Coffee Making Methods for the Modern Age - Try Coffee
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Coffee Making Methods for the Modern Age

If you’d asked someone how to brew coffee a couple of decades ago, you’d probably get an answer about using a drip coffee maker or perhaps an espresso machine. The answer was simple and the process of making the coffee was equally easy. That isn’t the case with coffee brewing today. Coffee can be made in an Aeropress, French press, vacuum pot, espresso machine, Chemex, or a percolator. Those aren’t even all of the options that are out there. But it does give you an idea of just how far the process of brewing coffee has come and what options you have to make a latte or cold brew that fits your unique tastes and preferences.

You might wonder whether it really matters which brewing method you choose, and the truth is that it does. At least it does if you care about the taste, texture, and quality of the coffee you enjoy throughout the day. Any coffee lover can tell you how the brewing method you use has an effect on the taste, aroma, texture, and freshness of the final cup you bring to your lips. Sometimes the method also determines the nutritional content and number of antioxidants you are exposed to when consuming your favorite coffee.

Today, we are going to delve into some of the most popular brewing methods out in the world today. We’ll look at what to expect from each method, how long the brewing process takes, and what items you need on hand to brew coffee on your own. If you aren’t sure each coffee brewing method meets your needs, this article will take you through your options and give you a better idea of what will work best for you.

Simple Brewing Through Boiling

While many of the coffee methods available today take advantages of all sorts of gadgets and accessories, there are some methods that are simple and easy to do without all the extras. Long ago, boiling water was the typical method for making coffee and that can still be done today. While you may not be able to customize your drink quite as much, it is simple and for some people that’s all that matters.

To make coffee, the main things you need are ground coffee, water, and a source of heat. If you ever find yourself in a situation without any sort of coffee maker, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a good cup of joe. We’ll look at two different methods that are among the simplest available.

Cowboy Brewing Method

When you think about the origin of coffee, this method might be what comes to mind. It’s old and it’s not fancy but it does work, and you don’t need a lot of extra items to make it happen. You might see this method used when out on a camping trip if there is no other option for making coffee. As long as you have a saucepan and a flame, you’re good to go.

In the simplest of terms, the process involves filling up a pot with water, heating it until it boils, adding some ground coffee, removing it from the heat, and then allowing it to brew for a few minutes. After the grounds settle down at the bottom of your pot, simply pour the coffee into a mug with a gentle hand. Nothing could be easier.

The brewing time for cowboy coffee is only four or five minutes, along with times for the grinds to settle and time to slowly pour the coffee. This might be creeping up on 10 minutes, but you still get coffee. The best grind for this sort of coffee is medium or a coarser grind. Fine coffee grounds don’t work well with this.

Turkish Coffee Brewing

Turkish coffee has been around for ages and is an extremely strong brew. This is a method that seems like it would be simple, but there is a skill level needed to do it right. The most common method for making Turkish coffee requires finely ground coffee, a Turkish coffee pot, and water. This is a unique coffee brewing method in that you have to brew it numerous times. This leads to a taste that people either go crazy for or can’t stand. It’s strong and has a distinct taste and a thick layer of foam on the top.

One of the advantages of this method of coffee brewing is that it takes less than five minutes to brew a cup of coffee. You’ll want to use a fine grind of coffee, perhaps finer than you would expect. The grind looks like a powder and you may require a special grinder to do it right. Once the coffee is done, the brew will be sharp, thick, and aromatic. It’s a great option for anyone who appreciates strong black coffee.

Drip & Filtered Coffee Brewing Options

More than any other method, drip coffee has come a long way. Every other week there is a new dripper being invented and tried by coffee aficionados who appreciate experimenting on new tastes. Today, we’re going to look at pour over, drip machine, cold brew, and all the options in between. The basic idea behind this sort of brewing is that water is poured over freshly ground coffee beans which rest in a filter of one kind or another. Gravity helps the water go through the grounds to make a light-bodied, clean brew.

With drip style brewing, most of the drippers are made for portability. They are inexpensive and small, perfect for brewing up smaller batches of excellent tasting coffee. Some of the most popular options include the electric percolator, Vietnamese dripper, Kalita Wave, Beehouse dripper, Hario V60, Melitta Ready Set Joe dripper, and cold-drip. We’ll start with the old faithful, the electric percolator.

