Comparison Of The Four Best Home Coffee Brewing Methods

Are you open-minded enough to try a new way of brewing coffee? Or, are you stuck in a rut?
There’s a lot more to coffee than simply popping some grounds into an automatic drip coffee maker and waiting for it to brew. (Although it can be that simple.) There are probably 12 to 15 different methods of brewing coffee. We’re going to focus on for very popular ones that produce a great cup of coffee with a minimum of muss and fuss.

.“All you need to make coffee is water and coffee.”

How those two simple ingredients are put together can be infinitely variable. The type of equipment and brewing method can have a huge effect on the taste of the coffee you produce.

You can also have a variety of roasts, which influences the different tastes and will certainly wake up your taste buds. Most coffee brewing methods can handle most types of coffee beans.

You can also have a variety of grinds, which gives the coffee different textures when it’s ground. The type of taste that you’ll get from your coffee is also going to depend on which coffee bean you choose and what kind of coffeemaker that you use.

Helpful Tip: Different coffee brewing methods when themselves to different coffee grinds. Take the effort to learn which grind you should be using. Make sure you’re using the correct grind for your chosen coffee brewing method in order to get the fullest possible coffee flavor out of your chosen beans.

 

In this post I will present, compare and contrast four of the most common coffee brewing methods. Most people have only tried one brewing method and have almost ritualistically stuck with it throughout the years.

The goal here is to get you to try something new. The four methods that we are going to take a look at are: Automatic drip coffee makers French press coffee makers Pour over coffee makers Steeping coffee (both hot and cold)

All that being said, let’s get started looking at are selected for coffee brewing methods.

The following video presents a few of the brewing methods & some handy general tips.

Method #1. Drip Coffee Maker: Brewing Coffee with an Automatic Drip Coffee Machine

I bet you grew up as a kid with an automatic drip coffee maker in the house. That’s a pretty safe bet to make.

Drip coffee makers are some of the most commonly used coffee makers in the United States. They are easy to use and inexpensive to own and operate. One study reports that automatic drip coffee makers are the most purchased small kitchen appliance. Approximately 14 million automatic drip coffee makers are sold each year.

They are available in a wide variety of styles, colors and sizes, there’s a drip coffee maker to fit any kitchen. Drip coffeemakers have gotten very sophisticated in recent years. A question to ask yourself is how well is your coffee maker meeting your particular needs?

Why are they so popular? They are extremely convenient. They fit in very well with a push button culture. Add coffee, add water, push a button, come back in a few minutes in your coffee is ready.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

But does it make a good cup of coffee? If you said yes, the next question is how would you know? Have you tried a different brewing method? After reading this article, we hope you will try at least one other method and compare the two.

Automatic drip coffee makers can run the gamut from being very simple four cup coffee makers that take up hardly any space – great for apartments and dorm rooms. Then there are large programmable units loaded with features they can make coffee, espresso, cappuccino and do just about everything but brush your teeth.

Naturally, the price range reflects the amount of features and the size of the unit. Since I am a single guy I did just fine with this very inexpensive, minimalist, 4 cup coffee maker I got on Amazon. It lasted for a few years.

A difficult part about purchasing an automatic drip coffee maker is realistically evaluating the features that you need and will use.KBG Polished SilverKBG Polished Silver

Features such as these:

  • They can make from 1 to 10 cups of coffee, depending on the machine size. S
  • ome drip coffeemakers come with a built-in grinder.
  • Some have self-cleaning features.
  • Some drip coffee makers have a pause button and an automatic shut off.
  • More expensive models have temperature controls for the water.
  • Some coffeemakers have a built-in hot plate or…
  • Some coffeemakers feature a thermal carafe or thermal car cup.

Automatic Drip Coffee Making Pros And Cons

PROS

  • Drip coffee is convenient and fast – you can push a button and walk away.
  • It is an all in one, self-contained appliance. Pour cold water in get hot coffee out.
  • It has a hot plate to keep the carafe warm after brewing.
  • They come in all price and feature ranges, from cheap and simple to feature loaded and more expensive.
  • Programmable makers are available. Coffee can be waiting for you when you wake up.
  • Can make a lot of coffee quickly.
  • Very consistent flavor, pot to pot.

