If you are like most, the idea of waking up without the flavor and smell of a perfect cup of coffee is unfathomable. If this sound like you, the learning perfect coffee brewing is a must-have in your life.
Indeed, enjoying that first early morning cup of Joe is an entirely sensory experience. The rich and bold fragrance fills the air as gentle tendrils of steam waft through the air. You pour the welcoming, dark brown java into your cup and hear the first splashes of it hit the bottom of the mug. And by the time that you taste it, your mouth is practically watering in anticipation.
Or is that just me?
Coffee making is a skill everyone should master.
There’s something more satisfying about sipping from a well-treasured mug instead of ordering it through a takeout window and sipping it through a flimsy cardboard takeout cup.
So how, exactly, can you enjoy this coffee shop convenience at home?
Home Coffee Brewing Methods
A trip to your local department store will reveal to you many methods of brewing your favorite blend of beans.
Here are a few brewing options you might consider:
1 – Automatic drip coffeemaker
The automatic drip machine is a popular brewing method that people have enjoyed for the past fifty years.
This equipment includes a glass or stainless steel carafe with a lid, a basket for your filter, and the electric unit. You pour cold water into a reservoir, add coffee and a filter to the basket, and then flip on the switch.
Most units come equipped with a clock, an auto-shutoff feature, and a timer. The carafe, lid, and basket are dishwasher-safe, typically.
The advantage of this unit is the simplicity and ease of use.
2 – Pour over coffeemaker
The pour-over coffee brewing method is similar to automatic drip with one big difference—it is manual and not electric.
The kit you might purchase includes a carafe and cone. You boil your water in a separate kettle and carefully pour it over (hence the name) the grounds.
Like the automatic drip models, you can pop these parts are top-rack safe in your dishwasher. Many people who enjoy this brewing method love the ritual of brewing and swear it makes the best results. This method is refreshingly low tech. Our friends who live in an older home love this way of brewing, simply because they lack outlets in their kitchen!
3 – Percolator
A percolator is an enclosed unit, either electric or stovetop. Once very popular, these units fell out of favor over the past forty years or so.
However, you will still find them on the store shelves, so they are worth a mention.
You fill the percolator pot with water, add the coffee to a basket, place a lid over the basket, close the percolator and let it do its job.
Those who still brew this way will insist that they love the intense, almost bitter results and strong, aromatic fragrance.
4 – Coffee pods/individual cup brewers
A wildly popular way of enjoying hot, fresh coffee is to fix it on demand in a single-serving format. Keurig leads the market in this category.
You pop the pod or plastic cup into the designated slot, fill the reservoir with water, place your mug under the nozzle, and tap a button. Within a few moments, you have a steaming hot cup of java ready to drink.
The main reason people love this method is convenience. You can have a freshly brewed, piping hot cup within 90 seconds.
5- French press
Another manual method of making coffee is the French press.
This set-up includes a glass or metal carafe and a plunger with a metal plate attached to it. You boil the water in a kettle and place your grounds in the bottom of the carafe. Pour the water over the grounds, let them steep, then gently use the plunger to capture the grounds at the bottom. When you pull back the plunger, the base plate holds down the coffee grounds and allows you to pour.
Coffee brewed using his method is rich, bold, and packed with flavor. It is a low-tech, classic way of making delicious java.
Tips to Help Brew a Perfect Cup of Coffee
Regardless of what method you decide works best for you, these tips apply across the board.
1 – Start with cold water (if you use tap water)
Some would assume that warm water would make a better cup of coffee, but that’s not the case.
When you use clearer and fresher water to brew your java, you will get better results. Coldwater is fresher than warm or hot water. We found a lively discussion on Quora that explains it best.
According to one user, the cold water straight from the tap is more highly oxygenated, thus enhancing the flavor of the water itself. Better water, better coffee. Another user on the discussion board chimed in that warm or hot water, if stored in a hot water tank, loses its “freshness” and begins to stagnate rather quickly.
Whatever the science, beans brewed with cool water seem to taste the best.
2 – Use distilled water
Real coffee lovers actually purchase distilled water by the gallon for dispensing their favorite beverage.
While many will state emphatically that this particular jug of water enhances tastes, it does more than give great flavors.
Tap water causes limescale, an accumulation of minerals from the water, to build up. As you use your unit daily, this means a decrease in its useful lifespan if you fail to clean it regularly.
3 – Clean your coffeemaker
Over time, your coffeemaker accumulates more than just limescale. It also collects coffee grounds, strong scents, and moisture in the lines, which can cause molds or mildews.
Therefore, you must clean your unit by thoroughly cleaning the carafe, basket, and lid after every use. Additionally, plan to cycle through either white vinegar, followed by three rinses of distilled water every few weeks. The frequency you will need to deep-clean goes along with how often you brew. So keep your eyes open for residue and tackle the chore when needed.
4 – Know thy coffeemaker
Once you invest in a coffeemaker, set aside a few minutes to read the manufacturer’s instructions. They will provide you with a getting started guide, safety tips, recommended coffee ratio, and cleaning recommendations.
5 – Grind your own beans
Pre-ground java is undoubtedly convenient. But once you’ve tried grinding your own beans, you will almost certainly be hooked! When you fresh-grind beans each day, you will notice an improved aroma, taste, and overall experience a more robust cup of Joe. When you brew these beans, your home will smell just like Starbucks!
The Bottom Line: Coffee brewing is an Art and Science
Coffee brewing (hot or iced coffee) is both an art and a science. But the truth is, flavor perception is subjective. This means that we all will develop different preferences—ergo, the many different brewers you can purchase.