Literally, there are dozens of different ways to brew coffee. Every corner of the world has its own set of preferred methods for brewing up this popular beverage. For example, in America, a “coffee” is usually, a Drip Coffee, while in Italy it’s an Espresso, and in Turkey, it’s Turkish coffee.
Brewing is the process of extracting flavors and essential oils that results in the actual coffee taste. Without proper brewing, the outcome can be watery, bitter, or even worse
Nowadays, there are high-tech machines that do practically all the work for you, but also, there are hands-on methods that allow customizing the coffee to your exact preference. They are mostly referred to as manual methods, but by a coffee connoisseur, they are the artistic coffee brewing methods.
Coffee brewing is generally divided into 3 types of preparation methods:
- Drip or Pour-Over brewing
- Immersion Brewing
Drip or Pour-Over
The most basic type of brewing is regular drip or pour-over brewing. In this method, heated water of 195°F to 205°F is poured over to medium coarse or medium-fine coffee grounds placed over a paper or metal filter. The water due to gravity doesn’t stops and flows down the grounds and passes through the filter into the cup. This extracted water is what we drink as regular coffee. The filter stops the grounds from passing through to the cup.
There are various methods that are developed over time and have particular steps of action and outcomes. In Drip brewing, we use medium, medium coarse, or medium-fine coffee grinds for the best results. Some common equipment for pour-over is Chemex, Hario, and Auto Drip.
Automatic Drip Coffee Brewing
This brewing method, the most popular one in North America, has several advantages. It’s the easiest way to make a pot of coffee for a crowd. Many among these brewers allow programming so that it wakes you up to a freshly brewed cup of coffee. The cleanup of these brewers is also literally very easy.
Once you choose your drip coffee maker, it does most of the work for you depending on what you’ve bought. Your contribution is to use freshly roasted coffee and grind it at the time as close as possible to brewing. If you have a coffee roaster at home, it’s indeed great to get freshly roasted beans at home.
For flat baskets use a medium grind and for cones use a medium-fine grind. In drip brewing. we have the option of using disposable paper filters or reusable metal mesh. Some people prefer the taste of paper-filtered coffee while many prefer mesh. Paper filters are easier in cleanup while mesh filters need a little effort but, you don’t have to keep buying filters every time you run out. Really it’s just a matter of personal preference.
Brew the coffee according to the manual. It’s best not to leave the pot on the heating element where the coffee can start to taste scorched: if you want to keep it hot, use a thermos flask instead. There are many great options available in the market and we have picked the best coffee makers among them.
Learn more about How to Brew Drip Coffee with our Step by Step guide!
You or one of your college roommates probably used this Pour over coffee brewer at some point. What could be simpler (or cheaper) than just buying a cone that sits on top of your cup, throwing in a paper filter, and adding ground coffee and boiling water? So it might surprise you that this is one of the most popular brewing methods among serious coffee mavens.
It’s all in the technique. Grind your fresh roasted beans medium-fine and use about 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces of water. Boil your water and wait 30 seconds before pouring to get the right temperature. Pour just enough water to wet the grounds and allow them to “bloom” for 30 seconds, giving the carbon dioxide time to dissipate. Slowly and steadily pour the rest of the water into the cone and allow it to drip through into your cup or carafe.
Learn with our Step by Step guide about How to make Pour-Over coffee!
The act of immersing coffee grounds into hot water for a certain period of time is known as the Immersion Brewing technique. French Press, Aeropress, Clever, and Turkish coffee pots are the most common gears used for this technique. You can notice as in both methods, coffee grounds are left steeped in hot water for a certain period of time.
These methods have their own preferences over the other and the resulting brew will be quite different than the drip or espresso methods. We need mostly coarser coffee grounds in immersion brewing whereas when contact time between coffee and water, grounds used can be a little finer. But most importantly, the grounds used should be of uniform size and so, using a good quality grinder is a must.
Clever Drip Brewing
Somewhere close to the Pour Over Method, this method installs a clever stopper on the bottom of the Cup that pauses the extraction and allows full extraction of flavors. It works on the principles of Immersion Brewing, like ways French Press. This method creates no mess no fuss on the table.
For this method you will need, a Clever Drip Brewer, 20 gm ground coffee (Medium Coarse), 4 Filter Papers, and 300 ml of water. Now, pre-heat the Dripper by passing warm water. Place filter papers and put the grounded coffee in them. Pour the warm water evenly all over the coffee and take a break for 1 minute. After that, submerge the floating grounds and stir a little. Now wait for 1.30 minutes more and your coffee is ready. Place the brewer above the serving cup and the stopper will open. Enjoy your coffee!
