When you first discover the positive effects of coffee, you’re inundated with choices. What’s the best way to make coffee? There’s the french press, moka pot, Melitta single-cup, Melitta machine, and, of course, instant. And then there are more obscure methods, such as the vacuum-brew method, which sounds more like a home cleaning solution.
It’s less of an issue when you’re at a coffee shop – they’ll usually choose for you once you’ve decided between espresso and “filter” (drip-brew coffee). But if you want to make coffee at home, you have many options, and each has its benefits. If you decide to go for any method other than instant, you need to purchase freshly-ground coffee from a coffee shop. Often you can choose from which area the beans arrived, and how long they’ve been roasted (e.g. Kenyan, Columbian; light, medium, or dark roast).
Method: Add a tablespoon of instant coffee powder, sugar, hot water to a mug. Mix. Add milk to taste.
Notes: This is the quickest method, but it’s also the least fresh. You’re using coffee that has been freeze-dried (brewed, then sprayed on a cold conveyor belt, quickly turning it to dried powder), and so it has lost most of its personality. Not a bad method for ice-coffee, since you can easily increase the concentration by adding more powder, in order to counteract the watering-down effect of the ice.
2. French Press
Machinery: A French press.
Method: Add ground coffee to a French press. Add boiled water, steep for a couple minutes. Put the plunger in, slowly plunge the coffee to the bottom. Pour.
Notes: Not a bad method, but a different taste than the Melitta drip approach. Very easy.
3. Moka Pot
Machinery: A Moka Pot; a stove-top element.
Method: Fill the bottom section with fresh cold water, up to the valve line. Add a heaping tablespoon of ground coffee to the filter, and place the filter on the bottom section. Screw the top section on to the bottom section, open the top, and place on a low flame. When it finishes brewing, turn off the flame and pour.
Notes: This is a hybrid of espresso and drip coffee, since the coffee is force-extracted with pressurized water. The coffee produced is richer and stronger than normal drip, and it’s the standard way that Italians make their morning coffee at home. Make sure to turn off the flame just before the top section is full, to ensure that the coffee does not burn.
4. Melitta Single-Cup
Machinery: 1 Melitta cone (plastic/porcelain) ($2-10), 1 paper Melitta filter
Method: Place a paper filter into the cone, fill it with 1 heaping tablespoon of ground coffee, and place the cone over a mug. Wet the grinds with a bit of boiled water, and then pour in a cup of boiled water. Let it flow into the mug.
Notes: This produces the tastiest cup, in my opinion. It’s really the classic way to brew drip coffee, and it is the same approach used in standard restaurant machines (just on a larger scale).
5. Turkish Coffee
Method: Add a heaping tablespoon of Turkish coffee (extremely finely ground coffee) to a glass. Add sugar, boiled water. Stir, and then wait for the particles to fall to the bottom – about 2 minutes.
Notes: This is the Israeli method of making Turkish Coffee – known in Hebrew as “mud coffee” because of the sludge that forms on the bottom, and it is consumed sans milk.
The vacuum method is quite rare, so I didn’t include it in the list.
Learn more about making coffee at Onedoubleshot, the coffee blog.
By the way, you can also enjoy fine espresso at home, but that’s for a later article…
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