Electric Percolator Brewing

There’s nothing new or modern about the percolator. Nearly everyone has headed into a nondescript diner and had a cup of percolated coffee. There are people out there who enjoy this sort of coffee, but they tend to be in the minority. Most major coffee lovers find that percolator coffee is over-extracted and has a bitter taste. However, it’s still a method used today and worth looking at, even if you aren’t a fan of the brew that it produces.

In most cases, you are supposed to percolate your coffee for about ten minutes. However, this is often far too long for most people. Drop that number by half or more if you want the best results. As far as grind texture goes, you want to go with something coarse for this coffee. The brew itself is nothing to write home about but it will do in a pinch.

Brewing with the Chemex

One of the things that makes the Chemex stand out is its design. It looks less like a coffee maker and more like an accent piece for your table. However, the design is the way it is for a good reason, it makes some great coffee. Some people prefer a Chemex over a dripper because you can make multiple cups of coffee at once. You can bring it out and make coffee for all your guests at a party.

However, this is a dripper that isn’t as simple to use as other option. You can’t just toss in grounds and coffee and let it brew. The good news is that once you understand the specifics of water temperature, coffee volume, and grind size, you may find that this is some of the best coffee you’ve ever experienced. It’s definitely a top contender in the fight for the best coffee, along with using the Hario V60, Aeropress, and French press.

If you want coffee and you want it fast, the Chemex brewer may be your new best friends. After it’s set up and ready, it takes less than four minutes to have an excellent cup of coffee ready for you. The proper grind size is going to vary based on your preference, but it tends to be closer to a medium or coarse for the best results. Another thing to note is that Chemex filters are different than traditional filters. They are much thicker in order to offer a richer tasting cup of joe. However, this method does take practice to get right so be prepared for a learning curve before you get the perfect brew.

Hario V60 Coffee Brewing

This dripper method of brewing coffee uses a light, small device so you can make coffee on the go. It also makes a great cup of coffee, so there isn’t a lot to complain about. What makes this dripper innovative and popular is that the cone dripping system is made up of a large hole on the bottom with spiral ribs along the side. All you need to do is put in a paper filter, add your grounds, and you’re ready to go. There is technique associated with doing this right, but it takes only a few tries to get it down.

This is another brewing method that takes next to no time. You’ll spend 30 seconds blooming the coffee and three minutes pouring it, perfect for that first morning cup of coffee. The grounds you’ll want for this type of coffee is medium to fine. When you put that coffee cup to your lips, you will notice a lack of bitterness and a rich flavor. While it does take time to learn to use the Hario, you also have complete control over the brew you get in the end.

Brewing with the Bee House Dripper

This is another version of Japanese pour over brewer that is pretty popular in certain circles. It looks great aesthetically, is simple to use, and makes a pretty fantastic cup of coffee. If you’re concerned about the Hario V60 having a steep learning curve, the Bee house is easier to work with. It makes an excellent option for someone who is just getting started with pour over coffee. Even if you make a mistake or two, you’ll still end up with coffee that tastes great.

The average amount of time for brewing with the Bee house is three to three and a half minutes. The grind of your beans should be medium fine. You want it to be just a touch finer than the grind for drip coffee. The taste of this coffee is nice and clean, but due to draining slowly, there is a lot of flavor in it. You will need to practice with the Bee house but it isn’t overly complicated like other drippers can be.

Kalita Wave Dripper Option

One of the biggest competitors of the Hario V60 is the Kalita Wave. It has similarities to the Hario with a cone shaped dripping method, but it has a flat-bed rather than being conical in shape. What this means is that it’s easier to make errors. However, this is becoming seriously popular for home dripping and does ensure a great tasting coffee beverage when all is said and done.

The amount of time this brewing method takes is similar to the Hario at around four minutes after blooming and brewing. The consistency of the grind should be fairly fine and similar to the consistency of table salt. Using the dripper is easy but making errors at first is likely. Once you master the basics of the dripper, you’ll be good to go with great drip coffee.

Brewing with a Vietnamese Drip Filter

Some of the past options require a dose of skill and experience, but the Vietnamese dripper is more laidback to use. This is a dripper designed for a single cup of coffee and takes around five minutes to create a great cup of coffee. If you often drink coffee on your own, this method might be perfect for your needs. It’s easy to make, all you have to do is pour in some water and let it do its thing. It’s also a great candidate for making fantastic iced coffee, if you appreciate a colder beverage.

