Pulling Espresso Shot with Gaggia Classic

How to Brew Coffee – 10 Ways to Brew Coffee

How to make pour over coffeeThere are many ways to brew coffee, and finding the perfect one is a personal journey, is a matter of taste, culture, and personality. The ten ways of preparing coffee described on this page, are the most popular ones. There is no right or wrong in preparing a cup of Joe, your preference is based on a multitude of aspects that are important to you. For someone else though, these aspects might not be as important. Things like convenience, strength, aroma, coffee personality and specific flavor, crema, roast type, specific acidity are factors that could count or not in your personal evaluation. Just keep an open mind and do not follow trends just because it’s cool. Your morning coffee taste is more important than a trend, and nonnegotiable.

10 Best Ways to Brew Coffee

Don't let the coffee specialists to tell you what is good for you. You decide for yourself. For the coffee enthusiast, convenience is rarely something to consider. However, for most of us convenience is the most important. Add into this equation the price of the equipment, the price per coffee cup and all becomes more complicated. Did I confuse you already? I hope I didn't, you will figure out by yourself anyway what works best for you. For instance, during the workweek I prefer the convenience. A Nespresso, or a coffee from a professional coffee machine, (a good drip coffee machine), would do it. It's fast, convenient, and the coffee is great. I don't have too much time, so I need to make a compromise. However, during the weekend, I will take my time and pull a shot of espresso, or make myself a Turkish coffee.

In my opinion, there is no good or wrong way to prepare coffee, it's just the best way for you at a certain moment. Obviously, there some things that you would never get used to, like grit and silt in your coffee. Turkish coffee lovers though, have nothing against a little bit of grit with their joe, if that's going to enhance the flavor and aroma.

This page shows you the ten best ways to make coffee. They are the most popular ways to prepare coffee, try them and decide which one works best for you. Remember the best coffee experience is a personal one, although in many parts of the world, coffee time is a socializing event.

Here is the list with the most popular ways to make a good cup of joe:

  • Espresso
  • Drip Coffee
  • French Press
  • Aeropress
  • Cold Brew Coffee
  • Percolator
  • Vietnamese Filter
  • Turkish Coffee
  • Moka Pot
  • Vacuum Pot

Espresso - The Best Way to Brew Coffee

Pulling a shot of EspressoThis is my favorite way to brew a flavorful cup, and many coffee lovers especially in Europe, drink espresso on a regular basis. 

Brew Method

Espresso is one of the methods that becomes more and more popular, and the brewing equipment becomes cheaper and more convenient. Espresso appeared in Italy, and the spread across Europe, then the rest of the world. Brewing espresso involves pushing hot water through finely ground and compacted coffee. The water temperature is lower than with other methods using infusion. The result is a small cup of very concentrated coffee, with a foamy top layer, (la crema), and with an intense aroma. For a detailed tutorial, check our espresso brewing guide.

Characteristics

Very flavorful, small quantity and very concentrated.

Grind Size

The grind for espresso is fine to extra-fine, depending on the coffee type and the espresso machine.

Variations

An espresso shot can be pulled into a long shot, a ristretto or Cafe Americano. A long shot is obtained by prolonging the extraction time so that more water is passed through the coffee grinds. A long shot is more diluted in terms of aroma and flavors, but contain more caffeine. If we add more hot water to a long espresso we obtain the Caffe Americano, which has the same strength as a drip coffee, but is more flavorful. A Long Black is obtained by adding the espresso into a cup with boiled water to kill the foamy layer. Cappuccino is a coffee based drink based on espresso steamed milk and hot milk.

Espresso shot in Bodum double wall glass cupInteresting Facts about Espresso

The total amount of extracted caffeine in a shot of espresso is lower than the equivalent of drip coffee, if used the same coffee grinds quantity. However, the caffeine amount per ounce of espresso is the highest. Espresso is the base for many coffee base recipes, such as latte, cappuccino, flat white, mocha, etc... Our friends from Coffee Brewing Methods have a page comparing the best cappuccino makers here.

