A Quick Guide To Coffee Brewing Methods

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coffee brewing methods

The specialty-coffee movement has brought us countless coffee brewing methods.

Each method can turn the same beans into a different drink, and no matter what your wants and needs are, there is a method that will suit you. 

This guide will walk you through each and every method, so read on and get ready – we’ll help you in your pursuit of the perfect cup.

With that being said, let’s dive straight into the ocean of coffee brewing methods. 

Coffee Brewing Methods – A Quick Summary

  • Espresso
  • French Press
  • Aeropress
  • Drip / Pour Over
  • Cold Brew
  • Percolator
  • Turkish
  • Instant

Espresso

espresso cups of coffee

Ah, the shining city on the hill. Every coffee lover has a weird relationship with espresso. Though we can sit here and debate if it’s really the ultimate coffee experience or not, you can’t deny that it has an important place in the pantheon of java.

Espresso requires special equipment and some special skills, but none of them that are out of the reach to a casual, home barista. With some investment of both time and money, anyone can make at least a decent espresso at home. And that means that anyone can either have a quick shot of pure energy, or a solid base for many caffeinated creations. 

Skill level: Intermediate to expert. 

The beans: Traditionally Italian roast, super-fine grind. 

Equipment: An espresso machine, manual espresso maker. An electric burr grinder is optional but highly recommended. 

Flavor: Full-bodied, concentrated, and rich.

French Press

french press coffee making method

Clear the way for le Roi de l’Immersion. Or is it du Immersion? French grammar aside, this little coffee pot is a must-have for anyone who likes to spend some serious cash on specialty coffee beans. The immersion method allows for all those little notes to come out and play – the same notes that would get completely lost with quicker or cold brewing methods. 

And honestly, the process is no more complicated than dumping everything in and waiting a few minutes before you push the plunger.

If that did not get you salivating, these little multitaskers can come very cheap. And yes, not only can they make you an amazing cup of coffee, but you can use them as teapots for loose leaf teas, hot chocolate makers, or to make dashi stock and other infusions. 

Skill level: Beginner. 

The beans: French roast ideally (I know, who would have thunk it), coarse grind. 

Equipment: English ease. 

Flavor: Very nuanced, ideal for very expensive beans rich in aroma. 

Aeropress

aeropress coffee brewing method

When an espresso machine and a French press love each other very much… Or so we were told. The truth is, the Aeropress is a completely different beast that can be used in 100+ ways to brew a cup of coffee. 

Don’t get this the wrong way, but if you don’t have it in your collection, you’re an i… incredibly misguided individual. It’s affordable, portable can handle quite a bit of abuse, and will make you anything from a coffee concentrate to cold brew, to a decent classic cup of coffee. 

There are some other pretenders and “improvements” on the market these days, but trust me, there is a reason why this guy reigns supreme. 

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate. 

The beans: Any type, any roast, medium-fine to coarse grind. 

Equipment: What do you think?

Flavor: Depends on the brewing method, but it can be anything from rich and deep, to bright and nuanced. 

Drip / Pour Over

brew coffee with drip coffee maker manual

Quite possibly, this is what coffee making was for you growing up. And when you combine the right mixture of gravity, brew basket volume, water temperature, and grind ration, you may end up with heaven in a cup.

For forever and a day, plain coffee machine held the reputation of making a subpar brew, but luckily these days manufacturers have stepped up their game. But those who were not willing to wait for this to happen, at some point ditched the electricity. Without a well-made and perfectly calibrated machine, this method can be reproduced with a simple filter, kettle, and a pair of skilled hands. 

While any barista can make magic happen with a good espresso machine, it takes an artisan to turn beans into poetry with the pour-over method. The same responsibility engineers have when making a good coffee maker now shifts to you each time you’re ready for a cuppa. 

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate/expert. 

The beans: Any type and any roast, fine grind. 

