Those accustomed to making their coffee at home have usually made their coffee the same way for many years. Turn on your coffee maker, place the coffee filter into the basket and fill it with coffee grounds. Press the start button and wait for the coffee to drip into your cup. Sound familiar?
A lot of coffee drinkers stay with what they know. Since there are so many options in the market, finding the perfect blend may not be so easy. Just as there is variety of coffee beverages available, there are also many ways to brew coffee. The majority of us use electronic coffee makers but did you know that these devices may not bring coffee out to its fullest potential?
I want to look at some of the popular coffee brewing methods to prepare coffee at home. This list does not by any way cover all the methods but it’s meant to give everyone an idea of what the method involves and the characteristics of the coffee that ends up in your cup.
The French Press method is perfect if you are looking for a smooth cup of coffee
containing high levels of caffeine. Many people use this method to brew their coffee first thing in the morning since it’s a perfect way to get that morning pick me up.
Patented by Attilio Calimani in 1929, the French Press uses a plunger to apply pressure against a mixture of coffee and hot water. The plunger is normally made up of a metal piece and a rod. The French Press has a filter that has holes that are bigger than a traditional filter. This means that you need to grind your coffee beans thicker than you would for a traditional coffee maker. In order to brew coffee using this method you need to place coffee grounds in a pitcher and add heated water. Let the mixture steep for approximately 4 minutes. You then push the plunger down and out comes a freshly brewed cup of coffee with all the extracted oils and flavour.
The French Press method brews a strong, smooth full-bodied cup of coffee. The one downside is because of the high amounts of oils that are extracted into the coffee. This can increase your cholesterol levels but studies have shown this occurs if you drink more than 6 cups of French Press coffee per day.
The Chemex was invented in 1941 by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm. This method of brewing
coffee has been gaining popularity as of late. The Chemex is made of glass and shaped like an hourglass-shaped flask. One of the unique features of the Chemex brewing method is that this technique uses filters that are 3 times thicker than the traditional filters we are used to using.
The brewing process is similar to the standard drip machine, where you pour hot water over the coffee grounds. The coffee produced is strong, but not as strong as prepared with a French Press. The coffee has a smoother texture containing less oils than what you would get out of a standard drip brew and is very sweet tasting.
Automatic Standard Drip
The standard drip method is probably the most popular way to brew coffee in North America. Most of us grew up around drip coffee machines at our kitchen counters. This method of brewing coffee involves pouring hot water over coffee grounds in an automatic machine. The top of the machine contains a filter which is used to absorb most of the oils contained in the coffee grounds..
What makes a good cup of coffee using the standard drip method? One is the brewing cycle. The length of an average brew cycle is between 2 and 5 minutes. Longer brew cycles result in more caffeine being released into the coffee. The amount of caffeine in the coffee is also determined by the type of roast that is used. Lighter roasts produce more caffeine in contrast with darker roasts produce less caffeine. According to some experts, the brew is good if you use a good coffee machine and average if you use cheap equipment. The standard drip method results in a drink that is high in caffeine, low in oils and the taste is slightly bitter.
If you are looking for a fast way to make coffee, the aeropress might be the solution for you. The aeropress was invented in 2015 by Alan Adler of Aerobie. This method is similar to the French Press method except that the coffee is steeped for between 10-15 seconds and you’re using air pressure to brew a cup of coffee.
The aeropress makes a cup of coffee that is less acidic than drip coffee, is strong and has a smooth and rich flavour.
Single Serve Pod
Single serve coffee machines have become very popular over the past 4 to 5 years. The brewing process is similar to the drip method where hot water is poured over the coffee grounds. In the case of a single serve machine, the coffee grounds are placed inside of a pod. The coffee is already ground and pre-portioned. The strength of the coffee depends on the type of the pod that you choose. For example, dark roast coffee contains less caffeine and light roasts contain higher levels of caffeine.
Pods can either be lined with a paper filter or can be a metal mesh pod. If you use a pod lined with a paper filter than the filter will reduce the amount of the natural oils produced by the coffee grounds. The level of oils will be similar to the amount found in the French Press if you a metal mesh pod.
The advantage to single serve machines is that they produce a clean cup of coffee with a decent aroma and flavour with minimum effort. It is great for people who need to brew a cup of coffee on the go; like students or people in a rush to get to work.
Instant coffee is made from roasted coffee beans that have been ground into a powder to create an extract. The extract has been freeze or spray dried. The concept is very simple – you mix a spoon or two of the instant mix powder into a cup of hot water and you have your cup of coffee.
The result is that you have a drink that is low in caffeine. You can get a little more caffeine in your cup by adding an extra spoon or so of the instant coffee powder to your drink. Instant coffee is also very low in oils which is good if you are worried about cholesterol levels. The taste of the coffee is weaker than other methods of brewing coffee and is not as flavourful. This is a great solution for those people that are looking for convenience.
Cold brewing is another method that has become popular lately. Cold brewing is similar to the French Press technique except cold water is used instead of hot water and the coffee grounds are steeped for a long period of time – anywhere from 12 to 36 hours.
One of the unique things about cold brewing is that it takes away some of the acid that is naturally contained in coffee beans. This is a great drink for people that have stomach problems.
Cold brewing produces a drink that overall is low in caffeine, high in oils and has a smooth and fruity taste to it.
Picking the right brewing process depends on each individual’s taste and lifestyle. Some use one method only whereas others use multiple methods to brew coffee depending on their preference at that moment. What kind of brewing method do you prefer? Is there something about the brewing methods listed above that caught your attention? I would love to hear your comments.