Tired of spending a ton of money buying coffee from your local coffee shop? There are many ways to make coffee at home. When you have the right quality beans, you can enjoy trying different coffee-making methods. Not every method you try will stick with you, but you will eventually find the one that works best for you. Every technique involves performing different functions and might demand more or less manual labor from you.
Ready to get your barista skills leveled up? Read through this article to learn about making French press coffee, pour-over coffee, and drip-brew.
First Things First: Quality Coffee Beans
How are you supposed to know whether you are getting high-quality coffee beans? There is no single grading system for beans, but you can follow the Specialty Coffee Association’s numerical rating system based on the number of defects in a bag of beans.
Specialty grade coffees rate the highest at Grade 1, followed by premium grade coffee at Grade 2. A lot of countries (and the state of Hawaii) have their own grading systems. These systems are based on bean size since bigger equals more flavor.
Look for certifications listed on each package. However, some ethically sourced companies cannot afford the expensive certification process, so you won’t see a certification on their bags. Still, many companies undergo certification for USDA Organic, are fair trade, are a part of the Rainforest Alliance, are bird-friendly, and abide by the 4C Common Code.
While shopping, look at expiration dates. How long has a bag been on the shelf? Stale beans lead to diminished aromas and tastes. Buying from a bulk bin means oxygen can take away freshness, so go for sealed bags only. The newer the bag is, the more likely you will be to extract the maximum amount of flavor and aroma.
Method 1: French Press Coffee
French Press is one of those methods that people who try it enjoy. It was invented in 1926 and has skyrocketed in popularity ever since. The result is a rich flavor, and the taste lasts long after your initial sip. You also get total control over the brew time, taste, and strength. In just 5 minutes, you can make up to 8 cups of coffee.
How to Use This Method
1. First, put your pot on a flat, dry surface. Firmly grip the handle, then pull the plunger.
2. Add about 7-8 grams of coffee per 6.7 oz. of water, then pour the hot water into the pot. Gently stir it.
3. Carefully put the plunger back into the pot. Stop when you are just above the water and ground coffee. Do not plunge right away. Instead, let it stand for 3-4 minutes.
4. Press the plunger down using slow and steady pressure. Remove and prepare your coffee with milk, sugar, creamer, or anything you like to add in.
5. After each use, be sure to use water and a mild detergent to wash out the pot, then set it out to dry.
Method 2: Pour Over Coffee
Want to take a minimalistic approach to brew your coffee? Try to make coffee at home using the pour-over method. The two biggest factors involved in this method are using high-quality coffee beans and purified water. You will also want a consistent grind coarseness, and you need to get the measurements correct in order for the flavor to abound.
For this method, you need fresh quality coffee beans, a pour-over coffee maker, filtered water, a water kettle (preferably with a gooseneck water spout for easy pouring), a coffee grinder, paper filters, and a scale (to ensure measuring is accurate).
How to Use This Method
1. Start by using a measurement of 1 g per 16 ml of water. In other words, for two big cups, that comes out to 32 g of coffee and 500 ml of water.
2. Grind your beans to a fine consistency and set them aside. Bring the filtered water to a boil.
3. Unfold the paper and separate with three folds on one side and one on the other. Insert into the top of your pour-over coffee maker with the three sides toward the spout.
4. Gently saturate the paper filter, then pour out excess water through the spout.
5. Put coffee grounds in the filter and gently shake.
6. Add about 66 ml of water to cover the coffee grounds. This lets the coffee “bloom”. Then wait 45 seconds so gas can escape from the beans for max flavor.
7. Pour the remaining hot water over the coffee in small circles. Pour mostly toward the inner circle, occasionally near the edges. The first round of poured water should equal about 200 ml.
8. Pour slowly to keep a constant pour as well as a similar filtering rate. You can choose to pour in batches of 200 ml at a time though. Make sure you never let the grounds get totally dry during the 3.5 minutes you will be pouring.
9. Remove the filter and enjoy your cup of coffee. You can cover and refrigerate for 24 hours if you so desire.
Method 3: Drip Coffee Maker
Drip coffee makers are easy to use and involve the least amount of work from you. A thermal carafe has some advantages over a glass one, but a drip coffee maker ensures that everyone gets a cup.
How to Use This Method
1. If you have whole beans, use either a burr or blade grinder to grind the beans.
2. Slip the coffee filter into the basket, which should be right under the brew head.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of coffee for every cup (6 oz.) of water. Use a permanent filter in order to get a richer taste.
4. Pour cold, unfiltered water into the reservoir. Each cup you make should account for about 6 oz. of water.
5. Press the start button, which is usually located on the front display panel. Let your coffee maker do the rest.
The gooseneck kettle lends to a more even extraction of flavor and aroma in the pour-over method. You want to get a balanced saturation, and a gooseneck kettle can help you avoid under-or over-pouring. You will want to find one with a good flow rate, high-quality design, a comfy grip, and a larger size for less refilling.
A burr coffee grinder provides a more uniform blend than a blade grinder. If you brew in small quantities, a manual burr grinder should suffice, but electric models are more ideal if you brew in bigger quantities. They offer a lot of features to help you customize your grind quality.
Using pour-over or French Press techniques requires you to keep time. This is why a timer can really come in handy. Investing in a scale can also help you get your measurements more on point than a regular scoop measurement.
You don’t have to be a trained barista to make coffee at home that tastes fantastic. You just need to find your preferred method and perfect it. How much time and effort can you put into making your own coffee? Consider that as you try out methods like pour-over, French Press, and drip brewing. Making coffee is all about having fun and trying new things, so have a go at it and see where the journey takes you.