7 Coffee Brewing Methods for an Easy, Balanced Cup of Java
These days, there are countless modern coffee brewing methods - how do you know which tool is suitable for the job? Whether you're using a French press, pour-over, or other coffee techniques, follow our quick rundown of coffee brewing methods to get your brew just right.
Most delicious ways to brew coffee
#1: Espresso machine
While we used to only see espresso machines at hipster coffee shops and Italian restaurants, many people have started brewing espresso at home, too. Though the machines still tend to be one of the most expensive coffee-making methods, they've come down significantly in price. A base model may be a solid investment in the long run if you have a twice-a-day Starbucks habit that traditional coffee just won't satisfy.
The primary function of all espresso machines is quite similar, regardless of the model. Pressurized hot water pushes through a chamber filled with finely ground beans, which exits through a filter and into a mug.
- Brew time: Commercial machines need up to 40 minutes to heat, while an at-home appliance may be ready as quickly as 3. Once you fill the chamber with coffee and press start, your perfect shot brews in less than 30 seconds.
- Best grind: Fine, consistent coffee grinds that slightly clump in your fingers if you pinch them.
- Brew flavor: Strong and sharp, with a robust flavor.
- Use if: You like strong, small hits of coffee, milky lattes, and plenty of caffeine.
- Avoid if: You don't like hard-to-clean machines that take up a lot of counter space.
#2: Moka pot
You'll see the Moka pot in most high-end kitchen stores, and as of late, it's evolved into one of the most popular types of coffee brewing. It's cheaper than an espresso machine but with all the kick and fame of a traditional shot of espresso.
The Moka pot has a multi-chambered brew process. First, water boils in the pot's bottom chamber, building steam that makes the water rise. The pressure then pushes the water up through the coffee grinds and into the upper chamber.
While it's not quite the same as a shot of espresso, it's so close you won't be able to tell.
- Brew time: Once the water boils, the coffee brews in under 5 minutes.
- Best grind: Slightly under medium - coarser than fine espresso grind, but finer than drip coffee grinds.
- Brew flavor: Strong, sharp, and close to espresso.
- Use if: You want a cheaper, more portable version of espresso at home.
- Avoid if: You don't like intense, almost harsh espresso flavors.
The Aeropress is a fairly new addition to the coffee brewing community and boasts a cult following, especially for those wanting travel brews. Many swear it's the best cup of coffee they've tasted!
This small, portable tool uses hand pressure to push coffee through a fine filter and into your cup much faster than drip without losing its strength or flavor.
- Brew time: From pour to press, it takes 60 seconds, once your water is boiled, of course.
- Best grind: Start with medium ground coffee, but almost any grind is great brewed in an Aeropress!
- Brew flavor: Clean, smooth taste with richness.
- Use if: You like to travel or want a fast cup.
- Avoid if: You don't like using paper filters. (Though they offer mesh filters that fit Aeropresses now.)
#4: French press
One of the methods of brewing coffee that acquired a few diehard fans is the French press. The French press method is easy, inexpensive, and serves up an extremely bold cup of joe, full of rich coffee oil.
This immersion brew method involves pouring the hot water into the French press and letting the grounds sit directly in the water for several minutes. Once ready, you press down a mesh plunger to filter the grinds away from the delicious brew.
- Brew time: Once the water boils, steeping in the French press and plunging takes around 10 minutes total.
- Best grind: Use coarse coffee grinds to ensure your beans aren't over-extracted.
- Brew flavor: Smooth, flavorful, and with unavoidable sediment - you'll either love it or hate it.
- Use if: You love bold, bitter coffee with plenty of caffeine.
- Avoid if: You travel or don't want to clean up a mess - presses don't have a simple paper filter to toss, making cleaning a little more work.
#5: Pour-over coffee maker
One of the ways to make coffee that hipster coffee shops love is the pour-over technique. A pour-over coffee maker is incredibly convenient and portable. It offers java drinkers a perfectly soft, vibrant cup of drip coffee, best made with a gooseneck kettle for tight control over your pour.
Because the oils filter out of your cup during the coffee brewing process, pour-over brewing methods suit delicate beans, allowing you to notice the more subtle flavor notes.
- Brew time: Once your water boils, your cup brews in less than 5 minutes.
- Best grind: A medium to medium-fine grind provides the perfect extraction.
- Brew flavor: Delicate and bright.
- Use if: You often travel or enjoy cheap convenience.
- Avoid if: You like extra strong-tasting coffee or want to make a big batch.
#6: Cold brew
Cold-brew drip coffee making is a summer favorite, especially in hot climates, where somedays a hot cup of coffee is altogether unappealing. We make cold brew by dripping cold filtered water through fresh grinds for an extended time - 10 hours or overnight. The ground coffee sits directly in the cold water in either a cold brew coffee maker or a simple mason jar or sealed container.
Cold coffee brewing methods make a super smooth cup of coffee with no acidity or bitterness. Milk and sugar aren't necessary, though some still prefer to add it.
- Brew time: A minimum of 10 hours and up to 24, though you can batch a big recipe to keep in the fridge.
- Best grind: Use coarse, thick ground coffee that won't over-extract with the extended brew time.
- Brew flavor: Strong and intense but lacking bitter and acidic flavors.
- Use if: You live in a hotter region or are sensitive to caffeine crashes (Cold brew offers more even energy.)
- Avoid if: You don't like to prepare way ahead of time, don't have much fridge space, and want an instant cup ready.
#7: Turkish coffee
Turkish coffee brewing methods have been around for centuries, dating back to the start of the Ottoman empire. Making Turkish coffee is reasonably straightforward, but there is some skill required to do it well.
After placing water and ground coffee into a Turkish coffee pot, you simmer the brew 2 or 3 times for a very intense flavored coffee topped with thick foam.
- Brew time: Because you cook the pot over the heat, Turkish coffee is ready in just 3 or 4 minutes.
- Best grind: Keep the grind as fine as powder as the brew time is short.
- Brew flavor: Sharp, strong, and thick - this isn't for delicate coffee drinkers.
- Use if: You love strong coffee and loads of caffeine.
- Avoid if: You like clean coffee flavor - go for a pour-over instead.
Final notes & best brewing methods
All of these brew methods have a little something different to offer, and the right choice largely depends on the way you like your coffee to taste.
If you prefer a bright and delicate cup, pour-over coffee maker is your best choice, with the Aeropress being a close second.
For a heavy, robust, and oil-filled cup of joe, French press, espresso brews, or a Turkish pot are great tools to keep in your coffee toolbox.
Cheers to well-brewed coffee!
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