Brewing Methods

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Best Home Coffee
Brewing Methods

Just as every person is unique, every coffee lover has his or her own favorite method for brewing coffee. The best home coffee brewing method may be a matter of personal taste, so the following is an overview of the most common coffee brewing methods for enjoying coffee at home.

Filter Drip Coffee Brewing Method

In the filter drip method, water used to make the coffee is heated almost to a boil, at around 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Coffee grounds are then placed in a filter and the boiled water is poured over the grounds. The coffee drips from the bottom of the filter into a cup or coffee pot. Unlike the automatic drip coffee maker, the drip filter method is done by hand so one can regulate the temperature of the water while brewing.

Automatic Drip Coffee Maker

Most people in North America use this coffee brewing method. Water is heated to almost at boiling point by the automatic coffee brewer and then slowly dripped over the ground coffee, which is usually placed in a paper filer. This coffee brewing method is very similar to the filter drip method except that the brewing time is consistent and the coffee pot generally sits on a warmer plate to maintain the coffee temperature.

Drawbacks of the Filter Drip & Automatic Drip Brewing Methods

Using any type of paper filter method does have a few drawbacks for instance;

  • The paper itself can affect the taste of the brewed coffee
  • The extraction from the grounds is not always even
  • Plus the water often drips through the grounds rather quickly so the coffee may not be fully extracted from the grounds and thus less flavorful

An alternative would be to use a reusable gold-tinted coffee filter, but you have to make sure that this filter is well rinsed between each use.

Brewing with a Percolator

Brewing coffee with a percolator, which used to be the preferred method for preparing coffee for large groups such as conferences, is the least desirable method of coffee preparation. This method produces a bitter tasting coffee and has many drawbacks so it is no wonder that this method is slowly getting phased out of use. The main problem with brewing coffee with a percolator is that the coffee is continually re-circulated over the coffee grounds over-extracting the coffee.

Turkish Method of Coffee Brewing

Popularly known as Turkish Coffee, this coffee preparation method is most prevalent in Middle Eastern states. The coffee is generally ground to a very fine grind and then mixed with boiling water. The coffee is not filtered and the grounds are permitted to sink to the bottom of the cup before consumption. This method generally produces a thick and creamy coffee, with a rich, full-bodied flavor and aroma. Turkish coffee is generally consumed black but may be sweetened to taste.

French Press Coffee Brewing Method

The French Press, also known as the “press pot method”, is another very desirable method of brewing coffee. The French Press method uses coarse coffee that is placed in a glass or ceramic carafe. Water that has been boiled is then poured over the coffee grounds and the mixture is allowed steep for a few minutes (2 to 3 minutes being the most common time period). Once steeped, a tight plunger/filter device is used to press the coffee grounds to the bottom so that the brewed coffee remains at the top and can be poured into a coffee mug for consumption.

The French Press coffee brewing method gives the user total management over the coffee brewing process. While brewing the coffee one can choose;

  • How coarse or fine to grind the coffee (coarse ground is preferred)
  • How hot to boil the water
  • How long to allow the coffee to steep in the hot water

The French Press coffee brewing method is widely recognized by most coffee connoisseurs as the “preferred” method for brewing coffee. It is also the preferred coffee brewing method for most Europeans and is quickly gaining in popularity in North America as well. While this method is a little bit more tedious than other coffee brewing methods, it achieves a richer and better-flavored coffee without over or under extracting since the person making the coffee has more control.

Vacuum Pot Coffee Maker

This coffee brewing method dates back to the mid-nineteenth century and is credited to the Italians. The vacuum pot coffee maker is as close as one can get to making espresso coffee without the use of an espresso coffee machine.

The vacuum pot (or “balanced siphon”) method is a stove-top coffee brewing method. The vacuum pot itself is made up of 3 separate parts.

  1. The bottom part generally holds cold water prior to the coffee preparation.
  2. The center part of the vacuum coffee pot maker holds the coffee grounds, which are generally coarse ground, although less coarse than the French Press method. This central part acts like a filter and simply drops into place inside the opening of the bottom water compartment.
  3. The top of the vacuum pot maker is where the brewed coffee is deposited. This part is screwed tightly in place on top of bottom part that holds the cold water.

The vacuum pot is then placed on a stove burner. Once the water reaches boiling point, the steam is forced up a chamber through the center part of the vacuum pot that holds the coffee grounds. The coffee is extracted from the grounds by the force of the steam and as the steam condenses the liquid coffee is forced up a second chamber into the top holding compartment of the vacuum pot. The result is a full-bodied, rich tasting coffee with espresso characteristics. This coffee brew can then be consumed as is, however many people choose to add boiling water to create what is commonly called an “Americano”.

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