outshines even the finest of cafes. From the first sip to the last, the Velvetiser ensures a cloud-like texture every time.

Add milk to your Velvetiser, sprinkle in 35g or a single serving of your favourite Hot Chocolate, and press the button. Two and a half minutes later, pour into your Pod Cup, sip, and let the comfort wash over you.

Barista-grade recipes

If you’re looking for some recipes to get you started on your home barista journey, look no further than these fool-proof methods. Incredible, professional-standard drinks in no time at all.

The Mocha

Coffee and chocolate: a match made in Heaven.

For a delectable mocha in 2.5 minutes, all you need to do is pour 240ml of milk into your Velvetiser, along with 35g or a single-serve sachet of Velvetiser flakes. Press the button and let the machine do its magic.

Once heated, pour the mixture into your favourite mug and add one pod shot of coffee.

Fancy something a bit different? There are plenty of delicious flavour pairings to keep things fresh. How about toeing the line between sweet and salty with a Salted Caramel mocha? Or, for a luxury breakfast drink with a kick, try using a Dark Chilli Hot Chocolate Sachet. Combined with a Rocket pod, you’ll be set for the day.

The beauty of velvetising your hot chocolate for a mocha is that you can use oat or nut milk for a delicious vegan option. 35g of our Hazelnut Hot Chocolate will give you a satisfyingly nutty mocha delight worthy of any cafe, all without a drop of dairy.

The Iced Mocha

Looking for a cool caffeinated drink to refresh you on a hot day? For an invigorating iced mocha, our genius velvetising technique makes all the difference. Take it from us, it really works.

First, fill a highball glass with six ice cubes and 110 ml of milk (oat milk works as well as dairy). Let it chill.

Prepare your hot chocolate by velvetising or heating 100ml of milk and 35g of Hotel Chocolat flakes.

Add the hot chocolate to one pod shot of prepared coffee. Pour the warmed mocha liquid into the chilled glass of milk. Et voila!

The Iced Latte

For another delightfully revitalising cold brew, you can’t go wrong with an iced latte. It’s worth noting that the iced temperature suppresses flavour, so we’re suggesting big and bold.

Fill a highball glass with six ice cubes and add all 220ml of milk.

Extract two of your favourite coffee pod shots, pour over the top, and watch it mingle.

The Affogato

The affogato, which translates to ‘drowned,’ is another beautiful Italian drink. It submerges ice cream in a deluge of espresso for a decadent dessert in a cup.

Take two scoops of vanilla ice cream and place them in an espresso cup or shot glass. Prepare one espresso pod shot and pour the hot coffee over the ice cream.

And if you want to dial it up, a dash of rum or a 25ml of Salted Caramel Vodka Liqueur will add that luxe edge.
Hot or cold, why not flex your barista muscles and try making insatiably smooth and satisfying cafe-worthy coffees at home?