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Brewing Coffee

Common Coffee Brewing Methods

Here is a quick list starting from the best:

French Press

Choosing a fresh-roasted gourmet coffee is only half the battle when making a superior cup. The brewing method you use can be just as important. Coffee experts around the world agree that the best way to brew coffee is to use a French Press. Unfortunately, most people are too intimidated to try this method. This shouldn't worry you, however, because I am about to let you in on the simple secrets behind a great cup of French Press coffee!

To start, there are three things you need to make a French pressed coffee: water, coffee and a French Press. Bottled spring water is the absolute best water for pressing coffee. Fresh, course ground coffee from CoffeeAM is a necessity. Some of my favorites for pressing are Mexico 'Spirit of the Aztec,' India Mysore 'Gold Nugget,' and Organic Galapagos Island Estate. Any coffee can be pressed though, and I encourage you to try many of our fine coffees. The Bodum Chambord French Press is the final piece to the puzzle. I recommend this model for its quality and durability.

Now that you know the things you need to properly press coffee, just follow these directions for the best coffee you ever tasted.

The Method:

  1. Begin heating the water.
  2. Grind 8 TBS of fresh, course ground coffee and place in the empty French Press.
  3. Just before boiling is reached remove from heat, start the timer and pour over the grounds.
  4. Stir the water and coffee for a couple second just after you have finished adding the water.
  5. Stir the water and coffee for a couple second just before you have reached the desired brew time.
  6. At 3 minutes and 55 seconds depress the plunger. Once the plunger reaches the bottom it is recommended that the brewed coffee be removed immediately to stop the brewing process. If the coffee remains in the press it will continue to extract and cause huge variations in the cup.
  7. Sit back and enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee.

I have found over years of brewing with a French Press that this is the best method, but I know that experimenting with your coffee preparation is one of the great things about gourmet coffee. Once you master the method I told you about, please try some variations to find that perfect cup of coffee just for you. Different coffee, amounts of coffee and brew times will all change the taste of your cup. Good luck and happy pressing!

Vacuum Brewer

Vacuum brewers aren't very common, but they make coffee just about as well as a French press since the coffee and water are brewing together.  A vacuum brewer has an upper and a lower chamber connected by a tube with a small filter inside. Coffee grounds are placed in the upper, and water is placed in the lower. As the lower chamber is heated, the water rises up to meet the coffee in the upper chamber where the brewing begins. After brewing, the water (now coffee) cools and seeps back down into the lower chamber leaving the used coffee grinds behind in the upper chamber.  Normally, the upper chamber is then removed and the lower chamber is used as the decanter for the finished coffee.

Vacuum brewers can be electric, stovetop, or even used over a sterno can for dramatic tabletop brewing!

The Toddy Maker

The toddy maker uses an unusual cold-brewing method that creates a coffee concentrate.  This concentrate is then mixed with hot water to make coffee.  The concentrate can be stored in a refrigerator and used to make one cup at a time if you so desire. This method makes for extremely low-acid coffee, which is recommended for coffee drinkers with stomach conditions.

Although this method sounds rather odd, the result in taste is very surprising. One drawback is the amount of time it takes to brew. A good idea is to brew the coffee overnight. Once brewed, the concentrate can produce more than just one pot of coffee, so it's not a nightly event for morning coffee!

Drip Grind with a Permanent Filter

Permanent filters are nice because they allow for better coffee taste. As mentioned earlier, paper filters can filter out more than just coffee grinds.  Flavorful oils can be left behind in the filter and not make it to the finished brew. Since permanent filters allow for more liquid to pass through, the end result is more flavorful. Gold-plated perma-filters are the best since they don't add any unwanted metallic taste, and they are resistant to corrosion.

Drip Grind with a Paper Filter

The most common brew method happens to be the one with the least amount of flavor and aroma. However, mornings usually need to be made quick and simple. Most people have never had their coffee brewed any other way.  If you are one of these people, do yourself a favor, get a small French press maker, and start experimenting!

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