De'Longhi 15 BAR Pump Espresso Maker

  • Swivel Jet Frother
    Easily froth milk for lattes and cappuccinos with the swivel jet frother.
  • Self-Priming Operation
    Less waiting around for the heating element and the boiler to reach the correct brewing temperature. 
  • Dual Function Filter Holder
    With the EC155's patented dual function portafilter, you can use ground coffee as normal, or coffee pods for convenience. It makes pulling a shot of espresso quick, easy, and less messy.
  • Easy to Clean
    Very easy to clean, with a removable water tank, and a removable drip tray. It's easy to disassemble, clean, and put back together.

De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Maker

De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Maker

Drip Coffee - The Most Popular Way to Brew Coffee

Red Drip Coffee Machine and Coffee MugsBrew Method

Drip coffee is the most popular North American brewing style. Drip coffee is obtained by pouring hot water, close to the boiling temperature through the coffee grounds. The ground coffee is placed on a filter, and the infused coffee passes through the filter. The result is a clear coffee, with a considerable amount of caffeine.

Grind Size

The grind for drip is medium.

Variations

The most popular way of brewing drip is with an automatic machine, known as a "coffee maker", an improperly used term, but very common. The most notable variations are the manual drip filters, such as Chemex, drip cone, etc... The Neapolitan Flip is an interesting device worth mentioning here. Many capsule based coffee machines can be considered drip coffee makers, even though they have a small pump to push the water through the capsule. 

Drip Coffee in Paper CupInteresting Facts about drip coffee

The coffee obtained from a drip machine is clear, with less flavor and body than other methods, and can be very strong if desired. Check our page on how to make a perfect drip coffee, for a detailed tutorial.

How to Make Great Coffee at Home


Cuisinart DCC-1200 Coffee Maker

Conair Cuisinart DCC-1200 Coffee Maker

Conair Cuisinart DCC-1200 Coffee Maker

  • Showerhead for even water distribution and uniform extraction.
  • Charcoal water filter
  • LCD digital clock.
  • Function Knob and Flip Switch: Used to initiate programming of automatic functions.
  • The Auto On feature to schedule the start time of the brew cycle.
  • Heater Plate Control Knob for controlling the coffee temperature after brewing.
  • Clean Setting alerts when it’s time to clean your coffeemaker extending the life of your coffeemaker.
  • Brew Pause for 30 seconds.
  • Easy pour, no drip carafe, scratch resistant heating plate, ready tone to signals the end of the brew cycle.

Turkish Coffee - Tradition at Its Best

Turkish coffee ibrikBrew Method

Turkish coffee is one of the most popular methods in the Eastern Europe and Middle East. It is known under various names, depending on the geographic location, such as Greek coffee, Arabic coffee, etc... Turkish coffee is prepared by bringing to a light boil a mix of ground coffee, water, and in many cases sugar. The coffee brew then is brought close to the boiling point, moment when it overflows. The pot, or ibrik, is then taken away from the stove. The coffee should never fully overflow, and the froth formed during brewing, should be preserved according to the tradition.

Grind Size

The grind size is literally powder. No other grind is acceptable for Turkish coffee.

Variations

Arabic coffee, Greek coffee, Eastern European style coffee, etc...

Brew variations

On hot sand to prolong the brewing time, and obtain a more concentrated coffee, similar to espresso, but with different flavor. On stove with one or more overflows. If boiled more on the stove, will make a stronger coffee but will make some flavors disappear.

There are also now on the market electric Turkish coffee makers, one of the most famous is Beko. 

Freshly Made Turkish Coffee and cupsInteresting Facts about Turkish Coffee 

The Turkish coffee is a dark, concentrated brew, with a delicious taste. Depending on the roast type, and the boiling time, a thin foamy layer can be present. The coffee is not clear as the drip brew, and it might look muddy for some, and the coffee grinds are not even filtered when poured in the cup. The grinds though will settle on the bottom of the cup, and the finer the grind the better will sink.

French Press or the Coffee Plunger Method

French Press - How to make the best coffeeBrew Method

The French coffee press is a pitcher with a plunger. The plunger has a dense metal filter attached to its immersing end. The preparation consists in immersing the ground coffee in hot water and stirring a bit to facilitate the infusion and let the mix rest for a couple of minutes. After this slowly press the plunger down, to trap the coffee grounds at the bottom of the pitcher. Here is a tutorial from Blue Bottle Coffee on how to make French press. You can also check our version on how to use a French press.

