5 ways to brew an amazing cup of coffee
The popularity of fresh coffee has exploded in the UK in recent years. As a result, people are becoming increasingly experimental with their brewing methods as they look to brew a great cup of coffee.
From inventing new techniques to discovering tried and tested methods from overseas, there are many ways to concoct a perfect cup. This blog post will cover five of the most popular methods.
1. The French Press
The French Press is a true classic and probably how many in the UK first experience fresh coffee. It is easy to understand why the French Press is so popular. It is simple to use, cheap to buy and can produce enough coffee to serve multiple people. What could be better?
That being said, there are limitations to the French Press. Firstly, it can be tricky to clean. The used coffee grounds often get stuck inside the pot and the only way to dispose of them easily is to flush them down the sink. Not ideal for plumbing!
A French Press also requires a longer brewing time than other styles of making coffee, usually about ten minutes plus water boiling time. This might not sound like a long time, but if you are in a hurry it can feel far longer.
Pros: Cheap, easy to use, makes multiple cups of coffee at once.
Cons: Difficult to clean, longer brewing time than other methods.
Tips: When using a French Press, always use a coarse grind of coffee. Too fine a grind can result in the filter becoming clogged. In some cases the coffee grounds could even pass through the filter into the cup.
2. Espresso Machine
No longer just found in cafes, espresso machines are being purchased increasingly for home use.
The set up of an espresso machine is completely different from that of a French Press or similar equipment. As the name suggests, the machine brews shot of espresso rather than larger coffee drinks. As well as being drunk by itself, espresso can be combined with water or milk to make an americano, latte, cappuccino or other beverage.
An espresso machine is the perfect solution if you are looking to make cafe style coffee at home. Most will come with a “wand” to froth milk to help you make the perfect latte or cappuccino. Perfect if you are making coffee for one or two people, an espresso shot can be brewed in around ten seconds. Brewing for more, however, can make you feel like you are working in a cafe!
The main drawbacks of the espresso machine are its cost and upkeep. Whilst they can be picked up pretty cheaply, they will almost certainly be more expensive than non-automated brewing equipment. Specialist chemicals are also needed to prevent limescale build-up.
The other thing to consider when purchasing an espresso machine is whether you have space for one. As with other coffee machines, they take up more space than a French Press, Aeropress or V60. That being said, a smart espresso machine can make a bold style statement in the home kitchen.
Pros: Produces great cafe style espresso. Quick brewing time.
Cons: A more expensive investment than other kit. Tricky to clean. Takes up counter space. Not suitable for serving multiple people quickly.
Tips: Using very fine ground coffee produces the best result when brewing espresso. Using filtered water will not only make better-tasting coffee but also reduce the build-up of limescale.
3. Drip Filter Coffee Machine
The drip filter coffee machine has been a staple in offices for decades, particularly in the USA. They are becoming increasingly popular in the UK as demand for fresh coffee grows.
The cheap cost and ability to brew a large quantity of coffee are the major advantages of drip filter coffee machines. Some models can brew up to 14 cups whilst still being available for less than £20, Some machines use an uncomplicated “on-off” switch, making them simple to use in contrast to other coffee machines.
A downside is that drip filter coffee can take a little while to brew, depending on the quantity of coffee needed and the machine itself.
This style of the coffee machine comes with extra costs. Similar to the espresso machine it is worthwhile using specialised cleaning products to keep it in working order. Additionally, coffee filters would also need to be purchased. From an environmental perspective, these filters are becoming increasingly frowned upon, although compostable and reusable varieties are available.
Pros: Drip filter machines are relatively cheap to buy. It’s easy to brew large batches of coffee – Perfect if you are looking to make iced coffee to give to a crowd.
Cons: Needs specialist cleaning chemicals. Less Environmentally friendly if using filters. Depe
Tips: A medium grind coffee is perfect for drip filter coffee machines. Be sure to choose good quality filters that catch all the ground and don’t break easily.
A relatively new invention, the Aeropress is similar to a French Press in that it uses a plunger. However, that is where many of the similarities end.
The Aeropress forces coffee directly into a mug or jug, rather than leaving it sitting in the main vessel to be poured as with the French Press. The benefits of the Aeropress are numerous. It is easy to operate, relatively cheap to buy and produces great tasting coffee – Its reception has been overwhelmingly positive.
However, there are some negatives to this new-age contraption. As with the drip filter coffee machine, you need to buy filters for it. So if you are someone who is concerned about environmental impact, this might not be the device for you. Another downside is that it only makes coffee for two people at the absolute most, but usually only one. A French Press or filter coffee machine would be more suitable if you like to host.
Pros: Portable, easy-to-use and produces consistently great coffee.
Cons: Uses filters (so increases waste and cost), can only serve one or two people at a time.
Tips: When using an Aeropress, make sure the grounds are in an even layer to get a better extraction of coffee. To do this, give the Aeropress a little shake before adding hot water.
5. Stove Top Espresso Brewing (or Moka Pot)
The Moka pot is the cheaper way to make espresso if you do not want to splash out on an expensive espresso machine. Available in a range of sizes , they are perfect if you want to brew multiple shots of espresso on a budget.
The Moka pot works by forcing water from a bottom chamber up through coffee grounds where espresso forms. You are left with espresso but not as you know it. The flavour produced by a Moka pot is usually harsher and stronger than the shots produced from an espresso machine.
The trickiest part of brewing using stove top pot is getting the grind right . The common wisdom is that it needs to be somewhere between the grind used for espresso and a drip filter machine. Once you have this nailed, it is pretty easy to use and produces strong coffee in a matter of minutes.
Pros: Cheaper than an espresso machine, can brew for large numbers at once. Produces super strong coffee if that’s your thing.
Cons: Difficult to get the grind right, can produce harsh tasting coffee.
Tips: Buy a larger Moka pot than you think you will need – It’s always useful to be able to brew more coffee!
How do you brew your favourite coffee?
We hope that you have found this blog post useful and has provided a good introduction into how to brew coffee. There are far more than 5 ways – Keep a look out on our blog page for posts giving information about even more methods.
Inspired by one of the methods? Try our wonderful varieties of beans and ground coffee from our coffee shop or subscription page. We grind to order so can cater for whichever brewing style you choose. Happy brewing!