Equipment: Classic countertop coffee maker, a filter cone, and a kettle. 

Flavor: When done right, balanced, rich, and full-bodied. 

Cold Brew

cold brew coffee guide

Cold brewing was this fairly novel thing done in Kyoto and few other spots on the globe and then, BAM! Hipsters happened, and everyone and their grandmother is filling their fridges with mason jars filled with brown liquid. Or at least it feels like that’s the way it happened.

Ignoring how fashionable the method was at some point, it’s still great for those who have to watch their caffeine intake since they’re gonna get waaay less of it this way. Also, if it’s hot outside and you want your straight black coffee on ice? This is the only brew that will need a ridiculous amount of milk or sugar to mask the acrid notes cold coffee sometimes gets. 

Skill level: Beginner. 

The beans: Any roast, the coarsest grind you can get from your grinder. 

Equipment: Any vessel with a lid and a strainer. 

Flavor: Very complex, with some notes that are lost with hot brewing methods.

Percolator

brew coffee with a percolator

No matter if you associate the method with cowboys or Italian homes, it’s a great way to make strong coffee with very little effort. And yes, the Moka pot is a percolator, it just makes somewhat more concentrated coffee.

All percolators follow a simple principle. Cold water goes into the lower chamber, the ground coffee goes into a basket above it. Once the water boils, the created pressure forces it through the grounds, and then it appears in the top chamber of the pot. 

Siphons or vacuums pots are technically percolators as well, but there’s a plot twist! First, you can start either with cold or preheated water, but once it passes into the upper chamber, there’s some immersion action going on. Once you kill the heat, the liquid returns into the lower chamber. It’s fun to watch, you should check it out. 

Skill level: Beginner. 

The beans: Any roast, fine-ish, or medium grind.

Equipment: A percolator, siphon, or a Moka pot. 

Flavor: Full-bodied, but without the subtle nuances. 

Turkish

brew turkish coffee with a cezve

This style of coffee making originates in the Middle East, and it’s popular even today throughout the region, up through the Balkans to the Baltic Sea. It’s actually the original method that was used since those goats ate those berries by accident.

The modern palate might not be too keen on this style since it comes with a LOT of sediment. But if you want a novel experience or to do a bit of fortune-telling, the method is very simple. Bring the water to a boil, stir in the coffee, bring to boil again until bubbles and foam appear. Done.

A quick tip: if you like your coffee very sweet, it’s best to add the sugar before you boil the water so it dissolves properly.

Skill level: Beginner.

The beans: Any kind, dark city or french roast, fine grind.

Equipment: A cezve/ibrik, or any other stove-safe pot.

Flavor: Very rich with a strong hint of bitterness. 

Instant

brew instant coffee

And if the amount of effort you want to put into your morning joe barely passes zero, be happy you live in the today times. Both powder and pod formats offer a smorgasbord of options and flavors, so good coffee can be only a press of a button away. 

This is especially true when it comes to those little single-serve coffee cups since they promise to deliver coffee shop quality without the barista skill and experience. All that’s left for you to do is to figure out which machine to buy, try every flavor to find your favorite, and then press the giant button to start brewing. 

Skill level: Hopeless.

The beans: On toast?

Equipment: A pod coffee maker, a kettle.

Flavour: Whatever is in the pod or sachet. They come in such a huge range of flavors that there is nothing that unifies them. 

Final thoughts

So these are the most popular coffee brewing methods! We hope you learned something new from this post and most importantly – we hope you enjoyed it! 

Now don’t be shy, go ahead and try some of these coffee brewing methods and make sure to let us know in the comments which one is your favorite!

If you have any questions please let us know, and don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful!

Thanks for reading and stay awesome!

Author: Trevor Fletcher

Trevor Fletcher is the author of FinestCupOfCoffee.com. He brings his decade of experience as a barista and shares his passion and knowledge about coffee on his blog. You can find him on Instagram @FinestCupOfCoffee.

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