Coffee Brewing Methods: Knowing What’s Better For You

Have you ever thought of finding the best coffee brewing methods that will fit your personality, lifestyle, and taste preference? Probably, you hadn’t thought of that, just like when I started to love drinking coffee. My coffee maker is the best companion I have for that great cup of Joe. And, that’s it. I believe I make the best coffee in the world!

But, as I got to taste other brews and seemed to like their coffee better, I started asking myself, how did they make that coffee? It’s better than what I’ve been brewing. So, this curiosity leads me to find, learn and discover more about coffee.

Coffee is prepared in various ways using different brewing methods. Many have asked me, what is the best-tasting coffee in the world? And, my always answer is, It depends on who’s drinking because we have our unique taste preferences. For instance, what might be best for me might not be your liking. On the other hand, what might be best for you might be the worse coffee ever for me. In other words, what is best for you is the best coffee in the world!

Most importantly, there will surely be a coffee brewing method to produce the perfect coffee for you. So please read on, as I am excited to share my coffee exploration experience because every sip of coffee has been great with these coffee brewing methods.

Basic Principles in Coffee Brewing Methods

To better understand the different brewing methods, it is crucial to know the basic principle behind them.  Consequently, coffee brewing uses the tenets of Boiling, Steeping, Pressure, and Dripping/Filtration.

It is important to note that freshness should always be your standard in brewing whatever coffee brewing method you choose.

For every brewing method, prepare the following:

Coffee Beans

Best Fresh Whole Beans for any Coffee Brewing Methods

Best Fresh Whole Coffee Beans

Order them in small quantities so that you could have fresh coffee beans weekly for optimum flavor. It is best to grind the coffee beans as close as possible to brewing as ground coffee loses its optimum flavor after 15 to 20 minutes of grinding.

Store coffee beans in a dark or opaque, air-tight container at room temperature. I have seen others put the coffee beans on a clear jar several times, as it’s beautiful to see it displayed in a coffee station. But, this is not proper as light can penetrate the pot, cause the beans’ photodegradation, and make it stale, losing its freshness and flavor.

It is also advisable to store beans in several smaller containers. Rather than keep them in one big container. Because the beans are also affected by air, frequent opening of a big container’s lid will hurt the quality of the beans. Therefore, storing them in several containers will lessen the air exposure of the other beans.

Water

Brita Water Purifier for any Coffee Brewing MethodsBest Water Purifier for Coffee

Let’s not be too technical on this. To simply put it, It would be better to use filtered water. It’s worth investing in a water purifier like the Brita water purifier. You can also use bottled water. We, however, don’t recommend using distilled water or reverse osmosis as it’s so pure. It is the minerals in water that retains the coffee’s flavor. Minerals also prevent leeching flavors from the container. Due to the lack of minerals, distilled water might absorb a container’s taste like plastic, or worse, absorbs the chemicals from the plastic. Thus, affecting the coffee’s taste.

Equipment

Whatever equipment you’ll be using, always make sure that it is clean before and after using it.

The Coffee Brewing Methods

Brewing Methods using Boiling

Boiling here refers to the principle of putting water and coffee over a flame or a heat source. Always remember, do not boil coffee. Never do that. When brewing, the ideal water temperature is between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit (90.55 to 96.11 degrees Celsius).

Colder water will result in flat, under-extracted coffee. In contrast, water that is too hot will over-extract coffee grounds. As a result, a bitter coffee. At the same time, it is essential to note that cold brew does not need any heat.

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy Coffee is a classic American way of coffee brewing. This brewing method is my uncle’s favorite. According to him, there’s no other brew better than Cowboy Coffee.

