A Quick Rundown of Manual Methods for Making Coffee

Coffee maker machines, just pour in the water, add the grounds, push the button, and go. It’s definitely convenient. We can’t deny that. However, there are so many other (better) ways of making coffee without automating everything with a coffee maker. Choosing a more manual method lets you control the brew to produce the absolute best cup of coffee you can drink.

It can be better, even, than a cup of coffee from a café, since you are able to customize it specifically to your tastes. Here are some of your options for brewing coffee without an automated coffee maker.

For each method, assume a standard ratio of 30 grams coffee for 500 ml water.
You can adjust that to your taste, of course.

French Press

The French press is a neat little device that brews coffee via a similar process as you would brew loose leaf tea. In fact, the same device can be used for tea! The basic steps are:

  1. Heat water to 200 F.
  2. Grind coffee, coarsely. Look for a sea salt or raw sugar texture.
  3. Add grounds to French press.
  4. Pour water over the grounds.
  5. Let steep 2-4 minutes.
  6. Serve

If you don’t plan to drink the coffee immediately after it is done steeping, you should still pour it out into a carafe or your cup so that that the grounds to do not continue to diffuse, turning it bitter.
This is a great place to start when switching to manual methods.

Pour Over Coffee Maker

The pour over method is becoming a fast favorite in the coffee community. The basic process is:

  1. Heat water (between 175 and 205 F).
  2. Grind coffee to a medium or fine grind.
  3. Pour grounds into filter. Shake to even the bed.
  4. Pour just enough water to wet the grounds.
  5. Let bloom (swell) for 30-45 seconds.
  6. Pour the remaining water in.
  7. Let drip for another minute or so after water is poured.
  8. Serve

This method requires a little more practice and technique than other methods. You will want to perfect your pour technique and get the grind and temperature just right. But the effort to master this is well worth the reward.

Cold Brew

This is a great option for summer but we wouldn’t recommend it as a year round brew method. However, it is a lot better than most iced coffees you are used to drinking. The technique requires very little effort:

  1. Grind coffee to a very coarse texture.
  2. Add grounds to your carafe. We like using a specialized cold brew device or a French press.
  3. Pour in cold water.
  4. Let steep for 18-24 hours.
  5. Filter out grounds.
  6. Serve

The end result is a bright, floral and refreshing cup of coffee that does not get watery from ice or taste stale from being old.
With these different manual methods, you can produce a superior cup of coffee that will convince you to hide your machine away in a cupboard and never use it again.