Grind

In North America: Coarse In Europe: Medium, I grind it Medium - (try it...)

Variations

The variations come from the grind size, the more coarse coffee will produce a clear coffee, the finer the grind, the darker and more dense the result. Some will say muddy, but if you drink Turkish coffee you won't have a problem with that.

Bodum Chambord French press coffee maker on AmazonInteresting Facts about French Press coffee

Although in North America the best grind size for French press is commonly believed to be coarse, this might not be the best. If you love your coffee clear as a drip coffee, then this is definitely your grind size. But if you want a more flavorful coffee, grinding your coffee finer will help extract more aromas and oils from the grinds.

We think that by grinding anything but coarse will let the grounds pass through the filter. Let's not forget that once the grounds are immersed in the water, they start expanding their volume, and the more we let the grinds the more water they absorb. The key to French press grinding, and any other brewing technique, is to have a good grinding machine, that gives you uniformly ground coffee.

Stovetop Espresso Maker - Moka Pot

Bialetti Moka Pot - Stovetop Espresso MakerBrew Method

Stove top Moka pot is a coffee maker with two chambers. Water is placed on the lower chamber, coffee is placed in the filter-basket, which is strategically placed, so that the steam passes through the coffee before going in the second chamber. Moka needs to be brewed on a low temperature. When coffee stops flowing in the upper chamber take the pot off the heat. Your coffee is ready to be poured into cups.

Grind Size

Medium (between espresso and drip)

Variations

A great variation of the moka pot is the Brikka pot which is an advanced stovetop espresso maker, that features a special valve to control the pressure in the brewing pot. This results in more rich and flavorful coffee very close to the espresso's taste.

Interesting Facts about Moka Pot coffee brew

The Moka pot is a brew similar to espresso, the water is pushed with pressure through a coffee layer, extracting the goodness. However, the moka pot only relies on the pressure developed by the steam. This is the reason the grind needs to be between drip and espresso. However, I don't agree with a wide accepted idea that the grind should be coarse. By using coarse grind, we strip the brew of its great aromas and flavors, there is simply not enough pressure to extract properly.

Vacuum Pot or Siphon Pot - Cool Way to Make Coffee

vacuum pot flickrBrew Method

The vacuum pot looks like a chemical lab equipment, and it really is something like that. The siphon pot is a glass carafe with two chambers, and a filter. The water is poured in the lower chamber, and the coffee grinds are placed on filter in the upper chamber. When placed on the stove, the water boils and expands being forced in the upper chamber, where it mixes with the coffee grinds. When all the water has transferred from the lower chamber the pot is taken off the stove allowing the inferior chamber to cool down. The gravitation and the vacuum created by cooling off the air in the inferior chamber pulls the liquid through the filter, back into the lower chamber. The coffee is now prepared.

Grind Size

Medium (the size for drip), or slightly finer.This involves a trial and error process, adjust your grind size to finer if the medium grind produced a clear coffee, or without any flavor.

Variations

Well, the vacuum pot is actually a variation of the moka pot. The moka pot though, will not allow the coffee to go back in the low chamber, and the coffee goes during preparation through a third intermediate chamber, passing through the coffee puck. The coffee taste is also different. 

Interesting Facts about Vacuum Pot

The vacuum pot is probably the on the top three methods of brewing regarding the taste and flavor. If you haven't tried it, you should definitely do. If you are not afraid about a little inconvenience, like waiting a little, and putting more than 30 seconds on cleaning the device, you will find the vacuum pot brewed coffee the most rewarding coffee experience. Some people call this ritual, and they think this is the proper way to prepare anything. The coffee doesn't have the bitterness usual with other coffee brew types, and it very smooth. This is due to the low brewing temperature - the steam cools down just enough to properly extract the grounds, but not enough to burn the coffee.