CONS

  • You lose a lot of control over the brewing process.
  • You cannot control the time the coffee is exposed to the hot water.
  • Unless you have expensive machine you cannot control the water temperature which is critical to brewing a good cup of coffee.
  • You need to use filters – these can be inconvenient and paper filters can remove flavor enhancing oils from the coffee.
  • They are not designed for mobility.
  • The quality of the coffee it makes is less than other methods.

SUMMARY:

Is an automatic drip coffee maker the best choice for you? Check out your answers and feelings about the following statements and facts. If you are a person or family on the go and need coffee fast or even waiting for you brewed in the morning when you get up the automatic drip coffee machine might be up your alley. I, personally, had a programmable automatic drip some years back and could never figure out how to program it.

If you drink a lot of coffee during the day and want to spread it out over time, the drip machine will make a pot and keep it hot. Some people are satisfied with the quality of the coffee they get out of an automatic drip machine. It is consistent, fast, and the most convenient way to make coffee.

If you enjoy more expensive beans, you will be doing your expensive coffee a disservice by using an automatic drip maker. Other methods can maximize coffee flavor. So there is a little bit of a trade-off in terms of convenience versus the quality of the cup of coffee it makes.

Method #2. French Press Coffee Maker: Brewing Coffee with the French Press

The French press method of brewing coffee is possibly the easiest method outside of an automatic drip coffee maker. There really aren’t that many steps to it aside from boiling the water, letting it steep, and pushing the plunger.

This method is great for using with more expensive coffee beans as it will pull out a lot of the flavors and aromatics in give you a great full body cup of coffee. You are not using paper filters that can sometimes filter out flavorful coffee oils. The “filter” is actually more of a very fine metal sieve.

French Press Coffee & Tea Maker Complete Bundle | 34 Oz | Best Coffee Pot with Stainless Steel & Double German GlassFrench Press Coffee & Tea Maker Complete Bundle | 34 Oz | Best Coffee Pot with Stainless Steel & Double German GlassAs soon as the coffee has been timed it must be poured out of the brewing carafe or it will continue to extract and the flavors will start to decay. You make just what you can use in a given sitting. Some folks make themselves a full French press drink a cup or two in the morning and pour the rest into a thermos bottle and take it to work. That’s what I did, I had an old-fashioned Stanley metal thermos bottle that kept the coffee nice and hot until lunch.

As previously mentioned, the French press method of brewing coffee is my personal choice that’s all I use currently. I do so primarily for the following three reasons:

1. Better tasting coffee. However, each type of coffee maker and method of making coffee can produce a different tasting coffee, even though the same beans, grind, and measures are used. Taste and ease of use is a very personal and subjective matter. A lot of people who have tried a French press swear by them and would never go back to their old way of using coffee. This is something you simply must try for yourself.

2. Ease of Use.To make coffee in a French press coffee maker, you put hot water into the pot, add coarse ground coffee creating a coffee and water mixture.Let the coffee steep and brew for three or four minutes. Then you slowly push the plunger down and the grounds are “pressed” to the bottom of the pot. French press coffee can be very strong. The trick is to adjust your measurements of the coffee and make sure you’re using a course grind.
very strong. A little goes a long way.

3. They are economical. French presses are economical for two important reasons:The French press is low cost. The purchase price is lower than most automatic drip coffee makers. There are no complicated mechanisms, timers, or heating elements to add up the costs. They use less coffee. In general, people find themselves using less coffee in a French press versus an automatic drip coffee maker. Only coarse ground coffee is used in a French press. It takes less coffee to make a tablespoon of coarse ground versus fine ground that is used in other coffee makers.

French Press Coffee Making Tips

Now that you have the basics of how to make French press coffee – let’s kick it up a notch.

Let’s watch a really good video on tips for making great french press coffee. We’ll discuss it afterward.