It takes around four or five minutes to brew coffee with this device and you’ll want a fairly coarse ground. If you’re familiar with the grind for French press, think about that but go a tiny bit finer. There aren’t a lot of things to worry about in terms of technique with this dripper, all you have to do is follow a short list of instructions. The coffee you make will have a bite but be smooth and clean. Because there is no paper filter, the oils will be present in your coffee.

Melitta Ready Set Joe Dripper Brewing

This is one of the simplest drippers on the market and it’s convenient in all sorts of environments. It’s extremely popular among those who enjoy camping but don’t want to go as simple as cowboy coffee brewing. Basically, the item is a plastic cone that makes quick coffee. While it might not have the same quality as the more impressive brewers, it’s inexpensive and portable which is great for those who do a large amount of traveling.

Brewing takes only four or five minutes and you’ll want to use a medium fine grind for your beans. The taste is good, but perhaps not as quality as with an advanced dripper. It’s simple to use and requires no special skills to make a decent cup of coffee, no matter where you are.

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Clever Dripper Pour Over Brewing

There’s nothing that makes the Clever dripper stand out when you look at it, but if you spend some time admiring it, you’ll notice is has some characteristics of pour over and steeping brewing methods. It also includes a valve that will stop the brew from making its way into your cup until you want to activate it. All you need to do is add a filter, coffee, and water, then allow the brew to steep for as long as you would like. Whenever you are ready to indulge, put the dripper on top of your cup which will turn the valve and start the coffee moving into your mug.

The typical brewing process will take three or four minutes, but you can let it steep for much longer, if you prefer. You can also play with the grind of your coffee beans. Any medium or fine grind will work fine depending on your preferences. The taste of the final cup of coffee is similar to other pour over options. Some people rave about it while others think it’s merely passable.

Coffee Making Methods

Cold Brew Coffee Brewing

Pretty much everyone has heard of cold brew at this point, but you may not be entirely aware of how the brewing process works. To put the brewing process into perspective, it involves dripping cold water through fresh ground coffee for an extended period of time. It’s recommended that the coffee brew for at least eight hours, but periods of 12 hours, 18 hours, and even 24 hours are not unheard of.

If you haven’t tried cold brew, you might wonder why you’d go to all this trouble for cold coffee. However, the flavor of this brew is unlike any other. You aren’t going to get a mouthful of bitterness or acidity. The coffee is smooth, creamy, and has a sweetness to it that other coffee does not. Because of that, most people see no need to add sugar or milk, which lets you really experience the taste of the coffee beans you use.

Another great factor with cold brew is that once it’s brewed, you can keep it in your refrigerator and use it as you like. It will stay fresh for up to two weeks, so you don’t have to worry about brewing it as often as other option. That said, the brewing process takes anywhere from eight to 24 hours. The bean coarseness should be coarse, about the same as thick sand.

Brewing Nitro Coffee

Nitro (or nitrous) coffee is a brewing method that was derived from cold brew, so it does have some similarities. As you might guess based on the name, this coffee is infused with nitrogen, which changes the texture and taste of the coffee you drink in the end. You can expect coffee that tastes somewhat like cold brew coffee. However, it’s often a bit crisper and has additional sweetness. It also has a huge layer of foam on top like beer from tap.

If you are looking to make nitro on your own, you are going to want to brew cold brew to start out. From there, you need a nitro brew system but creating the final product takes only seconds. This coffee has extreme levels of caffeine and the nitrogen packs an additional punch when tasting it. However, setting up a system and learning how to pour properly can take some time and effort.

Brewing Coffee Using Steeping

Steeping and immersion brewing are the exact same thing, but no matter what you call it, it is one of the most popular methods of brewing coffee. Basically, this process involves mixing together hot water with coffee grinds and then allowing them to make the coffee. At that point, the grounds are removed from the water and tossed while the coffee is put in your mug to enjoy. It sounds simple because it is simple.

That said, there are things to pay attention to when steeping your brew. If it goes too long, it’s going to be overly bitter. On the other hand, steeping for too little time will result in coffee that is weak. The good news is that learning to steep correctly isn’t very difficult. There are several options for steeping coffee, and we’ll go over them below.

