So how many ways can you make coffee?
Do you always make coffee the same way?
Do you have a preffered brewing method?
Have you thought about trying a new way to make coffee?
Well today I’m hoping to tickle your fancy with a question for you….. How do you brew? There are many ways to brew, but they all fall into four catagories. A brief overview and example of the four will be covered below. In the end, you may find a new brew to suit you.
This is the simplest way to brew your coffee. By adding ground coffee to a water filled vessel ( like the Turkish ibrik pictured above) and bringing it to a boil, you have coffee. Sometimes by choice, other times by circumstance you may find yourself with no other option for a good cup of coffee. This oldest way to brew is bare bones, which provides a distinct taste in your cup. There are a few variations of this style of brew; two to note are Turkish and Cowboy.
Turkish coffee is an art all to it’s own. While simple in theory, this method must be prepared properly for optimum results, as it is an intensive, involved technique. What makes Turkish coffee interesting is that the coffee is boiled two to three times. This results in a thick, aromatic, and altogether very powerful tasting drink.
Cowboy coffee, also known as Camp coffee, is simple and easy in comparison. In fact all you have to do to make it is combine coffee and water at a boiling point, then pour your coffee into your cup. The grounds will stay in the vessel, leaving you with a clean brew.
If you take the next step up in brewing you come to steeping. Brewing methodology is advanced by the physical separation of coffee grounds from the already brewed coffee, the French Press being the main style of this method. You first put your coffee grounds in the French Press, then introduce hot water ( for best results a coarse grind is recommended for this method ). Gently wet your grounds until the press is half full, pause for a smell, then carefully stir the blooming grounds. Finish this step by filling the press. Patiently allowing the grounds to steep for four long minutes before plunging can be hard, but it is worth the wait. After pressing, the pour yields quite an enjoyable elixir.
An interesting spin on this method is to use cold instead of hot water. Although this takes twelve or more hours to steep before plunging, it’s worth the try. This is a great option, especially if you have a sensitive stomach, as cold brew extracts less acids.
There are many positives to brewing with the French Press; namely inexpensive equipment, and a taste and mouth feel in the cup unlike any other. I personally have worked myself into a jittery mess geeking on the revelations of varying varietal profiles derived from steeping.
Okay so here we are on the bedrock of modern coffee culture. The simple addition of a filter holding a bed of ground coffee is the foundation for this way of making coffee. Examples within this grouping are well known by many drinkers, old and young.
The Electric Percolator harkens back to a time when quality coffee was not common place. This method yields a harsh, boiled-over liquid of maximum strength and caffeine that results in an undesirable, bitter flavored cup.
Electric Drip coffee makers are found in many homes and make quality coffee. Some fancy drip brewers offer a pre-wetting of grounds, just as pour-over fans do, to improve the performance of the filtered bed of grounds.
The simplicity of the pour-over and Chemex may be the pinnacle of this method. The Hario V60 is an easy to use pour-over dripper designed to produce awesome coffee. Filling a paper filter in a cone with the proper amount of grounds ( 20g to 22g per cup ), you then add hot water ( thirty seconds off the boil, or about 200 degrees F )to the grounds insuring they are completely wet, then pause for thirty seconds before finishing brewing. This allows the grounds to bloom and settle, which facilitates even and consistent contact between the water and the grounds in the subsequent brewing. After waiting, pour the remaining water in a slow continuous, motion, being careful not to pour along the sides of the filter, but on to the grounds. Proper timing is key. Your rate of pour should allow for the remaining amount of water to pass through the grounds in approximately two to two and a half minutes. Your finished cup provides a clean, distinct taste and accentuates varietal profiles, yielding great results. The style of the Chemex method is very appealing, and is a pour-over method preferred by many serious coffee drinkers.
Another variation is the Toddy Cold Brew System; this technique is explained in our August 2016 blog–check it out!
While this grouping is familiar to many, if you have not yet tried Pour-Over, Chemex, or Cold Brew, I’m hoping to inspire you to delve deeper.
What makes these coffee styles unique is that they force pressurized water through coffee. Most everyone has had an espresso, but what about Moka or an Aeropress?
Firstly, espresso is derived from a machine that forces hot water at nine bars of pressure through a finely ground puck of coffee. This delivers a concentrated drink that contains crema, the emulsification of fat and oil in coffee. The Espresso Machine has transformed American coffee culture, and is the money maker for the modern café. Machines vary in price, from modest home versions to very pricey multi-group commercial models.
The Moka ( pictured above )is also known as a stove top espresso maker. The bottom chamber holds water and grounds that when boiled, pressurize, pushing the coffee through a filter into the top chamber. While not exactly espresso, the taste and strength of this brew is a very pleasing substitute.
Lately, the Aeropress is gaining popularity. Like a French Press with a filter, this system delivers a fine drink.
So if an Espresso Machine seems impractical, maybe a Moka, or Aeropress should be in your future.
With this brief overview I hope to have made you think about trying a new method of brewing. Hopefully Santa brings you some new equipment. If not, check our online store for a Toddy System, French Press, Moka or Hario Dripper, and of course a wide selection of coffee. May you have a happy holiday season, and see you in the new year. Peace.
Randall Lee Ely