Coffee 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Brewing Methods
Apr 10, 2023   •   Arianne Melendres
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Apr 10, 2023   •   Arianne Melendres
Mornings set the tone for your entire day. That’s why so many people have decided to take charge of their morning rituals, whether it be getting up 10 minutes early to do a few yoga stretches, do the crossword, or brew their own cup of coffee.
Though cafes offer a unique experience that we’ll always look for, there’s something especially charming about making your own cup just the way you like it. So if you’re interested in getting into brewing your own coffee, let’s dive into some of the most common brewing methods first: Espresso, Cold Brew, Pour-over, Siphon, Aeropress, Moka Pot, and French Press.
Espresso Maker Method
Even though most coffee drinkers won’t have an espresso machine at home (because they’re quite expensive and technical), the espresso method is usually the first image that comes to mind when one thinks of coffee brewing. Espresso is the basic component of many coffee drinks, which is why you see them in almost all cafes.
The perfect espresso shot is produced from an elaborate combination of the time and pressure you’ve put into the shot. On average, the brew time is somewhere between 24 and 30 seconds, just enough for the pretty brown foam to show at the top. The best part of using an espresso machine is arguably the tamping or “flattening” of the grounds. Done right, you should be able to find a slightly bitter, bold, and floral cup. Either drink it plain, or use it as a base for other drinks!
Cold Brew Method
Let’s be honest here, most of us in the Philippines prefer our coffee drinks cold. After all, there’s nothing better than an iced coffee while working or as a reward after a long day.
So unsurprisingly, cold brew is an increasingly popular method in the Philippines. It’s all in the name! All it takes is a coarse coffee grind size that’s brewed at a cold temperature. The coffee is steeped for at least 18 to 24 hours, filtered, and then enjoyed over ice!
It’s smooth, light, and not as bitter as brews that require hot water.
The pour-over is a beautiful method, so it’s no wonder why it’s frequently featured in many drama scenes: a character clad in an apron and a gooseneck pot in their hands, swirling just a few inches above the dripper.
The pour-over method is a nostalgic manner of brewing that involves pouring hot water through coffee grounds in a filter, allowing the coffee to slowly drip into the mug. It is done by hand, allowing the intricate flavors of the coffee to be maneuvered by the intentions of the brewer.
Have a particular palate or seek complete control? Pour-over coffee sounds like it’s for you!
Love doing it for the aesthetic? Siphon coffee is a sophisticated choice.
The siphon coffee method is relatively simple, but is actually based on the intricate physical chemistry of liquids. We won’t get into the nitty gritty details of transition temperatures, pressures, and vacuums, but here’s an (admittedly oversimplified) rundown of how it works:
This pretty contraption involves two vessels which force the water at the lower vessel to move towards the coffee grounds at the top section. A filter is placed between this pathway.. When the temperature cools down, the coffee formed at the top begins to fall and goes through the filter once more until it reaches your mug. Here is a great demonstration of the process:
This method allows the machine to extract more flavors of the coffee, releases more subtle notes, and is a wonderful match for those who are more detail-oriented.
May we entertain you with an extra caffeine kick?
The Aeropress is a portable, convenient method that lets you brew virtually any kind of coffee that you want. With so many ways of brewing with it, the Aeropress can show off floral notes, caramels, or full-bodied tones. Anything is possible! To make things even better, the entire point of this method is to brew coffee in about a minute or three.
The Moka Pot is another popular method of brewing that everyone has heard of at least once. This quaint machine welcomes the mornings with a strong, heavy, and thick espresso-like brew that bold drinkers would enjoy.
To top off its taste, another good thing about the Moka pot is its straightforward methodology! All you have to do is fill it with boiling water, add the grounds, top it off, then place it on the stove. After a few minutes, the pot will whistle, signaling that the viscous and concentrated cup is ready.
At the end of everything, it’s always nice to munch on something sweet. That’s why the final item on this list is the French press method! This one is for those who prefer rich coffees with deep syrup-like flavors.
The French press method is fairly easy to pick up, and is best done with evenly sized coffee grounds around the size of sea salt should be good.
Once that’s over and done with, all you have to do is heat up your water (remember not to let it reach boiling point), and let the coffee bloom. Brew it, plunge, then pour. With the perfect technique, one will find themselves with a fully-flavored brew that’s perfect for Monday mornings!
Which of these brewing methods are you interested in? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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