Brewing Methods

Credit to perfectdailygrind, adapted by Buna

There are a lot of coffee brewing methods.   Which is the best?  The most suitable to you.  With good quality beans and water, a good technique and some love coffee will always be good.  Let´s see some methods:

V60

Named for its characteristic 60° cone, this is a popular pour over/drip brewing device. It offers consistency and a delightfully clean flavour profile. It’s also easy to experiment with extraction parameters, such as water temperature, grind size, and coffee to water ratio.

Use a medium to fine grind size and, after letting it bloom, pour water in concentric circles directly on the coffee bed. You may want to try pulse pouring, where you pour small amounts of water at a time.

Brew if: You want a clean cup, you want to manipulate recipes, and you don’t mind a little bit of a challenge.

coffee brewingReady for use: a Hario V60 on a pour over stand. Credit: coffeebyed

The Chemex

The Chemex is, visually speaking, a show-stopper. In fact, it even has a place in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. What’s more, unlike many other pour over devices, you can brew up to eight cups at a time.

As for the coffee, the great thing about this brewer is its filters. They’re thicker than average, keeping lots of oil out of the final cup. However, due to the Chemex’s deep v-shape, it can be harder to ensure consistency in brewing.

Oh, and unlike most pour overs, a Chemex normally works better with a medium-coarse grind.

Brew if: You value extremely clean coffee, you want to brew pour over coffee for more than one person at a time, consistency is not your highest priority.

coffee brewingCoffee being brewed on a Chemex. Credit: E.J. Schiro

Moving onto immersion…

The Clever Dripper

This device might look more like a pour over, but it’s actually a combination of filter and immersion. With a valve at the bottom, you immerse the coffee grinds in water completely so that extraction can take place. Then, when you’re ready, you open the valve and the coffee filters out. In terms of grind size, you’ll want a medium-coarse setting.

Brew if: You want the best of both worlds, or you really value consistency.

coffee brewingCoffee being brewed on a Clever Dripper. Credit: Prevail Union

The French Press

One of the most well-known and simple coffee-making tools around, the French press is often (although not always) looked down on by specialty drinkers. However, a few simple tricks can improve the flavour profile.

Most importantly of all, make sure that after pressing, you decant the coffee. Failure to do so will leave the brew exposed to the grounds, continuing to extract. And since bitter compounds are the last ones to extract, you can end up with a mouth-puckering cup of coffee.

Normally a course grind is recommended, but some people report better results when they experiment with grind and immersion time.

Brew if: You like body and a simple brewing method.

french pressSharing a French press coffee. Credit: Rachel Gorjestani

The AeroPress

A lightweight, portable, and durable innovation from Aerobie, Inc., the AeroPress is loved by people who make coffee on the go. Whether hiking, sailing, or even flying a hot air balloon, it offers good coffee quickly.

You can expect a full-bodied brew from this device, but there’s plenty of room for experimentation. While the AeroPress is easy for beginners, it’s also the only brewing device to have its own world championship (other than the espresso machine, of course).

Brew if: You want coffee on the go or an easy full-bodied drink.

coffee brewingReady for plunging: an Aeropress coffee. Credit: Michael Flores

Time for the espresso – or “espresso-ish” – devices…

The Home Espresso Machine

For those who really love their espresso, there are few substitutes for a home espresso machine. However, it’s a hefty investment – both in terms of the initial machine and any add-ons. A new, high-quality prosumer espresso machine will start from around US $500 in price.

Alternatively, you can purchase portable/handheld espresso makers. These will have less features than a home espresso machine and can be of varying quality. However, they are also typically cheaper and can be used when camping or travelling.

Of course, brewing espresso coffee is completely different from pour over or immersion: you’re talking extra fine, ground coffee that you tamp before placing in the portafilter; a short and sweet brew time; and great opportunities for recipe manipulation (depending on your machine quality).

Brew if: You really love your espresso, and don’t mind the price tag.

coffee brewingBrewing espresso at home. Credit: Michael Flores

The Bialetti Moka Pot

Just like the French press, this traditional brewing device has a bad reputation – and just like the French press, a few simple tweaks can improve your brew.

Place finely ground coffee within the chamber, add water, and put the brewer on the hob: it’s really that simple. Yet traditionally brewed Moka pots result in burnt, ashy brews. To make sure this doesn’t happen to your coffee, heat the water beforehand. Using room temperature or cold water will leave the coffee grounds on a hot metal surface for too long.

As for the coffee, the Moka pot is designed as a stove-top espresso maker. It won’t create as much pressure as an espresso machine, however – and pressure is critical for espresso.

Brew if: You want espresso-like coffee without paying too much.

coffee brewingCoffee brewed on a Moka pot. Credit: Annie Spratt

Now let’s look at some more unusual brewing devices… (note: these aren’t designed for beginners!)

The Vac Pot Syphon

If there’s any brewing device that will make you feel like a scientist, it’s the vac pot syphon. A mixture of immersion and filter technology, it features a live flame, several glass chambers, and the powers of science. It’s often described as producing a full-bodied yet clear cup.

Read our detailed brewing guide here.

Brew if: You don’t mind hard work, love both body and clarity, and want the steampunk vibe.

coffee brewingThree syphons decorate this brew bar. Credit: Sabri Tuczu

The Ibrik/Cezve

This unique, deeply historical brewing device hails from Turkey and what used to be the Ottoman Empire. It’s known for its bitter flavour, elaborate brewing ritual, and extremely fine grind – so fine that you’ll possibly have to buy a specialist grinder.

To brew, you’ll need to buy an ibrik or cezve. And water and (optionally) sugar to the cezve and heat it on the hob or in hot sand. As it boils, add your ground coffee. Wait for the boiling brew to reach the top of the cezve, quickly remove it from the heat, and then put it back. Do this three times, and then you’re ready to serve it!

The result is a full-bodied, traditional coffee with the grounds still in – and a demonstration that will impress any guests or viewers. You’ll also hear it called Turkish coffee.

Brew if: You want a cultural experience, like bitter or sugary coffee, and don’t mind a lot of hard work.

IbrikA barista brews coffee with an Ibrik. Credit: Edgar González for Oro Maya Café

There are many more brewing devices than we’ve mentioned here: third wave coffee is an industry marked by innovation. But these are the main ones you’ll come across.

Written by Tanya Newton.

Adapted by Buna

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