French Press Coffee Making Pros And Cons

PROS

The French press is the perfect choice for everyday delicious coffee. It only takes four minutes, so even people who need coffee on the go can find time to make a great cup. Also,

  • The french press uses a permanent screen filter –  doesn’t use paper filters.
  • You have temperature control of the water when brewed
  • You control the brewing time –  the time the coffee is exposed to the hot water.
  • It produces a richer flavored coffee – all the flavorful coffee oils are left in it.
  • There are portable French presses that can be taken with you.
  • The press itself does not require electricity.

CONS

  • It requires more effort to make coffee than an automatic drip coffee maker.
  • You have to boil the water separately.
  • Cleanup involves actually rinsing out the carafe in the filter after each use – most all are dishwasher safe though.
  •  Since there is no heating element or holding hotplate you make only as much coffee as needed at the time.
  •  (I use a French press exclusively now but still keep my little 4 cup automatic drip coffee maker around just for the extra carafe and heating element to keep my French press made coffee warm).
  • You need to be observant of weights and/or amounts of coffee and water used or you will get inconsistent results.

 

SUMMARY:

I am into the hobby of home roasting coffee, experimenting with different beans and roasts. Full control over the brewing process is very important to me. The French press fits that criteria. I can make small adjustments in my search for that “perfect” cup of coffee. I like fresh coffee that is not sitting around for hours at a clip, so I drink what’s in front of me. I actually enjoy the little ritual of grinding my own beans, measuring the water, blooming the coffee in anticipating the end results. It’s fun for me. If your profile is similar to mine the French press is definitely way to go. It is very inexpensive to get set up I bought a complete French press set up with accessories from Amazon in the $30 range.

Method #3. Pour Over Coffee Brewing: Best Way to Make Coffee with a Pour Over Coffee Maker

In its simplest possible terms the pour over method of brewing coffee is simply to take hot water and poured over coffee and a filter, allowing it to drip into a carafe or cup.It does require a certain knowledge of technique though. Once you have mastered it is relatively simple to duplicate. The pour over brewing technique is actually a delicate brewing technique that pulls a lot of the aromatics and flavors out of the coffee. Like the French press, it is a very good technique to use if you are using expensive and delicate beans.

You won’t be abusing them as an automatic drip machine on occasion does.

When most people think of pour over coffee brewing they think about using a Chemex. There are actually several other pour over systems in use such as the Melita. Here are a couple of examples:

It takes about four minutes to bloom the coffee, poor, and allow it to work its way through the filter. For this technique you want to use a medium or fine grind coffee. This is a brewing method that lends itself very well to lighter roasts, preserving delicate flavors, and bringing out the aromatics.

A primary advantage of using a Chemex pour over system is that it can produce a lot of coffee in one brew.
For this method you can use a medium grind to a course grind of coffee. If the grind is too fine the filter will not allow the water to pass through before it gets clogged up.

Pros And Cons Of Pour Over Coffee Brewing

PROS

  • The pour over is a very cost-effective way to make coffee.
  • You have control over water temperature and the time the coffee is exposed to the hot water.
  • There are no mechanical or electrical pieces to malfunction.
  • The coffee it brews tastes great.
  • Cleanup is very easy, the carafe can go right in the dishwasher if you like.
  • This method is perfect for one cup (or car thermal cup)brewing and there are setups designed especially for that.

CONS

  • Since there is no heating element you need to make only as much is you will drink in the sitting.
  • It takes patience – you have to master the art of the slow pour – dribbling the water over the coffee should take two or three minutes.
  • It requires a specific type of paper filter.
  • There is a good chance you could under or over extract the coffee – due to poor poring skills.
  • It is a bit of a hassle to go through for just one or 2 cups
  • For best results you must work from a formula or ratio – weigh &/or measure.

SUMMARY:

Using a Chemex or pour over system is probably best suited for you if you like the option to brew several cups at one time. It is simplicity in itself and rather an elegant system. Most people leave the carafe out as he counter or table decoration. They look that good. As mentioned previously, this method of brewing coffee does not “bruise” the beans you will get full flavor out of them if done correctly.

Method #4. Brewing Coffee By Steeping: Best Way to Make Hot Coffee or Cold Brew Coffee

Hot Steeped Coffee is referred to as Cowboy Coffee.