Stovetop Coffee Siphon - Yama Glass Vacuum Pot
  • Unique way to make coffee 40-ounce (8-cup) capacity
  • Made of heat resistant borosilicate glass
  • Heat-resistant handle
  • The kit contains a wire diffuser for use on electric coil burners
  • Works on gas and electric range-tops
  • Dishwasher safe

Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon

Yama Glass Vac Pot

Cold Brew - Coffee for People with Sensitive Stomach

Cold Brew CoffeeBrew Method

Cold brew is a method to prepare coffee by soaking ground coffee in cold water for an extended period, 12 or more hours. Although the extracting process can be done with a regular French press, using a specialized cold brew press, (cold press), is going to improve the process. Read this article about making cold brew coffee, if this is your "cup of tea".

Grind Size

Medium grind

Variations

Toddy cold press, French press, unfiltered with an extra fine grind.

Interesting Facts about Cold brew

The cold brew coffee is the best coffee for those who have problems caused by the acidity in the coffee. The coffee prepared this way is a flavorful and rich coffee, yet very smooth, and with almost no acidity at all. Although the agreed brewing time is 12 hours, if you brew it for a bit more, (24 hours), the coffee will be stronger and even more flavorful.

Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker

  • The brewing container has a rainmaker cover that ensures an even distribution of water over the grounds.
  • The brewer has a switch to open the upper container, after the brewing is done. Compared to a rubber stopper, with other brewers, this is great improvment.
  • There is also a mechanism that lets you remove the decanter before the brewing is complete. 
  • The filters are great and they retain any fines in the coffee.
  • The parts of this brewer are made of BPA free plastic.

AeroPress by Aerobie - Coffee and Espresso Maker

Brewing Coffee with AeropressBrew Method

Aeropress is a fairly new method of brewing coffee, in which the water passes through the ground coffee pushed with a low pressure, by a piston handled manually. The grinds are retained by a microfilter. The water temperature is lower than for most of the brewing types, hence a lower acidity of the brew.

Grind

Fine, Espresso

Aeropress - One of the Best Ways to Brew Coffee

Lower temperature of water results in lower acidity and bitterness. The Aeropress is a coffee that is in between espresso and cold brew, borrowing the qualities from both methods. A low acidity and bold flavor coffee.

TIP

By using third party metallic filter-disks, we improve the taste of Aeropress. Aeropress comes with special paper filters, and all paper filters are retaining the aromatic oils from the brewed coffee. By using a metallic disk, we are simulating espresso brewing.

Vietnamese Coffee Filter - Phin Filter

Phin - Vietnamese Coffee MakerBrew Method

The Vietnamese coffee, is a mix of brewing method and ingredients. The Phin filter is a small French drip filter, that sits on top of the cup. Coffee is placed in the filter and then water is poured over the coffee. A traditional Vietnamese coffee is this: Trung Nguyen Vietnamese coffee

Grind

Fine, Espresso

Interesting Facts about Ca Phe the Vietnamese coffee

Essentially, this is a drip coffee, but the interesting thing with this small filter is that you can perfectly control the water temperature. With most drip machines, controlling the coffee temperature is not easy, but with this small device is more simple to add the boiled water at the desired temperature.

Neapolitan Coffee Maker - Neapolitan Flip Coffee Pot

Alessi Neapolitan Coffee Maker on Amazon
Alessi Neapolitan Coffee Maker on Amazon

Brew Method

The Neapolitan coffee pot consists of two pots, with a filter in between. The two pots are placed one on top of the other and the filter in the middle. The bottom pot is filled with water, and placed on the stove. When the water is boiling, the two pots are flipped upside-down, and the water starts to drip in the lower pot.

Grind Size

Espresso

Interesting Facts about the Neapolitan coffee brew

The Neapolitan coffee maker, (cuccumella in Napoletano), is in essence a stove-top drip coffee machine. The look of the Neapolitan coffee maker and the concept of placing it on the stove, will mislead us into believing that it is a moka pot, when in fact it is not. In the case of the moka pot the pressure is used to extract the coffee, whereas in the case of the Neapolitan pot the coffee is simply dripping through a filter. The two things that makes this brew special are the perfect water temperature, and the fine coffee grind that is traditionally used. This will produce a more flavorful coffee.

Are you a coffee enthusiast? How often will you try something new with your coffee? New coffee beans, a new roast, or just a little adjustment to the grind size. or the coffee filter. You can drop a line about coffee anyway, anything, really.

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