There is nothing like the perfect cup of steaming (or cold) coffee to kick start the day; but of the different brewing methods for coffee, which is the best for the right combination of strength and flavor? Depending on who you are or where you live, there may be more to making a great cup of java than meets the eye.
Do you prefer intensity, a smooth flavor, or a lower acidity level? Did you realize that different brewing methods for coffee influence the extraction process in their own ways? Here is a breakdown of a few inexpensive and user-friendly methods that are currently trending.
Also known as the pour over method, drip coffee is made by pouring hot water over ground beans that seep through a filter and into a pot or mug.
As home brewing becomes more popular, we’re seeing instruments pop out from every corner, like the Kone and Chemex. The flavor, strength, and oiliness that result will depend on the filter and dripper, the amount of coffee used per brew, the water temperature (hotter water causes a quicker extraction), and the manner that the water is poured (all at once or in small intervals).
Some of the various drip processes may make us question whether we’re coffee drinkers or home scientists.
French Press Coffee
The French press is a popular and recognizable choice after the automatic coffee machine. In a nutshell, ground coffee is completely immersed in hot water and plunged down before the liquid is poured.
To prevent your drink from turning murky and bitter, use coarsely ground beans. (They stay trapped by the plunger.) Also, as with other methods, it is recommended to heat the water to approximately 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit, or just below boiling point. Ballpark this temperature by setting the boiling water aside to cool for just a minute. Then pour the hot water over your ground coffee.
The longer the grounds sit in the water, the stronger, richer, and bolder (or bitter) the drink will become. Also, you may want to start with a 1:10 coffee to water ratio (and adjust from there) to find the flavor that will satisfy your palate.
Another full immersion method requires a little tool that looks like a French press and syringe hybrid, called an AeroPress. Unlike the French press, you won’t need to worry about small bits of grounds entering your drink. It’s also quicker (requiring a few short minutes) and creates a crisp taste with little oils or acidity.
This is among the newest devices on the market and comes with a scoop, funnel, plunger, and filters for an easy experience. The scoop will help you measure just the right amount of coffee for the cup or serving size and the filter will ensure only rich, smooth, eye-opening liquid enters your mug.
Has the term “cold-brewed” been buzzing around your head lately? Few drinks are more refreshing on a hot day than iced coffee, and this is currently one of the most popular brewing methods for coffee; but the cold brew is something a little extra special. It produces a smooth, mild flavor that is low in acidity.
Unlike old-fashioned iced coffee that is brewed hot and cooled down, this method requires the ground coffee to sit in cool water for a longer amount of time. In fact, cold brew takes around 12 hours, so beginning the process at night will ensure your cup is ready by the time you’re running out the door in the morning.
Starting with coarse coffee, measure out a close bean to water ratio (around one parts coffee to four parts water) since cool water extracts coffee slower than hot water. Pour the water over the ground coffee and store covered on the counter or fridge overnight. In the morning, strain the liquid from the grounds and you’re all set!
Since a greater quantity of ground coffee is used in the cold-brew method, you may want to dilute it first with milk, water, and/or ice. It all depends on your taste and caffeine preferences.
Moka Pot Coffee
The best coffee that I have ever tasted was in northern Italy, so I’m not surprised that Italy is where this method originated. Unlike drip coffee, which relies on gravity, the Moka pot creates steam that travels up into the filter with the ground coffee and collects in a separate chamber.
The Moka Pot, which is short for macchinetta or “small machine,” is made up of three main parts: the lower chamber, the filter, and the upper chamber. Pour water into the bottom chamber (the pot should have an indication line). Then pile a loose mound of coffee in the filter, so it pokes just above the top, and fit the filter inside the bottom chamber. Screw on the top part and place your pot on the stove over low heat. Once you hear a soft hissing sound, sneak a peek inside the top chamber (just be careful, it will be hot) and if the coffee is sitting inside, turn off the heat and enjoy!
In addition to a regular mug, the Moka pot can be used to make espresso. Of course, you won’t get the same punch that you would experience from a high-quality espresso machine, but for fractions of the cost, this little wonder does a nice job.