Best Coffee Pot/Kettle for Cowboy Coffee Brewing MethodsBest Cowboy Coffee Kettle

Cowboy Coffee Brewing Procedure:

  1. Put water into your pot. Six ounces of water for every serving/cup. Adding 3/4 cup of water for every two servings of coffee since some will be left behind with the coffee grounds when you transfer the coffee.
  2. Add two tablespoons of fresh coffee ground into the pot for every serving/cup of coffee.
  3. For the old-fashioned way, you can put the pot over a campfire. But, of course, a more convenient way to do it at home is to put it over the stove.
  4. Let it boil for two minutes. After which, remove the kettle from the heat.
  5. Meanwhile, allow the coffee grounds to settle at the bottom of the pot in 4 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle it with cold water to help the sediments/grounds to sink to the bottom.
  7. Slowly pour the pot contents into your mug, avoiding grounds to come with it as much as possible.

Turkish Coffee

Turkish Coffee Brewing Procedure:

  1. Pour two cups of water into the cezve (a wide-bottomed pot, usually made of copper). The cup measurement is the cup you’re going to use to serve the coffee.
  2. Then, add coffee and sugar (if desired). Use a heaping tablespoon of coffee for every cup of coffee. Mix well to dissolve the coffee and sugar. Do not stir after this point.
  3. Place the cezve on the stovetop, and slowly bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Keep a close eye on it; after a few minutes, the coffee will rise and foam up.
  4. It is a tradition to serve Turkish coffee with foam on top. So, just before it begins to boil, remove the cezve from the heat. Next, use a spoon to skim off the foam, distributing it to each serving cup. Afterward, return the cezve to the heat and let it slowly foam up again.
  5. As the coffee comes to a boil, pour half of the coffee very slowly into the serving cups filling each cup halfway over the foam.
  6. Return the cezve to the heat and let it slowly foam up again. Then, pour the remaining coffee into the rim of the cup.
  7. Let the coffee settle for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Steeping Coffee Brewing Method

Probably the simplest of the coffee brewing methods. Just pour boiling water over ground coffee. Allow the two to get together on the ideal or desired brewing time. Then, separate the coffee grounds from the brew. That easy!

French Press

Best for French Press Coffee Brewing MethodsBest French Press

Let me share James Hoffman’s approach in French Press brewing. This technique is unique but produces a great-tasting coffee.

What to Prepare for the Jeff Hoffman’s French Press Technique?

  1. As Jehh Hoffman says, “Be Patient. Never rush things. You won’t neglect to wait a bit for that great cup of coffee.”
  2. Prepare Fresh Coffee Beans. A French Press will work with pre-ground coffee. But, not as delicious as freshly ground coffee beans.
  3. Start with 60 to 70 grams of freshly ground coffee beans per liter of water.
  4. Get a Digital Weighing Scale.
  5. Use Fresh Filtered Water.
  6. Use a clean French Press.

The Jeff Hoffman’s French Press Technique Brewing Procedure:

  1. Grind your fresh coffee beans. Most techniques go for the coarse grind. On the other hand, Jeff Hoffmann’s approach goes for the medium grind. Then, put the 30 grams of ground coffee in the French Press.
  2. Add water—500 grams of water to 30 grams of coffee.
  3. Let it sit for 4 minutes.
  4. Grab a tablespoon. Stir the crust that forms on the top of the coffee with a spoon. You’ll see a lot of it will start to fall while some bits will stay on top. Scoop them off.
  5. Then, do nothing for at least 5 minutes. After that, you’ll see all floating bits fall and settle at the bottom of the press.
  6. After 5 to 8 minutes, put the plunger. Do not plunge it all the way, as this will stir up everything again. Instead, dip it slowly just to let it sit on the surface of the coffee. Then, pour the coffee gently into your cup.

Soft Brew

One of the coffee brewing methods that I like because of the simplicity and effortless brewing it offers. More than that, it produces an excellent cup of coffee. If you want to experience the distinct taste of single-origin coffee, go for the soft brew. We recommend not adding milk for you to experience the different distinct flavors of coffee fully.

