7 Brewing Methods: Overview

Coffee can be brewed using several different techniques. If kept hot, coffee flavor will deteriorate quickly, and reheating can destroy some of the flavor. Brewed coffee kept at room temperature will also deteriorate, but if kept in an oxygen-free environment it can last almost indefinitely. Coffee brewing methods, according to the grind: Turkish, Percolator, Drip Brew, Plunger/French Press, Vacuum, Cold Water, and Espresso.

Turkish

Grind: Turkish

Turkish brewing dates back to over four and half centuries ago, predating all other methods of preparing coffee. This is the only brewing method where the coffee is in contact with the water during the entire process. The Turkish grind (a pulverized coffee with a texture similar to that of talcum powder), water, and sugar – if desired-are placed into an Ibrik such as the handmade solid copper Ibrik shown to the left. Bring this mixture to a boil 3 times while removing the Ibrik from the fire quickly when the foam begins to rise. After the grounds have settled, this coffee is poured into small cups, holding back the foam with a spoon. After all cups are poured, gently spoon the foam over the coffee. The resulting brew is thick and muddy.

Percolator

Grind: Coarse

Percolators use the pressure of steam to force water through the coffee grinds located in a basket at the top of the pot. Water brought to boiling temperature “percolates” through the coffee, then drip back into the water below, which is forced back through the percolating cycle repeatedly, resulting in a coffee that is sometimes bitter. Percolators require monitoring. Electric percolators immediately begin a warming cycle after they have finished perking, and this warming cycle can make the coffee more bitter. Stovetop percolators need to be removed from the heat immediately after the perking is finished.

Drip Brew

Grinds:

Cone/Wedge Filter: Medium

Basket Filter: Medium

French Double Drip: Coarse

Drip brewing is probably the simplest method of brewing coffee and the most popular. Water heated to 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit is poured slowly over the coffee grounds to create a clear smooth cup of coffee. The filter for this coffee maker can be made from paper, cloth, metal, or plastic and be cone-or basket shaped. Drip makers can be manual or electric.

Plunger/French Press

Grind: Medium Coarse

The French Press uses an infusion process to brew coffee. Add 2 tablespoons for every 6 ounces of hot water to the apparatus. After 3 minutes, stir slightly. When using fresh coffee, the grounds will drop, creating a big head of foam. Add more hot water, wait 3 more minutes, then plunge, pressing the grounds down to the bottom of the maker, separating them from the brew above. This brew is rich and dense.

Another method is to stir vigorously after pouring the first hot water, add more hot water, wait 3 minutes, then plunge.

Vacuum Pot

Grind: Coarse

This method is often described as for the true coffee lover. Place the ground coffee in the top bowl (the funnel). The water in the carafe is brought almost to boil, then the steam pressure forces it into the top bowl (funnel). Once most of the water is in the top bowl, stir the coffee. In 1-3 minutes, extinguish the flame. The cooling mixture creates a vacuum which sucks the brewed coffee down into the lower carafe, leaving the grounds in the top bowl (funnel). The top bowl can then be removed from the carafe. This coffee is smooth and delicate with all flavors intact.