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How to up your coffee game at home

We can't always have barista-made coffee every day but here are some hacks to make your morning cuppa fancier

Delfina Utomo
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Delfina Utomo
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Old habits die hard – and getting that fancy coffee freshly extracted from a La Marzocco every morning is something we're all missing. If you won't settle for the trusty 3-in-1 instant mix you have in the pantry, take matters into your hands and up your coffee game, stat. You can sign up for barista classes when the 'circuit breaker' is over, or you learn these hacks that will make your morning cuppa taste like it's worth at least $5.

RECOMMENDED: The best coffee subscription services in Singapore and get coffee delivered to your door from these cafés and online stores

Get good beans
Photograph: Milo Miloezger

Get good beans

Before you make good coffee, you will need some good coffee beans. Don't worry, attaining some decent beans is not that hard in Singapore. There are plenty of coffee roasters around the island but due to 'circuit breaker' measures, check which ones can deliver to your doorstep

Bulletproof coffee
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Bulletproof coffee

Before the hype, there was already a version of bulletproof coffee in Singapore's coffeeshops. Called kopi gu you (that's butter coffee in Hokkien), a slab of butter is added to kopi (coffee with condensed milk) which gives the drink a richer, caramelised flavour. 

But if you want to do it café-style, mix a teaspoon of grass-fed unsalted butter or coconut oil to your usual coffee and sweeten it to your liking.

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Dalgona coffee
Photograph: Ilyas Sholihyn

Dalgona coffee

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. As seen on social media, the unofficial trend of the stay home movement is the Dalgona coffee. According to Google, Singapore coming in as the #2 country searching for it.

As complicated as it looks to make, this coffee is pretty easy to whip up in the kitchen. Whisk instant coffee granules with sugar and hot water until it becomes foamy – if you have an electric hand whisk it would really make it easier. Spoon the mixture over cold milk and you're good to go. Surprisingly, it tastes like expensive coffee, especially if you switch it to oat or a soy milk alternative.

Iced coffee with milk
Photograph: Ilyas Sholihyn

Iced coffee with milk

Again, it's all about the aesthetics. If you've always made iced coffee by adding ice cubes into your coffee, we're going to switch things around a little. Freeze some regular black coffee into ice cubes in the freezer. When it's ready, pop some into a glass and add milk. Bonus points if you have the right café-style tall clear glass and rose gold metal straw.

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Orange iced coffee
Photograph: Ilyas Sholihyn

Orange iced coffee

It may sound weird but don't write it off just yet! Like the recipe for iced coffee with milk, you need to freeze some black coffee into ice cubes. Instead of milk, add some orange juice. The unorthodox pairing of two breakfast beverages might actually surprise you. You get the sweetness of the orange juice at the beginning followed by bitterness from the coffee at the end. Plus, it's your caffeine fix sorted for the morning.

Add salt... or spices
Photograph: Unsplash/Vanesa Conunaese

Add salt... or spices

Adding salt into your coffee grinds before pouring water in will make the overall taste a little less bitter. And if you love rich flavours, we'd recommend adding cinnamon to your coffee. It also helps if the coffee is not exactly fresh. If you're feeling even more adventurous, try the magical blend of cloves, nutmeg and cardamom.

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Cold brew
Photograph: Unsplash/Ben Kolde

Cold brew

You're at home anyway, so why not invest some time in making some cold brew coffee. Heads up, cold brewing involves letting grounds steep in the water for a long time – we're talking at least 12 hours. All you need is some good coffee and a large jar for it to 'brew' in. After you have your brew, you can filter it to separate the grounds and you're left with a concentrate which you can dilute, drink with milk or drink it straight if you dare. 

If you love your cold brew with extra flavour, a pro tip is to mix toasted unsweetened shredded coconut into the coffee grounds before brewing. 

Make your own syrup
Photograph: Unsplash/Alexander Mils

Make your own syrup

Miss your caramel frappuccinos already? Do one better and make it on your own at home. The secret really lies in the syrup used at cafés. Lucky for you, syrup is quite simple to make at home but you would need a lot of sugar – surprise, surprise. Like making caramel, mix one cup of granulated sugar and water and heat it up till the mixture is one. Spice things up by adding some vanilla beans, cinammon and cardamom just to be extra. It will definitely make your homemade coffee taste at least $7.

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Shake up a coffee cocktail
Photograph: Unsplash/Dmitry Dreyer

Shake up a coffee cocktail

Now that you can't drink in bars, you might as well learn to shake up some cocktails at home using ingredients you have around the house. Coffee cocktails combine two of the best things in beverages – caffeine and sugar. Having sweet liqueur or whiskey in the house would be most ideal but it's your chance to get creative and see what you can come up with. 

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