 

Soft Brew Brewing Procedures:

  1. Put your desired amount of freshly coarse-grind coffee into the metal filter.
  2. Measurement is two tablespoons of coffee for every 6 oz. of water. That’s 13 tablespoons for a full carafe of coffee.
  3. Add water that is around 200°F/93°C by slowly pouring it into the carafe. If you don’t have a thermometer, you take off the water from the heat once it boils and allows it to cool for 1 minute.
  4. Then, after 4 to 8 minutes for hot coffee, remove the filter. For cold brew, leave it overnight. Finally, pour the coffee over a cup and enjoy that great cup of coffee.

Coffee Bag

Coffee Bag is one of the most convenient coffee brewing methods that require no special equipment. There are single-serve coffee bags that you can buy today. But, for a better-tasting coffee, we recommend using freshly ground coffee beans.

Coffee Bag for  Coffee Bag Coffee Brewing Methods

Coffee Bag

Coffee Bag Brewing Procedure:

  1. Put two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee in a disposable coffee bag.
  2. Boil water and allow it to cool for 1 minute.
  3. Fill your favorite cup with water. And, dip a coffee bag just like a teabag.
  4. Leave it for 10-15 seconds, then give it a squeeze and a stir.
  5. Let it brew around 3-5 minutes, but feel free to experiment until you find your sweet spot.
  6. You can add milk and sugar.
  7.  Directly throw away the coffee bag with the coffee ground.

Brewing Method that uses Pressure

These coffee brewing methods use high pressure to extract finely ground coffee to produce a great-tasting cup of coffee. The ideal time of extraction is between 10 to 20 seconds. It is mainly used in AeroPress, Moka pot, and the traditional espresso method.

Espresso

Espresso is a coffee brewing method that originated in Italy. Ironically, espresso is both a brewing method and a coffee beverage. It is a concentrated form of coffee, generally thicker than other coffee brewed with other methods. Espresso is served using a demitasse cup in small, strong shots with its crema on top, a brown foam with a creamy consistency. The crema adds a rich flavor and a lingering after-taste of the espresso. Espresso is also the base for many coffee drinks like caffè latte, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white, and caffè Americano. It can be made from any origins coffee and from any roast but is stronger, thicker, and higher in caffeine per unit volume due to its brewing process. However, espresso has lesser caffeine per serving as it is served in a smaller cup (demitasse cup) and not on a standard coffee mug.

This method is done using an espresso machine. Pressurized water gets pushed through a tamped basket of fine ground coffee beans and results in a shot of espresso.

Espresso Machine Coffee Brewing MethodsBest Home Espresso Machine

Espresso Brewing Procedure

1. Prepare the Cup

Warm the cup by rinsing it with hot water before using it. This will help prevent your coffee to cool down upon impact.

2. Clean the Portafilter

Make sure that your portafilter handle is clean and dry. Double-check for any old coffee residue as this will affect the taste of your new espresso. A wet basket will affect extraction, as it will make the coffee moist.

3. Grind the Beans

Grind your coffee beans. A fine grind is perfect for espresso. Grind setting is important as too coarse coffee grind will result in an under-extracted coffee that tastes sour. On the other hand, over-extracted coffee usually brought by extremely fine grind will be bitter. If you have a calibrated on-demand grinder, then it’s easy to check the dose. If not, it’s best to use a scale.

4. Use a Weighing Scale  for an accurate dose

Dose your fine ground coffee into your portafilter. Espresso is most commonly made in a “double-shot” with a dose between 14 – 18 grams. But, for a newbie, it’s always better to start at 14 grams. And, as you familiarize yourself with brewing espresso you can experiment on doses higher than 14 grams until you find your personal choice. It is advisable to use a scale for an accurate dose. As a guide, a single shot (30 ml)of espresso uses around 7-9 grams of fine ground coffee, a double or “doppio” (60 ml) is 14-18 grams, and a triple or “triplo” (90 ml) rounds at 21-24 grams.

