What's the best way to brew coffee?

by Donald
(Abbotsford, BC, Canada)


QUESTION:


There seem to be so many different ways to brew coffee. Is there a best way? Does it matter what kind of brewer I use?

ANSWER:

The best way to brew coffee? That's a pretty big question! : )

It all depends on your interpretation of "best". Best as in getting the very finest flavor? Best as in fastest? Best as in the most convenient?

If you want to know how to get the best flavor from your coffee, here are my suggestions.

1. Try a French Press or press pot. This is a very simple method of making coffee.

Learn more on our French Press page...


2. Try a vacuum coffee maker. These are beautiful to look at, in addition to having a well deserved reputation for making wonderful coffee.

Learn more on our vacuum coffee makers page...


3. Try the AeroPress coffee maker. This is a rather weird looking brewer. The taste of the coffee it brews is getting rave reviews. In fact, we have one on order right now and can't wait to try it.

Once we have tried it we'll write a review. In the meantime, you can learn a little more and get your own through Amazon here...

As you may have noticed, these are all very simple brewers. And that seems to be a key to finding the best way to brew coffee. Keep it simple...and enjoy.

NOTE: If you want help with the basics of making a great cup of gourmet coffee, learn more about our Beginner's Guide to Making Coffee.

Comments for What's the best way to brew coffee?

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Sep 30, 2010
Thankyou
by: bestbefore12

I was thinking of purchasing a coffee making machine for my husband's birthday. I have been searching the net for various opinions re coffee machines etc. I have come to the conclusion that keeping it simple is the best. We already have a nice French press (plunger) so I'm thinking of purchasing the glass vacuum coffee maker.
What else do you buy for the man who has everything!
Thanking you

Aug 31, 2010
How to create the perfect home coffee - Your complete guide
by: Justin

Picking a machine is a personal thing. This should probably be the first thing you decide/ have bestowed upon you.

If you're able have a try of a friends or go to a coffee shop that you like and ask what the difference is. Most barista's are really helpful as they love coffee and are more than willing to teach what they know to others with the same love.

1. Choose flavour of coffee/beans
2. Get beans ground to suit your machine
3. Select milk style (if needed)
4. Select Sweetner (if needed)

Then it's just learning the process of making your perfect home coffee, and figuring out a way to make it simple and quick, so that you can replicate that process everyday.

Hope it helps.
Justin

needacoffeefix.com

Mar 14, 2010
Really Best Coffee!
by: Linda D

Based on my personal coffee tastes, coffee made in percolators or in hot-water drip systems are usually very strong and acidic. I, therefore, started to use a French press coffee maker (a glass container with a metal plunging device) and, later, a brand name AeroPress for tastier coffee; however, several months ago, I actually switched to using a toddy coffee maker (a cold drip system) to prepare my coffee, and this has made such an amazing difference!

In a toddy, cold water drips slowly through the ground coffee beans to make a syrup that can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. When a cup of coffee is needed, the required amount of syrup is poured into a cup or glass, and then hot or boiling water (or cold water for iced coffee) is added. It's really delicious -- and far less bitter! Also, for anyone who has problems with the acidity in coffee, this toddy method really does what it promises to do in reducing the acids and bitterness!

Cold brewed coffee naturally seems sweeter due to its lower acidity, and because the ground coffee beans in cold-press coffee never come into contact with heated water, the process of leaching flavor from the beans produces a different chemical profile than conventional brewing methods.

Toddy is a trademark name for the cold brewing system that was originally developed and patented by Todd Simpson in 1964. While there are now other imitations available, the original Toddy patented "cold brew" coffee maker produces, according to the Toddy company, coffee with 67 percent less acid than conventional methods.

There are articles about cold-drip coffee at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5728227/ and at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toddy_coffee. Also, if you search online for "toddy" or "toddy cold drip" or "toddy cold brew" or "toddy coffee" etc., you'll find more websites and information.

My friends, family and I all agree that the toddy system makes the best coffee -- even surpassing other more expensive systems, equipment and methods!

'Hope this is helpful!


Feb 18, 2010
Grinder is Key
by: Anonymous

In my experience, the most important starting place is with your coffee grinder. Make sure that coffee is stored in an air-tight room-temperature container, and use an at-home grinder. Whirly-blade grinders are not very consistent, but I've found that using a conical burr mill, or even just burr grinder is key to great coffee.

For auto-drip, a medium grind works great. Try the cuisinart burr-mill in the 40 dollar price range to get stated!

