Several national studies reveal that approximately 60% of Americans are regular coffee drinkers. Many drink coffee ritualistically for the "pick-me-up" effect that coffee offers without slowing down to notice and appreciate the subtle nuisances of an artisan roasted coffee, from sourcing of the green to the roast level. In parts I and II of our Bean to Cup series, we addressed sourcing the green and roasting the beans.
With artisan-roasted coffee beans, there are still many possibilities for brews that may fill your cup. Grind and brew methods play key roles in how you experience your brew.
The best ground coffee is from a Burr grinder, meaning it has little metallic bumps (burr) on 2 grinding surfaces. These produce the most uniform grinds which produce the best extraction per coffee weight to H2O volume. As the Specialty Coffee Association, a leader in the industry recommends for the best brewed coffee is 50gm/1l, coffee to water or 2oz/1qt.
Fresh ground coffee has the best flavor profiles. Ground coffee goodness in ground coffee seems to only last 24hrs, after that it loses a lot of its taste. Now whole beans have a shelf life of about 2 months and then they start losing those special flavors. I even take a manual burr grinder camping for the best brew there is in paradise. However the Burr grinder can be a little messy. And of course the perfect brew needs the water to be approximately 195 degrees F.
There are numerous brewing methods from basic ancient times to innovative extreme modern ideas. Each has its own appeal to the individual. Here are some of the coffee brewing techniques that will be discussed in more detail:
- Drip with machine
- French Press
- Pour Over (drip)
- Espresso (steam extraction)
For camping, I use an old-school metal percolator over the fire. Drip (medium) ground coffee is put in a basket suspended above the water on a hollow stem. As the water starts to boil it travels up the stem and pours over the coffee grounds. With a glass dome just above the stem, through time coffee can be seen percolating.
The coffee brewed in a percolator is nothing fancy but it works well for making coffee while camping!
Drip coffee with machine
This brewing method is the classic in-home morning coffee for most people because it is a quick and simple way to make coffee. Like the percolator, drip coffee is nothing fancy; these brews are usually flat-bodied, lacking depth of flavor. Medium grind coffee is the preferred grind for drip and fills a filter-lined basket inside the machine. Water is poured into a different part of the machine, heated, and poured over the grounds to saturate them before the brew drips into a coffee pot nestled inside. below. Another convenient thing about drip coffee machines is that the brewed coffee sits on a hot surface to keep the coffee warm. This convenience, unfortunately, has a tendency to burn the coffee if it sits for too long. The Keurig is considered a drip coffee maker, but Keurig is another thing altogether. If you want a simple machine to make drip coffee, I recommend going with Mr. Coffee brand for basic in-home use!
The French Press is smart-looking and makes a nice cup of coffee. Coarse ground coffee goes in with just enough hot water to cover the grounds. It's stirred and then the remaining hot water is poured in and it needs to sit for at least 5 minutes. At this point, the plunger can be pushed down to hold grounds on the bottom and freshly brewed coffee is poured off. This slower, more involved method of brewing coffee is preferred by many coffee enthusiasts as it makes a nicer cup of coffee without getting too complex. The few drawbacks to french press coffee are that the texture of the coffee is a little oily, the temperature of the coffee decreases some, and clean up is a little messy.
Freshly roasted coffee is wonderful with the Pour Over brewing method. The fine grind and simplicity bring out lots of subtle nuances in the roast. The openness creates a microenvironment for the nose; aromas come out strongly during the brewing process with pour-over coffee, making this a multisensory experience. As hot water is poured over the fine grinds, a light brown foam begins to form on top, enhancing the aesthetic and experience that happens when making a pour-over. It's said the coffee comes out a little oily, but I've never noticed. The Chemex maker is very popular and looks pretty sexy in the right setting! This is by far a Cody Coffee favorite brewing method.
The Aeropress combines gravity with manual pressure to create a cup of coffee. This device creates an air seal that pushes the water through the coffee grounds into the coffee pot to make a bold, concentrated cup of coffee.
Espresso (steam extraction)
Espresso machines use hot water and pressure to pump steam through finely-ground compacted coffee grounds to produce a bold, rich shot of espresso. With a good roast like our Cody Coffee High Altitude Artisan Roasts, espresso can be enjoyable on its own or with a splash of cream. Espresso is the base for many popular coffee shop beverages such as the latte, cappuccino, and americano, in which the espresso shots are blended with varying ratios of steamed milk and (often) sweetener/flavoring to create a fun, highly customizable coffee beverage.
The cezve is a small pot usually made of copper or brass, used to make Turkish coffee from finely ground coffee beans, water, often sugar, and (traditionally) hot sand as means of heat. The Turkish way of making coffee starts by using the finest grind of coffee added to the cezve with water and usually sugar and/or spices such as cardamom. Traditionally the coffee comes to a boil atop hot sand and is transferred to the cup once a crema (small layer of coffee foam) forms. Because no form of filtration is used in the process, many of the powdery coffee grounds are transferred from the cezve to the cup.
The Siphon brewing method dates back to the early 1800's as an alternative to boil brewing methods and in modern times is known as a specialty, theatrical coffee brewing method found in artisan coffee shops around the world!
This method uses a flame, water, and vacuum pressure created in the siphon to brew a cup of coffee. As the water in the lower chamber boils, the steam rises to the top chamber to meet the coffee grounds. Once all the water has boiled in the lower chamber and the top is full of water-saturated coffee grounds, the grounds sit for about a minute to brew before the heat is turned off and the drop in temperature creates a drop in pressure allowing the coffee to fall into the lower chamber through a filter to yield a cup of crisp, bright Siphon coffee!