Here is our step-by-step guide on How to use a Clever Dripper!
Although it’s a simple brewing method, it’s easy to get the French press wrong. If you’ve ever tried making it with pre-ground coffee from the grocery store you’ve probably been discouraged when the resulting brew tasted something like wet sawdust. But with a little attention to detail, you will soon see why so many coffee lovers rave about the French press. It’s a portable brewer, so you can take it anywhere you go.
The most important factor is getting the grind right. You want the grind to be quite coarse for French press coffee – if your coffee grinder has a “French press” setting, you’ll see that it’s the coarsest setting, or close to it. You’ll need about 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for each 8-ounce cup, a measurement you can adjust according to your own taste.
How To Brew using French Press
Warm your pot by swishing some hot water around inside it and discarding it. Boil water and add the ground coffee to the pot. Once the water has boiled, remove it from the heat and wait 30 seconds before brewing.
Add about half of the water to the pot. You’ll see the coffee grounds floating to the top of the pot as they bloom. There will be lots of foam and a wonderful aroma. After about 30 seconds, give the coffee a gentle stir to break up this coffee raft, and then add the rest of the water.
Wait about 3 or 4 minutes for the coffee to finish brewing. Then gently and slowly push the plunger down as far as it will go. Your coffee is now ready to drink. It’s best to pour the coffee right away rather than leaving it inside the press pot after it’s finished brewing.
You can also use a French press to make double-strength coffee for café au lait. Just double the amount of ground coffee per cup and top 1 part brewed coffee with 1 part steamed milk.
Learn with our step by step guide about How to brew with French Press
This method was invented in the mid 19th century and is now coming back into style. Siphon brewing optimizes the water temperature without the need for thermometers, but this method owes a lot of its popularity to its visual appeal. The beakers and burners and gravity-defying liquids will make you feel like an alchemist!
Siphon brewing can use either your stove-top or a small butane burner as a heat source, with the butane burner being a somewhat quicker option. There are plenty of expensive siphon pots on the market, but you can get perfectly good results without spending a lot of money on equipment.
How To Brew using Siphon
Grind your coffee slightly finer than you would for drip, but not as fine as espresso. Again, 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces of water is a good ballpark ratio. Pour the water into the bottom pot and place it on the heat. Fit the filter into the top pot and set it on the bottom pot so that it forms a seal. As the water heats in the bottom, water vapor expands and forces the heated water into the top chamber. Once the water starts to come up, lower the heat so that the water in the top chamber is barely simmering.
There will always be a little bit of water left in the bottom pot. Once the water level up top stops rising, add the ground coffee all at once and give it a quick gentle stir. Let it sit for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, and then turn off the burner and remove the pot from the heat. As the bottom chamber cools, the air and water vapor will contract, creating a vacuum and drawing the coffee back down into the bottom pot. When the top pot is empty, remove it and your coffee is ready to serve.
Here is our detailed guide about using Siphon Pot!
This method is the youngest of all being invented in 2005 and so people are still doing experiments with this brewing method for improvisation. This method makes a full-bodied cup that tastes rich and a bit sweet. Numerous Aeropress competitions happen around the world and every method contains some variation.
For this method, you are required to have an Aeropress brewer, of course, an Aeropress filter, a stirring paddle, fine ground coffee, and a brewing vessel.
How to brew using Aeropress
- First of all, boil 400 ml of water in the brew vessel.
- Now put the filter into the Aeropress cap. Measure 17 gm of coffee for the default taste we prefer. You can add or subtract the amount of coffee as required.
- Place the Aeropress brewer upside down with the broadened side up. and numbers upside-down.
- Now put the grounded coffee at the top of the Aeropress and pour double the amount of water into the amount of coffee (Like 17 gm of coffee will require 34 gm of water).
- Put the stirring paddle and gently stir just a little and leave it for 30 seconds still.
- Now pour the next half of water, that is 165 gm and again leave it for 1 minute.
- The next step is to preheat the filter with the remaining water by passing through it. Give 10 stirs to the grounds in the Aeropress.
- Screw the filter cap on the Aeropress and flip the assembly gently.
- Now we are ready to push the thing. Slowly and gently push the Aeropress above a cup. Here is a link to the detailed method with pictures.
Read our step by step guide about brewing with an Aeropress!
This is another popular brewing method for people who like very strong, espresso-like coffee but don’t want to get into buying the bulky and expensive equipment. There’s a lot of disagreement about the “proper” way to make Turkish coffee. This is just one method out of many, but it will give you a starting point.
Turkish coffee uses the finest grind you’re likely to see in coffee brewing. At a couple of settings finer than espresso grind, it almost looks more like flour than ground coffee. You need a good-quality home grinder to accomplish this.