I think if cavemen drank coffee this is the method they would use to make it. We know for a fact cowboys did it this way out on the range. In its simplest terms you’re going to take a pot of water heated to boiling, remove it from the f stove or campfire, put the coffee in, weights, and pour.

A good coffee Bean choice for cowboy coffee is a full-bodied coffees such as Colombian or French roast. Use some good quality beans for good results.

Here is a recipe for making cowboy coffee:

  • Add 8 ounces of water for each cup of coffee you are making.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and wait approximately one minute – this will bring the water temperature down to the desired 195 to 200° for steeping coffee.
  • Do NOT boil the water and coffee together, it will be terrible.
  • Stir the water and coffee mixture gently.
  • Steep approximately four minutes.
  • Add two or 3 tablespoons of cold water to help settle the grounds to the bottom of the pan.
  • Gently and slowly pour the coffee out of the pan into your mug’s.
  • Real cowboy coffee is not strained.

For Cold Brewed Coffee | True Cold Brew Immersion & Infusion

The cold brewed coffee segment of the market is the fastest growing segment of all of them. Some people regarded as a current fad and believe that it will fade out. I prefer to believe that is actually people becoming more aware and more sophisticated in their coffee tastes.

Cold brewed coffee can me made in a couple different ways. You can be brewing double strength coffee directly onto ice cubes. Or, you can be making a “coffee concentrate” and keeping in the refrigerator to reconstitute.

This method of preparing cold brewed iced coffee requires a little bit of preparation ahead of time. That’s the bad news. The good news is you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to pull off some great ice coffee.

Basically, you’re going to add cold water to coffee grounds and let and refrigerate until it is ready. 

A simple recipe is to take a pound of ground coffee and added to 1 gallon of water and refrigerate for 24 hours.

This is concentrate. You’re going to need to dilute it unless you want to feel your heart race at unnatural speeds. The recommended ratio is 1 part cold brew concentrate to 1 part water. Then, add milk, cream or sugar to taste

There is some distinct advantages to cold brewing coffee using this method:

  • First off, it is super simple to do.
  • You can make small batches, or scale it up and make large batches, it’s up to you.
  • Once you get your own personal formula down, you can consistently replicated over and over.
  • There is no unpredictability.

Although there is a lot of hoopla about cold brewed coffee having less acid the normal hot brew this is not necessarily true. But, in fact, in this case it is true. The fact that it is steeped slowly at low temperatures produces a low acidity coffee that still has a smooth mellow flavor.

Let’s get right to it.

Here is a recipe for cold brewed ice coffee. This may be a little concentrated. You can play around with adding more a wise coffee or water to get the flavors exactly to your preference. The flavor of the coffee can also be “diluted” by how much cream or milk you might add.

Recipe for Cold Brewed Coffee 9 Immersion & Infusion Method).

  • 1 measuring cup (8 0z) of COARSE ground coffee
  • 1 quart (4 cups) COLD water
  1. Mix coffee and water together.
  2. Chill in refrigerator for at LEAST 12 hours.
  3. Strain out grounds.
  4. Enjoy

Easy Peasy right?

Pros And Cons Of Cold Coffee Brewing

PROS

  • No special equipment needed.
  • You can store it and use as needed in what ever quantity needed.
  • Once its made its good to go any time.
  • Removes a lot of ‘bad’ coffee acid from the brew.
  • The coffee it brews tastes great.
  • Once you get the ratio down, it is duplicatable from batch to batch.

CONS

  • Needs preparation ahead of time for concentrate.
  • If brewing on ice – you need to know the ratio or you simply get watered down coffee.
  • You will remove some of the nuanced and subtle flavors.
  • The flavors will be ‘muddied.’ This isOK if you are adding flavoring or making an iced coffee drink.
  • It can be gritty.

SUMMARY:

Using a cold brew concentrate method is a great way of always having coffee on hand and ready to go. It is great in the summer as a ‘base’ for milky, frothy or flavored iced coffee or blended ice drinks. If you have a sensitive stomach this is the method that produces the lowest amount of acid. Pregnant women love it. It is easy on the tummy.

