If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we’d better get used to doing things at home. If you previously relied on your favorite barista for your morning cuppa, we’re betting that making a decent cup of coffee on your own was high on your list of priorities when the pandemic hit. Or maybe you just bought a little 8 cup machine and called it a day. Either way, if you are interested in making a great cup of coffee at home, there are five brewing methods that will help you achieve your preferred brew.
Of course, depending on your personal tastes and level of dedication to the craft of coffee, all this will vary. But that’s why we’re here! To help you find your ideal cup.
There are many different brewing methods that can help you achieve your desired cup of coffee. Manual methods of brewing tend to allow for better control over the brewing process as well as maintaining a level of quality that is simply not achievable in many cafes, so you may even find a new favorite way to drink your coffee.
So here they are, the five most popular ways to brew coffee at home:
- French press
The best way to achieve the optimal Pour-over or Drip coffee is by way of a coffee cone. This is essentially the way a drip coffee machine works, but without the forced water coming from a chamber and instead, being poured directly over the grounds in a paper filter that is supported by a coffee cone.
The forces of gravity cause the water to seep through the grounds, “brewing” as it does so, and collect in the chamber, pot, or cup below.
Coffee cones are typically made of plastic, glass, stainless steel, or even ceramic. The shapes and materials of these cones (and the filters used in conjunction with them) tend to influence the resulting flavor of the coffee.
Ideally, you’ll use a medium-fine to coarse ground and about 3 tablespoons of coffee to produce a single cup. These accessories are easy to clean, fairly portable, and are fairly quick at 1-3 minutes brew time.
The French press method was invented in 1929 and is usually considered one of the simplest and quickest ways to brew consistently high-quality cups of coffee. Many connoisseurs will tell you that this method brews a superior flavor profile because the grounds are steeped before being strained.
This gives the opportunity for more of the coffee’s oils to be extracted, resulting in a more robust flavor profile.
Use coarse ground beans with this method, and 2-2.5 tablespoons of coffee for each cup desired. The French press method results in pure and clean flavors that are robust and complex.
Benefits of using this method include the ease of use, ease of cleaning, and extremely portable style of the method. Plus, there’s no filter required!
The Chemex is another type of Pour-over, in the form of a glass flask. It was invented in 1941 and uses a special Chemex paper filter. This particular filter can be up to 20-30% heavier than “regular” coffee filters.
The method is similar to the coffee cone method where hot water is poured over the grounds and the coffee drips into the bottom of the flask. Except for this time, the flask is its own carafe!
For the Chemex method, use medium-coarse grounds and 6 tablespoons of coffee. The method takes about 4 minutes because there is more coffee and more water involved, but the end result is a balanced and cleaner/refined tasting brew.
There are different sizes of Chemex glass flasks and they’re a bit harder to clean, but the result is quite different from the coffee cone when compared side-by-side.
The Chemex is portable but fragile and requires special filters.
The AeroPress is also known as a “plunger” or simply, “press” method. Launched in 2005, this method is relatively new.
The plastic AeroPress comes in 3 parts. The brew chamber consists of a coffee basket with coffee grounds. Hot water is added to steep the coffee, and then the plunger is pushed down to force the brewed coffee through the filter and into the cup.
You’ll need a fine-medium ground for this method, as the device is a lot smaller than the others we have listed. You’ll receive a sweet and full-bodied espresso-like coffee from AeroPress. It’s fairly quick, at just 1-2 minutes total, and just requires 2 tablespoons of ground for a single cup of coffee.
This method is easy, extremely portable (so great for travelers or campers) but does require micro paper filters or a fine metal filter specifically for an AeroPress.
The stovetop method is often called the percolator method. It is also fairly old, originally patented in 1933, and uses steam pressure from boiled water passing through coffee grounds in the middle chamber of the pot. The brewed coffee will collect in the higher chamber. This method is the most similar to the traditional brew pot.
Use a fine-medium ground for the percolator method, with 2.5-3 tablespoons of coffee. You just have to wait for the water to boil here, so it takes about 5 minutes. Don’t wait much longer or you may wind up with grounds in your brew!
The result will be an espresso-style coffee that is strong and can be bitter depending on how long you leave it to boil. Pro tip: you’ll need a gas stove for this method, which is also quite popular with campers who have tiny portable propane tanks. You’ll wind up with a single or double shot, no filter required!