Coffee Weighing ScaleBest Coffee Weighing Scale

5. Tamp the ground in the Portafilter

Distribute the grounds evenly by tamping or compacting the grounds into the filter with a tamper. This will ensure the even extraction of the grounds.  Hold your elbow at 90 degrees, rest your portafilter on a level surface and then apply pressure that is hard enough to press out the air pockets until the coffee has an even.

6. Polish the grounds

Before removing the tamper, polish the surface of the ground coffee by spinning the tamper. This will ensure that the top of the coffee is smooth and flat. Then, take off the tamper gently to avoid suctioning the coffee puck.

Espresso Coffee Tamper

Espresso Coffee Tamper
7. Clean the Portafilter before putting it back

Wipe the portafilter before inserting it to make sure that there’s no excess dry coffee on its surface.

Don’t forget to clean the group head before inserting the portafilter – you can flush it with water or brush it if needed. This is to make sure that old coffee particles are removed from the showerhead. Because it will have a significant effect on your espresso’s taste if it gets into it.

8. Brew the Espresso

Finally, insert the portafilter handle into the group head and start brewing your espresso! Make sure to begin brewing immediately to prevent the heat to burn the coffee’s surface.

9. SERVE!
Things to do after brewing the espresso shot
  1. Remove the portafilter and knock the coffee puck out into the knock box. Don’t forget this step!
  2. Don’t forget to clean and rinse your handle again and make sure to fry it to be ready for the next shot.
  3. Rinse and brush the group head. You have to remove oils or particles that could spoil your next shot.
  4. Lastly, put the portafilter back into the group head.  It’s always better to be clean, organized, and ready for more brewing.

Moka Pot

A Moka Pot is one of the simplest and inexpensive coffee brewing methods. This makes it one of the most popular coffee makers you’ll find in most homes especially in Europe. And, is said to be an inexpensive espresso alternative. But, does Moka pot really makes an espresso? The answer is NO. Moka pot produces a strong and concentrated coffee that is usually compared to espresso. But, the main difference between brewing coffee with the Moka pot and an Espresso machine is the intense pressure that an Espresso machine produces to brew the coffee.

While there are now many companies that produce the Moka Pot, the original company that invented and produces the Moka Pot (Bialetti Moka Pot) still manufactures it. If you want a nostalgic Moka Pot, go for the original on the below link.

Original Moka Pot by Bialetti

Moka Pot

Moka Pot Brewing Procedure

  1. First, grind your fresh whole coffee beans. About the size of table salt. You need to fill the basket with your freshly ground coffee, about 15 to 17 grams.
  2. Fill the filter basket with your freshly ground coffee. And, level it with your fingers. Don’t tamp it. Wipe the edges to make sure that the basket is clean.
  3. Next, fill the bottom chamber just below the valve with hot purified water. The technique in using hot water will prevent the grounds to be in contact for too long with the water that will result in an unpleasant taste of coffee. While, if you have no hot water, you can use normal temperature water. It’s just that this may result in a bitter or burnt taste.
  4. Insert the filled coffee basket into the lower chamber of the Moka Pot.
  5. Screw the top chamber and the bottom chamber together. Don’t forget that the bottom chamber is hot. So, use a towel or a potholder to hold it.
  6. Put the Moka Pot on the stove at medium heat. And, keep the lid open.
  7. As the pressure builds, you’ll see brewed coffee flowing in the middle of the pot. It will start to come out as rich dark color until it becomes lighter.
  8. When you hear the bubbling and cracking noises or when the coffee coming out turns to light honey color it is time for you to take it off from the heat source. Don’t forget to close the lid.
  9. Then, cool it down by placing a wet/cold towel on the bottom chamber or better placing the bottom chamber under running water.
  10. Pour into cups and enjoy your coffee.

Aeropress

The AeroPress is a manual coffeemaker that looks like a big syringe. It was invented by Alan Adler, founder of AeroPress, Inc.  Ground coffee beans and water are steeped inside, then a plunger is pressed gently to separate the coffee from the grounds as the pressure that builds up in the chamber forces the coffee to pass by the filter to produce a smooth and clean coffee.

