different coffee brewing methods out there and each one offers its own perks. Each one also has its strong group of avid supporters who insist it is the best way to brew coffee or even the only way to brew coffee. In our opinion, there is no single best method. It’s actually better to have a variety of different methods available to suit the occasion. Each method has its advantages and its time to shine. So let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways to brew coffee.
Drip Coffee MakerThis is your standard coffee machine. You have probably seen one and even used one. There are many different models, each with different features, but the basic idea is: add coffee. Add water. Push button. Wait. Some are programmable so that they can automatically start brewing before you wake up. Some have coffee grinders built in so even that can be automated. Essentially, the different models are just different degrees of convenience. Typically, you should be using a medium to medium-fine grind for most of these machines (espresso machines are an obvious exception). The key advantage that these have is convenience and minimal effort. You can just push a button (or program it) and walk away. When you come back, coffee is waiting for you. This is great if you absolute cannot spare an extra 15 minutes or so to brew your coffee by hand. In fact, we find that it’s best to have at least a simple drip coffee maker on hand for those occasional (but inevitable) late mornings when you don’t have the time to do your normal coffee brewing ritual. It’s a great and reliable friend in such emergencies. But for a cup of coffee that tastes of perfection, you’ll want a more hands on method like those below, one that allows you to control the brew more precisely.
Pour Over Coffee BrewerThe pour over method has been around for a while and it is probably our favorite method just in terms of the resulting brew and the beautiful ritual that is involved. The basic steps are as follows:
- Heat water.
- Grind beans. Aim for something between medium and fine (something between sand and granulated sugar). You have a little wiggle room here to find your preferred grind.
- Add grounds to filter. Shake gently to even out the bed.
- Pour about 10% of the water over the grounds, directly into the center to wet them.
- Let “bloom” (swell) for about 30 seconds or until it stops.
- Pour the remaining water in a slow, constant flow. Don’t just pour into the middle. Work your way over the coffee in concentric circles to evenly soak all the grounds. Do this slow enough to last about 3 minutes (if making 1 liter).
- Let dripping continue for another minute or so.
French Press Coffee MakerThe French press is one of the most elegant ways to brew a cup of coffee. It’s also a fairly simple technique:
- Heat water. 200 Fahrenheit is generally considered the ideal temperature for a French press.
- Grind coffee, coarsely. It should be about the texture of sea salt or raw sugar.
- Add grounds to the French press.
- Add hot water. Swirl gently to combine.
- Let mellow for 2-4 minutes. The longer you steep, the more robust the brew so tweak the timing to your own preference.
- Press down the plunger.
- Great coffee: as long as you pay attention to the details, the technique itself is actually really easy.
- Easy to learn. As stated, it won’t taste good if you don’t get the temperature or grind right, but it’s not hard to do. Heating water and grinding coffee are very simple.
- Easy clean up: the cylinder shape of the chamber along with the smooth glass interior make this beauty very easy to clean.
- Beautiful: even while not in use, a French press just looks so lovely as a piece on the counter. It takes up very little space and has an understated elegance in its design.
- Portable: you can easily take your French press with you on the move. Get a hand burr grinder to go with it and you can have coffee brewed to perfection even while you’re roughing it.
Cold Brew CoffeeCold brew is not the same as iced coffee. It doesn’t use ice and the water is never heated at any point. The technique for how to brew cold coffee is actually pretty simple:
- Grind your coffee very coarsely, at least as coarse as French press grind but it can be coarser.
- Place the grounds in your container. If you are using a specialized cold brew coffee maker, there will be a section for the grounds. If you are using a French press, just put them where you normally would.
- Add cold, filtered water.
- Let soak for 18-24 hours.