Learn to make coffee at home and what is the best coffee brewing method for you. Read tutorials, coffee making equipment reviews, coffee beans reviews. Become an expert home barista.
Coffee Brewing Methods – An Introduction
The list is not an exhaustive one; it contains the most popular brewing methods in the Western hemisphere. We could add to the list the Indian coffee and Vietnamese coffee methods, (very similar by the way). For a longer list check our wiki page about coffee preparation methods.
- Drip Coffee
- French press
- Turkish or Arabic Coffee
- Moka Pot
- Cold Brew
- Manual Drip
- Single Serve Coffee
- The Vacuum Pot, (Siphon)
Espresso is prepared by pushing hot water through a layer of compacted ground coffee, contained in a port-filter. Espresso is a very concentrated coffee, with a lot of body, aroma, and flavor. It contains a lot of coffee oils and solids. The most distinctive features of espresso are the foamy layer on top and the low volume of the drink. Pulling a shot of espresso requires training and knowledge, take a look at our espresso brewing guide, for a comprehensive tutorial.
Turkish coffee is a method of infusing finely ground coffee in nearly boiling water. What is very specific to Turkish brewing method is the grind size which is the finest possible, almost a powder. There are no electrical Turkish coffee grinding machines for the residential use, but the manual mills work perfectly. Turkish coffee has the fullest body of all brewing methods. If you like clear coffee, stay away from it.
Drip coffee or filter coffee is one of the most popular coffee brewing methods. The method involves pouring hot water over ground coffee beans. We strain the brew with a paper filter, or a metal or plastic mesh. The coffee from a drip brewer is clear and clean, with a high ratio of caffeine extracted per spoon of ground coffee. The brew is good if you use a good coffee machine, but it’s only average with cheap equipment. Pour-over devices can compete with high-end coffee makers such as Technivorm or Bonavita, in terms of taste and aroma. However, manual drippers, as they are also called, are less convenient than electrical drip brewers. Learn how to brew drip coffee here.
French press, or press pot, is a very simple coffee brewing device with a beaker and a plunger/filter. The preparing technique consists of pouring hot water over coffee grinds and let it steep for a few minutes. After the steeping is over the plunger/ filter is pressed down, to separate the grinds. French press coffee has a medium body, less than espresso but denser than drip. The aroma and flavor of a press pot coffee are intense, and the method it is gaining more and more popularity. Check our guide to brew with a French press for a detailed tutorial. You can also check our product comparison stainless steel press pot comparison here. This brewing method is re-gaining the once lost popularity because it’s inexpensive and simple.
Moka pot is a device for making coffee that uses steam pressure to push water through coffee grinds similar to espresso method, but with much lower pressure. The pressure in a Moka pot is about 1 bar compared to a real espresso machine with 9 bar. The coffee made in a Moka pot, as you would expect, is very bold, it resembles espresso. Stovetop espresso lacks the crema, and it has much less aromatic oils. It is a decent espresso alternative. You can take a look at our Moka pot brewing tutorial if you need some guidance. It’s a great resource.
Cold brew is the favorite way of preparing coffee for people with stomach problems. If regular, hot, coffee brews upset your stomach, cold brew is your choice. The brewing method implies steeping coffee grinds for extended periods of time, (12 to 36 hours), then straining it and serving it cold or hot. Because it takes so long to brew, people prepare large batches and store it in the fridge for several days. Check this page for a few cold brew coffee makers.
Single Serve Brewing
There is no consensus whether single serve coffee machines are a distinctive brewing method or not. However, if you think about Keurig brewers, they use pressure to push water through the coffee grounds, but the pressure is not as high as with espresso machines. The coffee is ground coarser than for Moka pot, and it is less compact, hence a faster brewing time. In the end, a Keurig machine brews coffee in a unique way, like no other coffee maker. Single serve provides you a clean cup, with decent aroma and flavor, and minimum effort. It is one of the most convenient devices, reducing the operator’s manual intervention to zero.
Aeropress is a manual coffee making device that allows you to use pressure to brew a cup. The method involves a two steps process, with a few minutes of steeping followed by pushing the brew through the coffee grounds under pressure to extract even more solids and caffeine. Aeropress coffee is strong with ample body and resembles a lot with espresso.
The method is most known for its versatility. You can brew from the mildest cup of hot brewed coffee to a strong cup with bite. We wrote an AeroPress brewing tutorial that has many tips and tricks, if you want to learn more about it.