French Press Coffee Brewing

The French press has been around for ages and is as fantastic method for steeping a great cup of coffee. Many home coffee lovers swear by it and claim that there is no better way to brew coffee. There are a few reasons for that. The first is that a French press costs next to nothing, which is nice when you consider other expensive brewing options. It’s also related to the fact that the brew the French press makes has a distinct taste that people can’t seem to get enough of.

This isn’t the fastest brewing method, but it also isn’t the slowest method. It will take about ten minutes to heat the water to almost boiling, steep the coffee, and plunge the coffee. The appropriate grind for your coffee beans is a coarse one. The reason for that is because a fine grind can leave particles in the filter which will transfer to your cup. If the coffee is stepped too long, it will also make it bitter. That said, when done right, the coffee is super flavorful. Making the coffee is simple but it will take time to make it perfectly.

Brewing Coffee with the SoftBrew

The SoftBrew is a device that is similar to the French press but even easier to use. All you need to do is add ground coffee to the stainless-steel filter that comes with it, add hot water, and then allow it to steep for a few minutes. It’s ready to serve and drink without any hassle. What makes this brewing device interesting is the filter that comes with it. It has thousands of tiny holes, which means you can brew grinds of any size without issues.

Brewing with the SoftBrew takes four to eight minutes on average. There is no specific grind that works best, so you can experiment with different sizes to see what works best for you. The coffee that results from brewing with the SoftBrew tastes similar to a French press but with a cleaner quality. There are no real skills needed to use this brewing option. It’s made to work with ease, and anyone will find it simple to use.

Brewing Instant Coffee Bags

Much like the percolator, most people aren’t huge fans of instant coffee in bags. It has a few things going for it in that it’s in a small package and you can take it with you anywhere you go. The problem is that it often does not offer the best tasting coffee when all is said and done. Using ground coffee in a bag instead of instant coffee can be a great solution, especially if you are on a strict budget.

This has a quick brewing process of around three to four minutes. You don’t have to preheat anything, grind the beans, or partake in other preparation tasks. As far as the grind goes, if you buy the coffee bags pre-made, you aren’t going to have an option there. However, those making their own will want to choose a medium fine grind. Other grounds will work but finer grounds provide additional flavor.

Brewing Coffee with a Vacuum Pot

Coffee made in a vacuum pot, which is also referred to as siphon coffee, is a truly unique and innovative way to brew coffee. It actually uses a combination of brewing methods to create an innovative cup of coffee. It is an immersion brewing method, but it also implements siphon action to create an excellent coffee. That said, this is not an easy way to brew coffee. It’s a serious process and it requires a large amount of effort, which makes it rare for use as a daily brewing option.

Some people go crazy over the flavor of this coffee, but the real thrill off it is being able to show off how advanced your coffee making skills are. It takes around ten minutes to make a cup of siphon coffee, but keep in mind that cleaning the pot can be seriously difficult. A medium or coarse grind will provide the best results and the coffee you get will be flavorful and clean. However, the process is involved, and most people won’t want to put in the effort.

Options for Pressure Brewing Coffee

When you heard the term “pressure brewed coffee,” you may immediately think of espresso. While that is the ultimate pressure brewed coffee option, there are alternatives out there. A pressured brewed beverage is made when pressure is used to extract the good bits of the coffee. This also means that the coffee can be made super quickly while still containing an intense flavor. We’ll look at some of the most popular options for pressure brewed coffee below.

Brewing with the Traditional Espresso Machine

If you drink coffee at all, you likely already know what an espresso machine is. It’s been around for ages and can be found in all the local coffeehouses around you. Nowadays, you can purchase an espresso machine with all sorts of features to make brewing coffee even more convenient. In the end, though, the basics are what matter and what will ensure a great espresso drink. What happens is that pressurized water is run through a chamber that contains finely ground coffee and then through a filter to create a shot of espresso.

Espresso machines can be found at a wide range of costs from budget to truly indulgent. If you want to be a part of the entire process of making espresso, you might want to try a manual espresso machine. Those who want a machine that does it all for them might choose an automatic espresso machine. There are also choices in between for more control or convenience, depending on your preferences.

The time to brew can vary based on the actual machine. It needs to warm up but once it’s ready, making espresso takes less than a minute. The grind of your beans for espresso should be fine but not too fine. When you get a great shot of espresso, you can expect it to be strong, sharp, and full of flavor.

