Coffee Brewing Methods.
There are so many different coffee brewing methods today that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Don't worry, Dripbox has you covered! When you purchase really good coffee, you want to prepare it well and highlight each cup. While you may have tried some of these at your favorite local coffee shop, you don't have to be a barista to do these yourself at home. If you’ve been afraid to try something new, had no idea where to start or what to buy - we’re here to help! By the end of this guide you’ll have a good foundation of the popular brewing methods, how to do them yourself, and what’s needed to accomplish your desired brewing style. Let’s dive in!
AUTO DRIP METHOD
Most of us have a drip coffee maker at home. Auto drip brewers, or coffee makers, have a conical filter above the pot where you can add a paper filter (or a built in reusable filter) and press a button to brew. Since the brewer does all the work it’s called an auto drip brewer. Brewing with a coffee maker is simple, you put the coffee in the filter, water in the reservoir and press start. Easy peasy! They’re a great option when you are short on time or need to make a big pot of coffee quickly for guests. Many of us have it on a timer to come on in the morning so all we have to do is pour it into our cup and go. Typically, the brewing ratio for an auto drip is 1-2 Tablespoons of coffee per 6 oz. cup. Most cups are larger than 6 oz., so adjust for your cup. Check out our other blog post listing our favorite drip coffee machines.
We recommend always using a good grinder no matter what brewing method you choose (we have recommendations here and we also have Baratza grinders for sale in our shop).
Equipment: The recommended grind size is medium for a drip coffee maker. You will need your coffee brewer, a filter or reusable filter if it has one, grinder, and your coffee.
Fun fact: The first electric drip coffee maker was called the Wigomat and was invented in Germany in 1954 by Gottlob Widmann. It was made popular in the U.S. by Mr. Coffee in 1972 and replaced the percolator as the most popular brewer for home and commercial use.
POUR OVER METHOD
The pour over method is a process of pouring boiling water through coffee grounds. The grounds are inside of a “pour over brewer” that is sitting on top of a carafe or cup. It looks like a cup but the bottom is open to allow the coffee to drip into your coffee cup. To brew you hand pour the water over the coffee using a gooseneck kettle. It does require a little more time, but it accentuates the flavors of the coffee very well and offers a clean, clear, and delicate texture.
There are many options for pour over equipment, but you can start with a very simple device and some filters. Some options are the Hario V60, Kalita Wave or Chemex. The Chemex is a great pour over option if you’re making more than one cup. If you are looking for a statement piece, check out Cafec and Origami. They all have their own recommended filters so if you opt for more than one device you will have to purchase their specific filter. You will also need some type of kettle. We recommend opting for a gooseneck kettle because it offers more control over the water flow and direction so that you don’t overagitate the grounds while brewing which can lead to a decline in overall flavor.
There is a ratio of coffee to water that is recommended when doing pour overs. The generally accepted ratio is 1:17 or 1 gram of coffee to 17 grams of water. To achieve this, you will need a good scale. A food scale works fine, but if you’re willing to splurge the Hario V60 drip coffee scale and timer is a great purchase and is what we use alongside the V60.
Place your filter in the brewer and place that on top of your cup/carafe. Before adding the coffee, give the filter a quick rinse with some of the boiling water. This rinses out the paper residue and warms up your carafe. It might seem unimportant but trust us, you’ll want to rinse your filter and warm your carafe so your coffee stays warm longer and your coffee doesn’t taste papery. Once rinsed and warmed, you’ll then discard the rinse water in your carafe. Set your cup/carafe and brewer on top of your scale, add your coffee to the filter and pour the water using circular motions starting in the center and working your way to the edge. Once the coffee grounds are saturated, stir and let bloom (the grounds puff up when they come in contact with the water). When stirring, make sure not to do it aggressively, but just enough to allow the water to properly saturate. Once you’ve let the coffee bloom you’ll then slowly pour in the remaining water in circular motions making sure to saturate all the grounds.
Equipment: The recommended grind size for pour overs is medium and should resemble coarse sea salt. You will need a grinder, pour over brewer, filter, kettle, scale, a spoon, and coffee.
Fun fact: The pour over method was invented in Germany in 1908 by Melitta Bentz. She was unhappy with the coffee she was making and decided to put blotting paper instead of her cloth filters in a brass pot, poke holes in the bottom of the pot, add the coffee and pour water over it. It was a success! She perfected the design and patented it 2 years later. She also created a paper filter which is still sold today by the Melitta Company. The pour over method is currently favored by many in the coffee world.
FRENCH PRESS METHOD
The French press immerses coffee grounds completely in water and then strains them using a metal filter. It comes in a variety of sizes so you can make more than a cup, if preferred. The press is a carafe that you can serve directly from and is a heavier texture coffee that ends up very full bodied. This process is more time consuming than automatic drip machines, but very doable even on a busy morning.
