Up for a challenge? Most people I know brew their coffee the same way every morning. I know a handful of folks who enjoy a bit more variety, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who can say that they’ve made coffee 22 different ways. Could you be the one?
Almost all of the brewing methods come back to four different brewing methods:
- Boiling: Coffee grounds boiled in water or submerged into water above the boiling point. Just for the record, boiling is bad. It heats the coffee grounds beyond it’s optimal brewing temperature and creates a bitter taste. For the love of good coffee, don’t use a boiling method.
- Filtering: Hot water poured over grounds, the water drains through a filter and into a pot below. This is by far the most popular brewing method and most families have a coffeemaker sitting on their kitchen counter that uses filtering.
- Pressure: Hot water is forced through coffee grounds with a strong force. Espresso is the most popular example of this brewing method.
- Steeping: Water is poured on coffee grounds and steeps for a period of time. French Press is one of the most common examples of this brewing method.
Now it’s time to break down those four brewing methods a little further.
The Giant List Of Ways To Brew Coffee
This is the gadget that coffee geeks all over the world love. It looks like a beaker that escaped from a science lab. The inventor of this gadget was looking for the scientifically perfect way to brew coffee. The Aeropress creates a very smooth, flavorful cup of coffee.
Cafezinho is new to me, but if you’ve been to Brazil it might sound familiar to you. I found these instructions on how to make this brew via I Need Coffee.
For each cup of water, use a heaping Tbsp of good coffee ground for espresso. The recipe also calls for sugar to taste. (You’ll need a saucepan that you’ll promise to use ONLY for making coffee.) This is how it’s done: add the water to the pan, add the sugar and dissolve well. Bring to boil over medium heat. When the water and sugar mixture boils, add the coffee powder, stir well and pour through a traditional cloth coffee strainer (or a paper filter). Pour immediately into a tiny cup.
When I’m packing for a camping trip, I usually include my French Press. However, I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a coffee nerd and there’s a lot of other ways to make coffee when you’re out in the woods. Here’s two different methods that require only fire, a pot, coffee and a clean source of water.
There’s other options, but I’m going to keep it simple because camping and coffee could be a whole blog post.
This an old (invented in 1941) brewing method that has come back in style because it makes bright, clean and smooth coffee. Plus, it looks pretty cool too.
The Chemex is an hourglass shaped device with a conical neck (not cylindrical like the French Press). It uses filters that are thicker than the standard drip filter. The filters are put at the neck of the Chemex, grounds are added to the filter, hot water is poured manually over them and the coffee drips into the glass chamber below.
The Clever Coffee Brewer is on my wish list. According to everyone I know that owns one, it takes the best features of the French Press and filter drip brewing, while getting rid of the negative aspects of both. It takes the French Press’s control of steeping time, but leaves behind the heat loss and sediment left at the bottom of your mug. It takes the convenience and ease of use of a paper filter, but the Clever doesn’t start to drain immediately. The Clever has a stopper added to their “filtercone” that allows you to control the steeping time and results in a sediment-free cup of coffee.
In 2005, the Seattle Coffee Equipment Company developed a new kind of coffee maker for coffee shops. Instead of making coffee in batches, the Clover brews just one cup of coffee at a time. It doesn’t use pods like a Keurig, it uses freshly ground coffee, then allows the barista to customize the taste by tweaking the water temperature and brewing time.
In the first year that it was on the market (2006), 100 machines were sold. Sales tripled the next year and Starbucks liked it so much that they didn’t just buy the machines for their stores, they bought the entire company. Now the only place that you can see new Clover machines is in their stores.
Summer is just around the country (or already here if you live in Florida too), so the Cold Brew method is a perfect way to stay cool and caffeinated. Instead of using heat to brew the coffee, the grounds are seeped in cold water for 12 hours. The result is a coffee concentrate that can make some very tasty beverages.
Just about every kitchen counter in America has one of these machines. It’s one of the easiest, simplest to make coffee. All you have to do is add the grounds, then add water to a separate chamber. The machine does the rest of the work, heating up of the water and pouring it over the grounds.
Espresso making is a hobby in itself. There’s people that spend years working towards making the perfect up of coffee. Espresso machines start at a few hundred dollars for a decent one and go into the thousands of dollars range for a really good one. (See pressure above for more details on how it actually makes the espresso.)
Eva Solo is one of those devices that looks so stylish that I wonder if it really makes good coffee. I haven’t tried it for myself yet, but there’s lots of people that love this gadget.
Eva Solo works a lot like French Press, a built in filter and glass chamber where the coffee grounds seeps in hot water. Besides the difference in shape, the main difference is that comes with a Neoprene cover for insulation and heat proof glass.
