6 Other Ways To Brew Coffee
We’ve relied on cheap coffee machines to do the heavy lifting for years. That’s fine if you feel indifferent about the body of your coffee, the taste, and the overall quality of the roast.
However, there’s a lot to be discovered about brewing good quality coffee if you’ve been limiting yourself to plain coffee from your cheap drip machine for years.
If you’re a true java lover, you won’t want to leave your morning cup in the hands of the $40 coffee maker that you bought back in college. We explored six different brewing methods that you can use to change the way that you think of coffee.
A French press is a coffee brewer that comes with a plunger and a mesh filter. These brewers will usually be made of glass or metal. You’ll usually see them on the desks of busy executives or in trendy coffee-shops by request.
You’ll want to use a French press if you are looking for a coffee brewing method that gives you these perks:
- Easy to transport
- Few materials
- Easy to clean
Not all French presses are created equal. You’ll need to decide how large of a french press you’d like (some can make up to twelve cups), what style, and what brand. Since traditional french presses are often made of sensitive materials, you’ll want to look for a major brand like Bodum before you make your final decision.
Brewing on a french press is going to be much different than what you’re used to if your routine is usually loading up a filter and switching on your machine. You’ll need hot water, coarse ground coffee, and some sort of timer.
You’ll want to pour the hot water over the grounds and fill it up to the fill line. The hot water will need to steep for about 4-5 minutes. When it’s done steeping, pushed the plunger on your french press down, and it’ll reveal a smooth cup of coffee.
Coffee from a French press will taste smooth across the tongue and pack more flavor into each note because the grounds have been steeped and not filtered like your traditional drip coffee brewer.
Speaking of non-traditional coffee brewing methods, the Chemex is next in line. The Chemex is another pour over style coffee maker. It is similar to the French press in that it’s a glass container that will help you get a strong brew. Here’s a few key differences:
- The Chemex is cone-shaped, not coffee pot shaped like a french press.
- The Chemex uses a paper filter.
- The filter that you use for the Chemex is thicker than a traditional coffee filter.
If you want to give a Chemex brewer a try, you’ll want to consider a few things before you buy it. Do you want the smaller size or the bigger size? If you find that you’re trying to replace a traditional drip coffee brewer that made at least eight cups coffee, you’ll want to go with the larger sized option. You can impress your guests with the Chemex brewing process, and give them a taste of pour over coffee.
So, in a similar way to the French Press, the Chemex works by directly brewing the grounds by pouring hot water on them. You’ll let it sit for about forty-five seconds. Once forty-five seconds have passed, you’ll remove the thick filter and pour your coffee.
Since the Chemex’s thick filters are designed to filter out any unpleasant burns, oils, or grounds, you should have a very clean cup of coffee. Depending on the type of coffee you purchased, you should have a strong, smooth cup of coffee.
Pour Over Drip Coffee Method
In the last two sections, we touched on other pour-over methods that involve using hot water to help your coffee bloom and then letting it steep. The pour-over method is what you’ll commonly see in coffee shops if you order a cup of specialty coffee.
Brewing your coffee this way is great for the individual that doesn’t like a rushed cup of coffee. If you want your coffee brewed with time and a little elbow grease, you’ll want to try this out.
Some pour over cones are made of plastic or porcelain depending on where you buy them from or what your local coffee shop carries. You’ll need cone-shaped filters, but these are regular, thin, paper filters. They shouldn’t be thick like Chemex filters.
If you don’t have a gooseneck teapot/kettle already, you’ll want to get one when you purchase your pour-over setup. When you brew with your pour over setup, you’ll be pouring the hot water directly onto the grounds, similar to the French press or the Chemex.
You’ll want to make sure that your grounds have been prepared for a pour-over or cone setting, as this could alter the taste of your coffee. The coffee will bloom as your pour the hot water from your gooseneck kettle onto the grounds, then you’ll go around the edges. The coffee should taste more robust and less acidic.
Coffee percolators are another brewing method, but unlike the French press and drip coffee maker, you won’t see them around a lot today. They brew coffee by repeatedly pumping coffee into the tube mechanism in the center of the pot.
Invented in 1880, coffee percolators are fairly inexpensive compared to expensive drip coffee brewers and you can purchase a few different types:
- Glass percolator: The glass percolator will still have the same tube chamber that the metal percolator does, but you’ll probably see the stainless steel and electric percolators more often. Unlike the metal percolators, you can watch the progress of your coffee as you wait for it to brew. You must watch your glass percolator as water prepares to shoot into the tube.
- Stainless steel percolator: The stainless steel percolator does not give you the advantage of watching the water perk the way that the glass percolator does, but it’s a little easier to transport for events like camping. However, the electric stainless steel percolator might be the best bet for camping, travel, etc.
- Stainless steel electric percolator: The electric percolator won’t require an outside heating element, like a heated gooseneck teapot. You might get a better brew out of this particular percolator because the electric heating element does make it easier to control the temperature of the coffee as it perks.
The Aeropress is an exciting and relatively new way to brew coffee. The Aeropress’ invention was fairly recent, as it was created in 2005 by Alan Adler.
The aeropress is a tube/syringe shaped coffee brewer that uses gravity to help you get the best brew. It uses thin, disc shaped metal filters or paper filters to extract the grounds from your brew before they make it into the cup.
When you start looking for an aeropress, you’re likely to find the dark, plastic models when you shop in person or buy one from an online retailer. The aeropress has gone through a few design changes but the dark plastic is the one that you’re more likely to find now.
When you brew with an Aeropress, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using coffee that’s been finely ground. You’ll take your gooseneck teapot or other hot water element (like an electric kettle) and pour water over the grounds.
Similar to the pour over brew method that we described above, allow the coffee to bloom for a few seconds and give it five or six stirs. You’ll pour more water to the top after that, and then you’ll move your aeropress over to your preheated mug.
If you aren’t used to brewing using any other method than drip coffee brewer, it can feel like there’s a lot of steps to the aeropress. However, once you press your hand against the plunger, flavorful and robust coffee will move into your mug.
Unlike the french press or the percolator, the aeropress only brews one cup at a time. It’s ideal for someone that’s got a little bit of time in the morning and you only need to brew for one person. If you work inside of a cubicle, you can use an electric kettle on your aeropress at your desk to make coffee for one.
People that like a cup of coffee as a way to kick start their day might be comfortable sticking with a method that brews fast, efficiently, and leaves little for them to clean up.
However, coffee lovers, like most of us at the Coffee Corner, don’t mind taking some extra time and love to brew the perfect cup of coffee. If you’re looking for the perfect cup of coffee to go with that brand new bag of beans, any of the six, less popular brewing methods that we listed above will be perfect for you.
In Coffee Corner, I write about all things related to coffee and particularly coffee makers.
After being a self-admitted coffee addict for 20 years and as an experienced barista I would consider myself pretty well-versed on the subject. I will try to provide you as much information as possible about coffee makers and coffee in general, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us!