Coffee Brewing Methods range from popular Espresso or French Press methods to lesser used methods like Turkish. Here we explore the four most popular Coffee Brewing Methods.
Let's start with the Drip Filtration style.
Drip Filtration is probably the most popular method of all. The Drip Filtration machine works by spraying hot water across ground coffee that is held in a conical shaped filter. The hot water then slowly moves through the ground coffee. Once the water reaches the bottom of the conical filter, it drips into a container beneath it.
The most widely used conical filters are made of paper, while expensive stainless steel or gold conical filters are also available. Yes I did say gold. When buying paper filters, be sure to use oxygen bleached paper. Chemically treated papers may affect the taste of your coffee. Another point to be aware of with paper filters is that you may also have some of the flavorful coffee oils trapped by the paper filter. It is the oils that produce the rich crema when you make an espresso.
The grind is also important with Drip Filtration. If the grind is too fine, you may clog the pores of your filter. You can avoid this by using a course grind (read about grinding here).
Finally, if you do not expect to drink the full pot of coffee, either by yourself (all that caffeine....) or with friends, beware the constantly heated coffee. It loses its flavor and may even become bitter. And the golden rule....never reheat coffee.
One of the simplest of all Coffee Brewing Methods is the French Press or Plunger. This is probably the easiest way to make great coffee!
The French Press works by directly mixing ground coffee with near boiling water. The coffee flavors get drawn out into the water and then the press or plunger is depressed, separating the exhausted coffee grind from the brew. While the process has a similar taste to the Drip Filtration style, the French Press can extract more flavor from the coffee grind by extending the brewing time. But be careful. Manual infusion requires you to get your timing right. If you let the brewing process run too long you may end up with a bitter coffee. Conversely, if you brew too quickly you will have a weak tasting coffee.
One more point, use a course grind. You don't want fine ground coffee escaping through the metal filter and into the brew. A dusty cup of coffee is not an experience worth having.
Probably the most popular of the Coffee Brewing Methods in recent times is making an Espresso using a machine.
So how does an Espresso machine make a great cup of coffee? Super hot, pressurized water is forced through fine ground, tightly packed coffee. The pressurized infusion process ensures that the water stays in contact with the coffee grounds long enough to draw out much of the coffee ground flavor. The water then finds a path through the coffee grounds. And the coffee commences to pour into your cup. When the water finds a path through the coffee grind it is referred to as the 'shot being pulled' through the group.
The sign of a good espresso, using fresh coffee beans, is the richness of the crema. Crema is the hazelnut foam that sits on the surface of the coffee. This is produced by the pressurizing process and the oils of the coffee bean. Oils break down with time, and so a rich crema will be produced using fresh beans.
And if you didn't catch it when I started talking about Espresso, use a fine grind. Using a course grind allows the water to 'brush past' the grind rather than infuse with it. Using a course grind will still produce a good coffee, but it will taste more like a coffee produced using a Drip Filter coffee brewing method rather than true Espresso coffee.
The most Italian of all the Coffee Brewing Methods would have to be making Espresso coffee using a Moka Pot.
The Moka Pot style is also known as a Stovetop coffee pot. Moka pot's come in several sizes including 2, 4 or 6 cup capacities. The Moka Pot a simple 3 piece pot. The water reservoir is at the base, with a coffee basket in the middle and the brewed coffee ends up in the top.
The coffee brewing method is very simple. The pot is placed on a stove top which heats the water in the lower reservoir. As the water reaches boiling point, the steam rises and the water starts to push upward through the coffee grounds. This continues to travel up the central funnel and seeps into the top chamber where it comes to rest. The process finishes when the coffee stops moving into the top chamber. This should only take a few minutes to brew depending on the cup size of the Moka pot.
The grind should be a fine grind, similar or finer to that used in an Espresso machine. If you want to fill the coffee basket the way traditional Italian drinkers do, then heap the coffee grounds high in the coffee basket and screw the two pieces together. Don't worry about compacting the coffee. When the top half of the pot is screwed on, the grounds will be compacted by the filter screen. You should end up with a dry, compacted puck of coffee grounds at the end of brewing.
So there you have it. The four most popular Coffee Brewing Methods.