Mar 26, 2009
Combine French Press and Auto Drip.
by: Brian Katz

Why not simply use a Automatic Drip Coffee maker with a cone filter...which stops dripping when the Carafe is removed or the Basket is swung out........

Simply boil your own water........since many Automatics are not hot enough.

Swing out the basket.
Run hot water through your filter as many suggest to wash the paper flavor out..........Push the basket in and let the water drain into the carafe. Pour out the hot water and put the carafe back in place.
Add your coffee.........Pour in roughly 16 oz. of hot water approx 200 degrees. Make sure you know just how high you can fill your basket without it leaking out of the side.

Stir the hot water and coffee grounds. Let is steep for 4-5 minutes. Now, simply swing the Basket back into place and your brewed coffee will drip into the carafe.
Now, pour the remainder of your water directly into your carafe............Or have your remaining water already in the reservoir of your automatic maker..........Remove the filter and grounds and dispose..........Turn on your coffee maker and let the remaining water automatically drip into the coffee........At this point, the water doesn't have to be up to 200 degrees since your coffee is already brewed.
No, mess to clean up from a French Press.

You can also use this method entirely with your drip maker........Just make sure you know just how much water is entering your basket.

You can even swing out the basket just enough to peak inside and see just how much water is in the basket. Once your desired level is reached, turn off the coffee maker and go through the same steps as mentioned above.
But, remember,that your brewing water may not be hot enough.
The other point to remember, is that only 16 oz of water in your basket may not be able to stay hot enough for the 4-5 minutes of brewing time.

Perhaps, 2.5 minutes..........let it drip and then add some more hot water for the remaining 2.5 minutes.

Experiment !!!
It does make a huge difference as compared to the overly simple Automatic Drip Method.

French Press Coffee without the mess.

Jun 08, 2008
Mark - Thanks for the great feedback.
by: Nick (The Coffee Detective)

Mark, hi

Thanks for the great feedback! Seems like you have pretty much the same views on coffee making as we do.

Like you, we have a ton of coffee makers, including the super-convenient Keurig. But when it comes down to getting the best taste from coffee, we have always recommended the humble manual drip coffee cone, like you. (We have a page devoted to the manual drip coffee cone here.)

Just one thing. Mark, you need to try one more coffee maker...the AeroPress. It's a really, simple and slightly weird manual brewer. A bit like a syringe for an elephant! It has the simplicity of the drip cone, but offers a couple of advantages.

One, it makes it easier to immerse all the coffee grinds in hot water and stir them.

Two, you apply pressure with the "syringe". And that means you can make an espresso-like brew.

We haven't written a review of the AeroPress yet, but you can see a photo of it here.

Here's the amazing part...we have NEVER tasted coffee that's better than what we make with our AeroPress.

Mark, one last thing...if you have photos of your cowboy and your Turkish brewers, it would be great if you could upload them to our photos page.

Jun 07, 2008
Take a tip from someone who has tried them all.
by: Mark Paul

My parents loved to drink coffee......any coffee. Being scottish and financially strapped, my mother would by the cheapest brand and thow it into a percolater and ferment the toxic brew for hours.

When I was in college I drank tea and as a young adult I drank tea. While in Montreal I went into a Van Houte shop and smelled the intoxicating aroma of there coffee and with a bit of arm turning from my wife I bought a Coffee Latte which was served in a bowl with a handle. (To show you my skills in French, I thought Coffee Latte mean't: "A lot of coffee" since it was in such a big cup.) I loved it. This was flavorfull, strong, but not bitter. I soon wanted to drink coffee when I got back home. So I took a cup from the old percolator I made from my wife and suddenly I was brought back to my youth and the dark liquid which was for external use only that my parents made. I began a jounery which involved the purchase of every coffee gizmo known to mankind. (My father said you could sell me a bucket of sand on the beach) I have vacuum pots, french presses, auto drip machines, percolators, cold brew devices and some long copper pot from Turkey I bought at a tag sale. Keurig and Senseo machines and an old cast iron cowboy pot. So what is my opinion on the best way to brew?

Get a cheap Melitta manual drip pot or a chemex pot and use the manual drip method. Keep it in a thermos if you are going to drink it right away. I do have a Keurig machine and I often use it on mornings when I am in a hurry, if you also need to make a cup on the go you could look into this. But, if you are going to take the time to buy freshly roasted beans, grind them and savor them, look at a page on using a manual drip cone.
Save yourself from creating a coffee brewing museum in your kitchen.

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