How you brew your coffee is largely a matter of personal preference. No one way is better than any other. Today, we’re going to break down some of the main ways to make coffee, and why you may or may not choose to use these methods.
Most homes have a standard drip coffee maker where you add your filter, coffee grounds, and fresh water to the machine, press “start” and let it go. Nowadays, you can get drip machines that have grinders in them, timers, and even ones that make iced coffee! We love drip coffee for its ease and accessibility. It’s a great way to make a lot of coffee that will stay warm for a long period of time, and, if you use a high quality, freshly ground coffee, can taste great.
Water and coffee grounds are steeped together and then filtered out before pouring into your cup. We love using a French press when making coffee for one or two people at home. Because the filter used to strain the coffee has larger holes, you may end up with some coffee “sludge” at the bottom of your cup. Don’t let this turn you off! That same filter process means your coffee will have a bigger, richer body and flavor.
The term pour over is used to describe many different ways of brewing, but they all have one thing in common: water is poured over the grounds and the resulting filtered coffee is collected in a container underneath. You may be familiar with names like Chemex, Origami, Hario V60, Kalita, etc. All are different versions of the pour over technique. The main components to worry about are the grind size, contact time of water to grounds, and the amount of grounds used. We’ll go more in depth on pour over technique in a different post. This process is more hands on than many of the others, which can be a deal breaker on mornings when you're short on time. We find pour overs to be a wonderful weekend ritual, as you'll get a cup that can highlight the complexity and uniqueness of the coffee you're brewing.
The staple of any great coffee shop is their espresso. While you can get home espresso machines, the maintenance required is a common deterrent for people. Unless you’re committed to regular cleaning and upkeep, leave the espresso machines to the cafes. If, however, you love the taste of espresso and enjoy these small cups of delight, then a machine at home may be right for you. There are plenty of options, from fully manual machines to ones that use pods to create a shot of espresso, giving you endless range to create your own espresso-based drinks at home.
Ah, cold brew, we love you! Cold brew is easy to make, but requires much patience. Like, 18 hours of patience. At its core, cold brew is coarsely ground coffee steeped in room temperature water for 12-18 hours before being filtered or strained. Because of the long brew time, cold brewed coffee is often less acidic and more smooth than drip coffee. It's easy to make a large batch of cold brew on the weekend and have it ready to go all week long.
Many coffee shops offer most or all of these methods of coffee, so before deciding which brewers you’d like in your home, go try a few to pick your favorite. And if you like them all, nothing wrong with that either!