There’s no shortage of options for creating an amazing cup of coffee at home. From the tried-and-true automatic drip coffee machine to a range of advanced brewing technologies, coffee enthusiasts have more options than ever to transform their favorite coffee into an exceptional beverage. So many, in fact, that the options can be overwhelming. Here we break down 5 coffee brewing options that will create the perfect cup of coffee.
Pour-over coffee isn’t fundamentally different from a drip machine — You take hot water and steep ground, roasted coffee beans in it for a certain amount of time, et voila. Coffee.
The difference is that you can control every variable. A Mr. Coffee-type drip machine heats water more or less to boiling, and drips it right down the middle of a pile of ground beans. That now-near-boiling water starts making a path down through the grounds, to the filter. The next drop does the same thing, and the next, and the next. Eventually, water starts collecting in the bottom of the pile, and soaking through more and more of the grounds. At the same time, as the water level climbs inside the filter, it’s exposed to more and more pores in the paper/wire mesh, and can flow out faster. It’s all worked out to self-regulate so that the machine can soak more or less all of the coffee and drip out slowly enough to brew well without overflowing. The problem is that the coffee on the most direct path from drip to bottom gets the most brewing and extraction. The coffee up around the top edges gets the least. So you end up with a mixture of over- and under-extraction in every pot.
By hand-pouring, you can first tweak the temperature. Most people seem to recommend brewing somewhere under the boiling point. Then you can tweak the pour pattern. You don’t have to pour right down the middle — you can soak the grounds much more evenly. Depending on the filter holder you’re using, you can also tweak the brew time. You don’t have to rely on the interactions between drip speed and filter shape/density predetermined by the respective manufacturers. With a clever dripper, for example, it all stays in the grounds, brewing, until you pop it onto a cup, releasing the plug and letting it flow out. You can pour faster, forcing the liquid level higher in the filter, letting the pressure push it through the filter faster for a shorter brew time. Or vice versa, slowing it down.
Coffee drinkers around the world have been using French presses for over a century, well before it became a trendy thing to do.
The method entails putting coffee grounds into a carafe, pouring in hot water, letting it steep, and then pushing down a plunger to separate the brewed coffee for drinking.The result is a satisfying and rich taste. The texture and feel of French press coffee in the mouth is much different from pour over coffee, as it’s thicker — this is due to the water staying in contact with the grounds from start to finish.The amount of oils drawn from the coffee during brewing are more pronounced with a French press. If you’re looking for a great way to produce a more intense, rich cup than what comes out of your automatic drip coffee maker, the French press is an excellent first step.
The Aeropress is a piston-style brewer that forces coffee through a thin paper filter directly into a cup. It brews just a single serving of coffee at a time, but its size and durability make it a favorite device among travelers and campers. Aeropress coffee has a clean taste with clearly defined flavor notes thanks to the paper filter that stops any oil and sediment from getting in the cup. The Aeropress is unique because there are two distinct ways of brewing coffee with it. The original, intended style is now called “standard” method. It involves placing the Aeropress on top of a cup, filling it with water and coffee, inserting the syringe-like plunger and pressing. The other method, called “inverted”, was discovered by members of the coffee community. It starts with the Aeropress standing upside down on top of the plunger, filled with coffee and water, then flipped onto the cup to be pressed.
The Aeropress’s versatility gives it a major advantage in the ring. People have created hundreds of recipes by adjusting variables like grind size and brew time, resulting in a wide range of unique cups. The Aeropress can even make coffee concentrate similar in taste to espresso. It is the perfect brewing device for curious coffee drinkers and experimenters.
A siphon coffee maker is that intriguing device that looks like something out of a school chemistry lab that you’ve noticed on the counter in a few super-trendy hipster coffee shops.
A siphon coffee maker is a full immersion brew system. There are two chambers, and the first is filled with water. By heating the bottom chamber, vapor pressure forces the water to rise into the upper chamber. The water, now mixed with the grounds, is pulled back down into the lower chamber (thanks to gravity and a drop in pressure, the “vacuum” effect), through a filter which sits at the bottom of the upper chamber, and the bottom chamber in turn fills with brewed coffee.
The Moka pot, popularly known as a stovetop espresso maker, can brew a very bold cup when used correctly. While they may not be as fast or convenient as modern brewers, moka pots have been around for decades, in large part due to their reputation for making a strong cup of coffee (as it should be).
Moka pots are not percolators, but rather they force hot water under mild pressure up through the ground coffee and into the top carafe for serving. Coffee from stovetop pots generally tastes very similar to espresso brewed with electric pump machines; however, typically without much crema due to the lower brewing pressure.