Using a Chemex or pour over system is probably best suited for you if you like the option to brew several cups at one time. It is simplicity in itself and rather an elegant system. Most people leave the carafe out as he counter or table decoration. They look that good. As mentioned previously, this method of brewing coffee does not “bruise” the beans you will get full flavor out of them if done correctly.

Cold Brewed Coffee (Slow Ice Drip Method)

Of all of the brewing methods we have shown you, this is possibly the most complex of all of them. It is also one of the most showy. A lot of gourmet coffee cafés will have one of these units on display because it is so visually attractive. We thought we would include this in our list of brewing methods as a sort of bonus section, just see you can see what’s available out there.

The slow ice drip method for creating cold brewed ice coffee is a bit more difficult than the two previously mentioned. It requires some investment in equipment and time. It is also a bit more difficult to “get it right”.Yama Glass 6-8 Cup Cold Drip Maker Curved Brown Wood FrameYama Glass 6-8 Cup Cold Drip Maker Curved Brown Wood Frame

Some upscale coffee shops may have a display of the large ice drip coffee set up. There is equipment you can purchase for home use that is not quite as elaborate but utilizes the same basic principles.

All that being said why do people do it? The answer is simple it produces an exquisite cup of cold brew. This method is perfect for somebody who is a bit of a coffee connoisseur and has moved into the ice coffee realm.

Slight adjustments to the technique in terms of time, beans, and methodology can create very subtle differences. If you are great experimenter and are looking to really explore the world of coffee via cold brew ice coffee this may be worth exploring.

Recipe

There really is not a standardized recipe that can be utilized for all I strip makers. Unlike a French press, or the immersion method which uses fairly consistent ratios. Each ice drip system is different.

A basic guideline would be a water to coffee L ratio of 10 to 1. The drip rate should be one drip every 1.5 seconds. The steep time can be from 6 to 12 hours.

We suggest you follow the manufacturer’s suggestions as a baseline method and then experiment from there.

Grey Cold Bruer Slow Drip Cold Brew G2Grey Cold Bruer Slow Drip Cold Brew G2Recipe:For Bruer Slow Drip Cold Brew G2 Shown on the left

  • Coffee: 50 grams
  • Grind: Medium-Coarse
  • Water: 550 grams
  • Water-to-Coffee ratio: 11:1
  • Drip rate: 1 drip per second
  • Steep time: 10 hours

Conclusion:

I think that it is somewhat ironic that we can take something so simple, coffee and water, and come up with so did many different ways to combine them. We can generate almost an infinite variety of tastes and aroma by both the type of beans we use and for the purposes of this article just as importantly, by the type of brewing method we use.

Some of these brewing methods may seem to be very complicated when written out in a step-by-step format. They are actually very simple. You just have to simply learn the technique and generally have a recipe to follow.

One of the reasons I included videos in each section of the article was to show you how truly simple it is to employ the method described in the post.

The surface intention of this post was to present for different popular methods of brewing coffee. The deeper purpose was to get you to start asking some questions about the method you are currently using.

I wanted to encourage you to try something new, something different. New and different doesn’t necessarily have to mean spending a lot of money. Pour over is in French presses can be had for $30.

Coffeemakers can range from a simple “plug it in, press the on button and it brews a cup of coffee” – to ones that set the water temperature from low to high and practically deliver a cup of it to you in another room (although not quite so advanced).

The type of coffeemaker that you pick will depend on what features you’re looking for. Get the best that you can get. People never regret having options, but they always regret not having them.

So when you’re looking for a coffeemaker, think of it as an investment that will pay you back in taste and enjoyment.  Look for a coffeemaker that suits the amount of consumption you know you’ll use.

There’s no use in wasting even a cup of coffee if you know you only like one cup before you leave the house. You can get single cup coffeemakers that can brew some pretty tasty coffee.

Look for coffeemakers that have the best features but won’t sacrifice convenience. Even the most elaborate features need to be easily operated. If you have to spend 8 hours figuring out the instruction booklet, it’s not going to feel like a value.

Is my sincere wish you try something new and learn to make an even better cup of coffee than you are making now.

Why settle for good when great can be just around the corner?

Wishing you the best in your coffee adventures…

home coffee roasting basics

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