Best Aeropress Coffee Brewing Methods

Original AeroPress

Aeropress Brewing Procedure

  1. Boil 250ml. of purified water.
  2. Insert a paper filter into AeroPress’s detachable plastic cap. And, rinse the filter and the cap with hot water. This warms up the cap and somehow sterilized it. Please be careful in doing this step as you might burn your fingers. Carefully hold the edges of the cap while pouring the hot water.AeroPress Micro-FiltersAeroPress Micro Filters
  3. Assemble your AeroPress. Twist the filter cap into the chamber. Making sure that it is dry and clean. Then, put it into your cap.
  4. Weigh around 14 grams of Fresh Whole Coffee Beans and Grind (Medium -Fine Grind) to a texture slightly finer than sea salt.
    Medium-Fine Coffee Grind for Aeropress Coffee Brewing Methods
    Medium-Fine Coffee Grind

     

  5. Put your coffee grounds into the AeroPress. And, slowly shake it to level off the grounds.
  6. Slowly pour hot water into the AeroPress up to number one level. Kindly take note that each number on the AeroPress chamber corresponds to the number of cups to make. The ratio is 1:1. That is 1 scoop of coffee = 1 level of water on the chamber.
  7. Stir for about 10 seconds.
  8. Insert the plunger and push it gently. Pausing when you feel strong resistance, then resumes after 2 seconds until the plunger reaches the grounds.
  9. Remove the filter cap. Then, push the plunger to eject the coffee puck and the filter.
  10. You can drink as is espresso-style or add water to make an 8 oz. (237 ml.) of American coffee. For Latte, you can add milk to make an 8 oz. (237 ml.) latte.
  11. Enjoy your excellent cup of coffee!
  12. Don’t forget to clean your AeroPress by rinsing it in preparation for your next brew.

Points to consider in Aeropress Brewing

The AeroPress maker recommends water temperature for Dark Roast at 175°F (80°C), and 185°F (85°C) for Medium and Light Roast Coffee Beans.

According to them, these water temperatures deliver smooth, rich brews without the bitterness and acidity that come with using hotter water.

Although we recommend that you try brewing at different temperatures as your personal taste will tell which is the best for your preference. Many coffee lovers I know prefer 195ºF (90.5ºC). If you don’t have a thermometer, once the water boils. take it off the heat source and let it stand for a couple of minutes before pouring.

To learn more from the Aeropress brewing method, let’s watch AeroPress inventor Alan Adler’s video demonstrating the wonderful AeroPress Brewing Technique:

Vacuum / Siphon Pot

Also known as Vac pot, siphon, or siphon coffee maker.

Coffee Brewing Methods by Dripping/Filtration

Percolator
Chemex
Coffee Maker / Drip
Cold Brew 12 hours
Clever Dripper
Pour Over

Most common questions about coffee

How long is coffee good for after brewing?

You should drink your coffee right after brewing to enjoy its best flavor. However, your coffee will lose its best flavor and aroma within 30 minutes after brewing or just when our coffee cools off due to oxidation.

Black coffee can last for a day at room temperature. But, don’t expect to have its best flavor as the longer the coffee is left out, the more flavor and aroma it loses due to oxidation. On the other hand, drink your coffee with milk within 1-2 hours after brewing. Milk is prone to bacterial growth. And, to prevent digestive discomfort, it’s better to take your coffee with milk while it’s fresh.

We suggest putting milk/creamier on your coffee before drinking it to keep your leftover coffee longer.

How to keep coffee fresh after brewing?

It would be better to keep your coffee in the fridge. Putting it in a cold place is the best way to keep it fresh. Use an airtight coffee mug to prevent your coffee from absorbing other aromas/flavors of different food items in your fridge that could alter your coffee’s taste.

Putting your coffee in the fridge also slows the deterioration of the coffee’s flavor and aroma.

How to measure ground coffee for brewing?

Don’t forget the “Golden Ratio” in coffee brewing, one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water.