Attempting your own flat white in lockdown? Expert gives advice for buying coffee beans at home

If there's one thing many of us are missing during the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown it's good quality, cafe coffee. 

But if you were one of the many Kiwis that purchased a coffee machine during last year's lockdowns, it's time to dust it off and have a crack at making your own again. 

The starting point for any good coffee is, of course, the beans you're using to brew it. But with so many on offer online or in supermarkets, where do you begin? 

If your knowledge of coffee extends only to picking the packet off the shelf that doesn't read "instant", we're here to help. 

Coffee expert, New Zealand barista champion and De'Longhi ambassador Sam Low has given us the lowdown on buying coffee while at home to up your homemade flat white game. 

Expert Sam Low has given us the top tips we need to know.
Expert Sam Low has given us the top tips we need to know. Photo credit: Supplied.

He gave Newshub the top five things beginners should consider when purchasing coffee. If you need any further help, he has some pretty useful instructional videos on his Instagram page as well.

Buy fresh

Always try and buy coffee that's freshly roasted (within a month from roast date). As coffee is roasted it slowly releases carbon dioxide - this is called degassing. During this time the beans have yet to have an opportunity to oxidise and release their positive characteristics such as aroma and flavours. Once the degassing stage passes, the beans will start to lose most of their positive flavour and start to oxidise and go stale.

Buy locally roasted

Try and search for coffee roasters either near you or roasted in NZ. This not only supports local business but will also ensure you're getting coffees that are traceable and freshly roasted. These interactions also allow for the opportunity to get closer to your suppliers and be a great way to learn more about coffee.

Buy whole beans

Buying whole coffee beans will slow down the oxidisation rate for your coffee, meaning that it will take a longer period of time for beans to go 'stale'. This is because whole beans have the least amount of surface area exposed to oxygen as opposed to pre-ground coffee.

Invest in a coffee grinder

Or invest in coffee machines with inbuilt grinders, such as one offered by De'Longhi or Breville. This could change your home coffee game completely: It will allow you to truly appreciate the full flavours in the coffee you purchase as whole beans and give you the opportunity to grind your whole coffee beans before you extract.

Buy small amounts at a time

Depending on your household weekly coffee consumption it is always most wise to purchase freshly roasted coffee that you need for the week or two. This ensures fresh beans at home at all times! A lot of coffee roasters in NZ offer subscription models that deliver to your door every so often, or once we're in COVID-19 alert level 3 and can do so safely, pop down to your nearest roaster for your weekly or bi-weekly top-up.