Drip and sip?
Press to destress?
Pour yourself more?
There are SO MANY great coffee brewing methods! I, for one, am very glad, because each method has its benefits.
Let’s look at some!
This is by far the most used method in the US. This method easily lends itself to making larger quantities of coffee. It was popularized in the 1970’s in this country when automatic drip coffee makers replaced percolators in households in America. The new drip method was preferred because percolators over-extracted the coffee in many cases, causing it to be bitter.
This is a principle I have stressed in previous posts, but it is worth repeating. The longer coffee is exposed to hot water, the more the bitter attributes of the coffee are extracted.
So, drip coffee became the household standard in the heart of the first-wave coffee movement in America. This process has changed very little over the years, and is still the most-used home brewing method in America.
This was my go-to drink for a very long time – just a great cup of drip coffee. It offers the most convenient way to make a cup – or several cups of coffee.
Grab an automatic, programmable drip coffee maker here.
So – Drip and sip!
Pressing methods for brewing coffee generally utilize hot water, approximately 200º F, poured over the coffee grounds. This mixture is then stirred and allowed to sit for some amount of time before being pressed.
Pressing the coffee refers to the act of forcing the freshly brewed liquid through the grounds while simultaneously separating them from one another. This allows the user to pour the liquid coffee and leave the grounds behind.
Voila! Press to destress!
The French Press is a widely-loved method for pressing coffee. The device used is called by the same name and uses a course grind of coffee.
The French Press makes great coffee! One distinction is the lack of a paper filter. There is a metal mesh-type permafilter as part of the device. This permafilter allows the oils which are trapped by paper filters in other brewing methods to pass through to the liquid coffee.
The result is a smooth, espresso-like beverage with the ability to dial in the strength according to your personal preferences, with practice.
One drawback to French Press is, unless it is the only method you use in your home, you will need to keep different grinds of coffee at home to be able to switch between methods from day to day.
If you’re like me, you would need multiple grinds available from hour to hour, but that’s another story for another post.
Another potential drawback to this method is that it can be difficult to keep the coffee hot during the brewing time, especially if you prefer really hot coffee.
Sometimes you have to get a little creative to keep it hot. I have seen towels, blankets, and other things used to keep the coffee hot during the brewing time.
The AeroPress is, for lack of a more descriptive word, a large syringe. Similar to French Press, the hot water is added to the coffee grounds inside the unit, stirred and the mixture is allowed to sit for period of time.
Next, the mixture is pressed, this time through a small, paper filter directly into your cup, or another decanter if you prefer.
The AeroPress is extremely versatile. This super syringe can even make espresso (super concentrated coffee), coffee concentrate which can be then diluted to the preferred strength, or pressed to drink at the original strength.
The AeroPress is designed to make one cup of coffee or espresso at a time. The size of the device is perfect for taking to work, in luggage on a trip, or anywhere you might want a quick cup!
The coffee produced is robust, full of flavor, and smooth. Because it takes less time to brew than the French Press, temperature loss is less of an issue with this method.
The AeroPress has clean-up advantages over the French Press as well. A quick push to eject the coffee puck and a rinse of the rubber end of the syringe and the filter basket, and you’re ready for your next press. There is only one size, and one style. Get it here.
When I drink drip coffee…
(Ha!, I just said when, as if it doesn’t happen all day, every day.)
…I always add espresso for added flavor. I find that not to be necessary with the AeroPress. My coffee has great, full flavor all on its own.
Pour Over Coffee
This method allows for great control and precision in the brewing process, which lends itself well to bringing out origin flavor notes.
The hot water is poured from a gooseneck kettle over a bed of freshly-ground coffee. This extraction passes through a paper filter before falling into a cup, usually the cup or mug in which you plan to serve the coffee.
If you like really hot coffee, you may decide that this method leaves a little to be desired in the heat area. The time waiting for the water to pass through the grounds allows for some heat to escape, so balancing speed and extraction rate takes practice to avoid a “too cool” cup. Extracting too quickly using the pour over method will produce weak coffee due to the limited time the water is in contact with the coffee.
When you combine fresh single-origin coffee with a practiced hand, the Pour Over method is hard to beat.
Clean up is quick and easy with this method as well. Simply discard the filter and used coffee grounds, or save the grounds for compost, and wash the V-60 Dripper for the next use.
That’s it! Pour yourself more!
This machine forces water through the compact bed of tamped coffee, producing a super-concentrated coffee beverage only a few ounces in volume.
Nuova Simonelli makes some of the best machines out there. While the Aurelia II we use in our shop is probably not suitable for installation in your home, the Oscar II provides coffee-shop quality with an in-home footprint.
The lack of a paper filter in this method leaves many of the oils from the coffee in the final drink. This robust drink is used by many people around the world use as their pick-me-up throughout the day.
Let’s Get Inspired
This is obviously not a comprehensive list, but the most common methods of brewing coffee are here (pulled espresso shots included).
My favorite part of this conversation is trying the different methods so, get out there and try some. You can find most of the equipment needed to do these for home use, but even if you can’t, your local coffee shop, like Sourdough Cuppa Joe, will be happy to help!
What’s your favorite? Why? Leave a comment and let us know! Let’s inspire one another!