Coffee Brewed Using a Moka Pot

Those who are interested in the taste of an espresso and the kick that comes with it but who don’t want to shell out cash for an espresso machine might be delighted by the Moka pot. You get the same pressurized drink but without spending so much to do so. The pot has a three chambered brew process. The bottom chamber boils water, while the steam creates pressure. This pushes the water up into the coffee grounds which are located in the top chamber.

While the Moka pot may not make the exact same drink as an espresso machine, you will get the same strength in the coffee and a slightly sweet drink with a touch of bitterness behind it. The quality of the brew is going to depend on the Moka pot, so do some digging and research to find one that works for you. As far as the brewing process, it takes only a few minutes. What’s more complicated is the type of grind to use with your coffee beans. You want something that is coarser than you’d use for expresso but finer than you might choose for drip coffee. It can take some time to find that perfect grind so experiment.

Brewing Coffee with the Aeropress

Another of the coffee brewing options that has taken off among travelers is the Aeropress. It might not look a lot like a traditional coffee maker, but it certainly succeeds in making an excellent cup of joe. The idea behind this brewing option is to keep the process simple. With the right grind, right temperature of water, and the correct air pressure level, you can have a great cup of coffee in a few minutes. For a beginner, the best option for an Aeropress is a simple one that has three pieces.

While you can choose from different options to make Aeropress coffee, the easiest and quickest takes about 60 seconds after you have hot water. It’s also a super easy device to cleanup after you’re done. The grind size with the device can land anywhere you like. You can switch it out as often as you want to try new things. Everything will work well in the Aeropress. As for the coffee in the end, you’ll find a nice clean taste with a smoothness behind it.

Wrapping Up

There are tons of options for how to brew coffee. You can choose a method that is quick and simple, one that takes a lot of skill and time, or something in between. Some of these methods can produce coffee in under a minute, while some take hours and hours to produce the coffee you drink in the end. Some of the machines cost thousands of dollars while others might cost nothing at all. There is no “best coffee brewing method” out there. It depends on your own needs and preferences.

The best advice we can offer is to try out a few different types of brewing and try the results. You may find that one of these methods is everything you’ve been waiting for in terms of great coffee. This isn’t the world of the past when there were only a few ways to make coffee. You can sift through all sorts of brewing methods to find the one that fits you perfectly. Good luck!

Bonus Questions

1. Do percolators make good coffee?

The answer to this question is going to vary based on who you ask. Some people enjoy it while others aren’t fans. However, percolators often brew stronger coffee than drip coffee makers are capable of.

2. What is a good strong coffee?

If you are looking for an especially strong coffee, both dark roast Arabica and Columbian beans are a good option. French roast is also a favorite for those who appreciate a strong cup of coffee.

3. How do you keep Chemex coffee hot?

When looking to keep your coffee warm while Chemex brewing, you can place the Chemex on a gas flame or glass stove top at a low heat. If you have an electric coil stove, you’ll need a wire grid to hold the coffer over the coils.

4. How long do you wait to press coffee?

When using a French press, you will want to brew the coffee for around four minutes before pressing it. Some people prefer to brew this sort of coffee a little longer or for a little less time. It all comes down to personal preference.

5. Is Aeropress coffee or espresso?

The beverage made from an Aeropress device is coffee, not espresso. Espresso is only created by using an espresso maker and cannot be made with other brewing methods.

6. Is grinding your own coffee better?

The general consensus is that grinding your own coffee is better than buying it in ground form. The reason for that is because you get more of the oils and aroma of the coffee when grinding it fresh. That can be lost in pre-ground coffee from the grocery store.

7. How do I know when my Moka Pot is done?

As the water in the chamber on the bottom gets close to a boil, pressure pushes coffee up to the upper chamber. You will know that it’s ready when you notice a bubbling, hissing sound.

8. How hot is the water in an espresso machine?

You can expect the water in an espresso machine to be quite hot. The water typically reaches a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

9. What does Nitro coffee do?

Nitro coffee is cold brewed like typical cold brew coffee. However, it is then moved into a keg and infused with nitrogen gas. This type of coffee is served from the tap, just like beer would be, and has the same bubbly and frothy texture and appearance.

10. Do you need special coffee for cold brew?

While having high-quality coffee is important for the best tasting cold brew, you don’t need anything special to make it. You will want to coarsely grind the coffee beans that you choose to use.

Related Content:

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Get Up Close and Personal With Your Coffee: Where Coffee is Produced
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