Aliases include Press Pot and Coffee Press. Anytime someone asks me how to brew a great cup of coffee, this is what I recommend. Sure you’ll get a little bit of sediment at the bottom of the cup, but the great flavorful taste is worth it. (See steeping above for info on how a French Press works.)
Usually made out of really bad beans that have been crushed, freeze dried and a handful of chemical ingredients for preservation and taste. Just add hot water and stir. It’s not exactly a winning combination.
The Neapolitan Flip (also known as the drip pot) uses finely ground dark roast coffee to produce a stronger flavor than a regular drip coffeemaker. It’s a drip coffeemaker that you use on your stove. The bottom is filled with water, there’s a filter section in the middle that’s filled with coffee grounds and an upside down pot on top. When the water boils, the device is flipped over and water filters through the grounds. When all of the water has filtered through, the device is flipped over, then the water and filter sections are removed so that you can serve the coffee from the pot.
A really simple description of the Percolator is that it has two parts, one for the water and one for the grounds. As the water boils, it travels through a tube and on to the grounds.
It was the most popular brewing method prior to the coffeemaker and there’s still lots of people who swear by them, but the problem is that the Percolator uses boiling water, which can leave the final product tasting over extracted and bitter.
There’s a lot of brewing methods that are a version of the Pour Over like the Clever, Chemex and even the traditional drip coffeemaker. However, there’s also a simple device that’s growing in popularity because of it’s simplicity and that it makes flavorful coffee.
The cone shaped device is usually made out of plastic or porcelain and its on top of a coffee mug. You place a filter on top of it, coffee grounds are added and then you pour hot water over it.
A Pour Over starts at a few dollars for a cheap plastic one, to about thirty dollars for one made out of porcelain. It’s the best way to make a single serving of coffee at home.
Puerto Rican Style Coffee
Here’s another method that I’ll have to try at some point.
Puerto Rican style coffee starts with 6-8 ounces of water in a pot for each cup of coffee you want. Bring the water to a boil and add 2-3 tablespoons of ground coffee per cup. Stir it until the foam fades away, which takes about four minutes. Remove the pot from the burner and let it stand for six minutes. Then strain through a fine cloth and return it to the pot. Add a quarter cup of milk and sugar to taste for each up and Bring to a simmer over low heat. Stir it for one to two minutes, making sure to not let it boil. Then finally you get to pour it into your mug. It’s a little bit of a process but that’s part of the fun with coffee.
Single Serve Machine
I can’t get away from these machines and their pods. I see the benefits because it’s easy to use and super quick, but for me the taste just isn’t there. Plus, if you’re buying K-Cups, the cost can get very expensive, very quickly, like $60 per pound expensive. That’s more than a bag of Jamaican Blue Mountain.
This old school invention was developed in the 1830′s. It’s a slow and unusual process that’s unlike any other brewing method. The Siphon uses two chambers where vapor pressure and vacuum produce coffee. Near boiling water is forced into a glass chamber with the coffee grounds. The mixture steeps until the heat is turned off. As it cools, the water is sucked back into the lower chamber.
The sock? Yeah, this one made me do a double take too. You definitely don’t want to use one of your gym socks that’s been worn on a hot summer day for this!
What you use is a sock filters (that they manufacture specifically for this), which looks like a sock connected with a wire frame. You fill the sock with ground coffee and add boiling water. It steeps for a few minutes like tea, then you remove the sock.
Another one of those methods that I’ll have to try, but it kind of scares me for more than one reason.
Stove Top Espresso
I don’t use my stove top Espresso (or Moka Pot) maker nearly enough. It’s not exactly espresso like you get out of an espresso machine, but it’s still a good strong, hearty coffee.
It makes coffee by passing hot water, pressurized by steam through ground coffee. It was patented by Italian inventor Luigi De Ponti for Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. Bialetti Industrie continues to produce the same model under the name “Moka Express” and it’s probably the most popular kind of Stove top Espresso maker. The moka pot is most popular in Europe, as well as in Latin American countries.
It’s probably the originally way coffee was made and produces a dark and very strong tasting coffee. I’ll warn you, it’s not for everybody.
Coffee is ground by hand, then placed in a pot called an ibrik with sugar and water. It’s brought to a boil three times than poured into a cup.
Vietnamese (Flat Drip/Ca Phe)
A Vietnamese filter is basically a small coffee pot that looks like a hit and sits on top of your coffee mug. Inside is a chamber for the coffee and room for hot water. All you need is coffee and condensed milk and is a favorite among people who like their coffee strong, yet sweet.
How many different ways have you brewed your coffee? I’m at eleven different ways, looks like I have some work to do.
What’s your favorite brewing method? What brewing methods did I miss?