The only other equipment you’ll need is a Turkish coffee pot, also known as an ibrik. This is a small metal pot, traditionally made of hammered copper, attached to a long handle. It’s best to serve Turkish coffee in straight-sided demitasse cups to maximize the foam and allow the grounds to settle. You will also need a heat source like a butane burner or an electric or gas stove.
How To Brew
Use your serving cups to measure the amount of water you’ll need, making sure you leave plenty of room above the water level in the pot. Pour the water into the pot and stir in about 1 tablespoon of ground coffee for each serving. Add sugar to taste. Turn on your element to medium-high and place the pot on the stove.
When the water is heated, the coffee will foam up to about the level of the pot’s rim. (Some people like to skim some of this foam into the serving cups.) Remove it from the heat and wait for the foam to settle, which takes about 30 seconds. Return it to the heat and watch it carefully – this time it will foam quickly and can boil over if you’re not paying attention. Again, let the foam rise to the top of the pot and remove it from the heat. Let the pot sit for a minute or two for the grounds to settle.
If you really want to go authentic or want to tone down the strength and intensity of the brew, adding spices such as cardamom, anise, or a sweetener such as an easily dissolvable sugar can be added. In fact, sugar is almost considered part of the process. The famous old proverb, “Coffee should be as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love” refers to Turkish coffee, and you’ll note the sweet part.
Pour slowly into serving cups. There will be some grounds in the bottom of your cup, but that’s all part of the experience.
For more detailed guide, check our article, How to make Turkish Coffee!
The next level of brewing is Espresso where advanced equipment is used. These machines are generally costlier than any other forms of brewing. Few like Moka pot are manual espresso methods which can be a cost-saver, but still, we don’t call it a complete espresso.
Espresso extraction is performed by passing pressurized steam water through tightly packed espresso grounds resulting in a thick brown liquid topped with a yellowish foamed layer called ‘crema’. This drink is a base for many other drinks and so, brewing it incorrectly can ruin your hard work. It gets perfect over time by learning and practicing.
Next, we will discover the Most Popular Brewing Methods that are used for brewing that favorite cup of coffee.
Practically every kitchen in Italy has at least one of these little coffee pots. Both the iconic octagonal design and the more streamlined Stainless Steel Mokas’ have become commonplace in American homes too. The coffee they make is not quite espresso, but it’s a pretty decent approximation if you’re not ready to invest in an espresso maker yet.
Grind your beans a little finer than you would for drip coffee, but not as fine as for espresso. Fill the bottom pot with water up to the level of the relief valve. Drop in the filter, making sure that the water doesn’t seep up into the filter basket. (If it does, pour out a little of the water.)
Fill the filter basket loosely with ground coffee so that it is slightly rounded. Be careful not to pack it down, as the Moka is not designed to deal with this type of pressure and the results could even be dangerous. Brush away any stray coffee grounds from the top of the filter.
Screw on the top part of the Moka firmly, but don’t over-tighten it. Put the pot on medium heat so that the brewing process is gentle and gradual. Remove the Moka from the heat after it starts getting noisy; you’ll get better coffee if you don’t worry about trying to get every last drop of water out of the bottom chamber.
Enjoy your coffee black or with sugar in a demitasse cup, or use it to make delicious lattes.
If this method interests you, why not go to our guide about How to use a Moka pot.
For many people, there’s just no substitute for real espresso. It’s a big undertaking and a major expense to buy an espresso machine and grinder and then to develop your barista skills, but for many espresso aficionados, this is in no way a drawback. Once you’ve chosen your equipment and set everything up according to specifications, it’s time to start experimenting.
An espresso grind is very fine, about the texture of table salt. Grind about 20 grams into your portafilter for a double shot and level it off with your finger. Tamp it evenly and firmly with a good tamper – this will take practice. Some people even practice using a bathroom scale to see what 30 pounds of pressure feel like! Run some hot water through the group head to make sure the temperature is hot enough before attaching the portafilter and positioning the cup. When you activate the brewing process you should see a stream of dark coffee that gradually gets lighter in color and tapers off after about 25 seconds.
A skilled barista will know when the grind needs adjusting, or how to use the tamper to compensate for other factors. Don’t be surprised if your early creations don’t taste as good as you would like. Just keep at it, experiment, and be patient.
Here is a guide about, How to pull the perfect espresso shot!
Though we have left few methods of brewing, the above we covered are the most commonly used and the resources are easily available at most places. Still, the most commonly used methods are Drip and Espresso as specialized brewing equipment for these do most of the manual work. People are diverted most to the automated era due to time constraints but real coffee aficionados still prefer the manual methods.