It is a straightforward technique of pouring boiling water into the press over your coffee. First, you warm up your empty press by rinsing it with hot water. Discard the water, then grind your coffee and put it into the press. If you have an 8 cup French press, you will need about 60 grams or approximately 8 Tablespoons. Next, you’ll add the boiling hot water halfway to the top, saturating the grounds and wait 1 minute. Stir the grounds and then fill to the top with the rest of the boiling water. Let it steep for another 4 minutes, then press the filter down. Once you’ve pressed, it is ready to serve!
Equipment: The recommended grind for a French press is coarse. You will need a French press, a kettle to boil your coffee, grinder, spoon, and your coffee.
Fun fact: The French press was invented in 1852 by two French inventors, Mayer and Delforge. It was unlike the French press we know today which was patented in the United States in 1929 by Italians Attilio Calimani and Guilio Moneta. In France, it is actually called Bodum, South Africa calls it plunger coffee, but here in the US we refer to it as French press after the original inventors even though they were not the ones who patented it.
The AeroPress is a combination of immersing the grounds like a French press with the use of a paper filter. It is a fast and portable way to brew making it a great travel method.
To brew, you will first put the filter in the basket and set it over your cup. Make sure to rinse with hot water, and discard the rinse water from your cup. Attach the basket to the brew chamber and set over your cup. Add your coffee, which is typically 17grams or about 2.5 Tablespoons, then add your boiling water up to the #4 on the chamber (or 220 grams) making sure the grounds are saturated. Stir and put plunger on the chamber. Pull up to create a seal. After 1 minute, remove the seal and stir. Put the plunger on again and press down.
Equipment: The recommended size of grind is fine. You will need the AeroPress, a grinder, spoon, a kettle to boil the water and your coffee.
Fun fact: The AeroPress was invented by American, Alan Adler in 2005. It was inspired by the espresso machine, but uses no electricity. It is similar in some ways to the French press but the brew time is much shorter with the AeroPress. Alan wanted to reduce the bitterness of his coffee and he felt that would be achieved by a shorter brew time. The coffee industry expressed doubt, but the proof was in the cup of coffee! It has reached great popularity because of the ease, it’s inexpensive, portable, and most importantly - makes great coffee. Alan also has over 40 patents in electronics, optics and aerodynamics.
Espresso is a shot of very concentrated coffee made in a machine that forces hot water through the coffee grounds at high pressure. It is Italian in origin, and is the most common way to make coffee in southern Europe. It is thicker and the flavors are very concentrated. Espresso has more caffeine than most coffee, but is served in a much smaller cup so ends up being less caffeine than a traditional cup.
Fun fact: Angelo Moriondo from Turin patented a steam coffee making device in 1884 but it brewed in bulk, not as small individual servings. Luigi Bezzera from Milan made several improvements and applied for a patent in 1901. That patent was bought by Desiderio Pavoni in 1903 and he founded La Pavoni company and produced the machine in Italy. Espresso continues to grow in popularity throughout the world.
It is definitely an investment to purchase an Espresso machine for home use, but there are many good ones out there. Prices range widely depending on how much you want to spend. If you are looking to make the big purchase, we recommend a traditional espresso machine versus the single serve espresso options currently in the market.
COLD BREW COFFEE METHOD
The earliest record of cold brew is from Japan in the 1600s and was made with tea.The method was to let a single drop of water drip onto the leaves. To produce a batch, it would take many hours. It is said the Dutch used a boiled down concentrate of coffee that was brought aboard their ships. It didn’t need fire to heat it up and could be bottled and sold at ports. After seeing the Dutch method, the Japanese began using their cold brew tea method for coffee.
During the 1800s, the Americans, French, Scotts, and Brits all simmered a coffee concentrate that soldiers would reconstitute in the field. The French provided a concentrate served cold similar to our iced coffee. This was the original Mazagran, coffee that is sweetened and mixed with cold water. The method became very popular in the United States and Cuba through the 1950s. Cold brew has gained huge popularity in the U.S. Many of the coffee chains offered their versions and now you can buy it almost anywhere.
If you want to try your hand at it from home, there are recipes out there. It is a trial and error process, but would be great for someone who wants a new hobby!
We hope this helps you in your search for new methods to try or equipment to consider. This is just a brief overview. There are so many videos to help you learn these methods and there’s equipment in all price ranges. We’re hoping to be able to provide you with video tutorials soon on all of these amazing brewing methods! We have personally tried many of these methods and products. It is amazing to see how the coffee changes based on the method and products you use. We highly encourage you to try some new things and have fun!
Very informative and helpful. Going to try a pour over! Thanks.