Brewed Coffee: Different Brewing Methods to Make Better Coffee

Approximately half of all Americans drink coffee from a traditional dripper, and only about 5% use pour over or French Press methods to brew their coffee.  While traditional drip coffee is simple and will always get the job done in one fashion or another, you can make coffee in a way that optimizes the flavor of the beans and enhances your coffee drinking experience.

It’s amazing how by using different coffee methods to make coffee can change your coffee flavor.  You would think that drip coffee would give you the same flavor as other brewed coffee methods.  The truth, however, is that using drip coffee machines doesn’t do justice to the coffee because drip coffee makers lack an ability to control variables.  Ultimately, it’s the variables in brewed coffee that make the finished cup.

According to a 2016 study by the National Coffee Association (NCA), about 50% of Americans use a drip coffee maker, 28% use single cup brewers, 12% prefer espresso machines, and only 2% use pour over methods.  As we can see, there’s a huge gap among these groups of coffee drinkers, but there’s an increasing interest among Millennials to learn more about different beverages and preparation methods.  In today’s post, we’ll explore some of the more commonly accepted preparation methods for brewed coffee.

The Chemex

An American Chemist named Peter Schlumbohm invented the Chemex released its first brewer in 1942. Not only that, he developed over 300 patents in his career, and his goal was to make everyday objects more functional. Since Peter was a chemist first and foremost, he clearly understood how to extract flavor and caffeine from the coffee bean.

brewed coffee

The Chemex produces an excellent, clean cup of coffee, and just about anyone can do it!

A Time Magazine article from November 1946 said, “with the Chemex, even a moron can make good coffee.” Schlumbohm (henceforth known simply as “Peter”) created the perfect pour over method for everyday use and made it beautiful! So beautiful in fact that in 1943 the Museum of Modern Art displayed it as one of the best-designed products for that year. Even though the Chemex looks beautiful it’s function is spot on!

With the Chemex, even a moron can make good coffee.

-Time Magazine, November 1946

The Chemex ranges in sizes from one cup personal brewers to honcho “family size” brewers.  By choosing the appropriately sized brewer for your application, you’ll find value in the Chemex in terms of time saving and quality in your finished cup.  The brewer typically uses paper filters folded into quadrants.  When using paper filters for Chemex you would need to pour hot water over the filter first before brewing your cuppa joe. This will help take out the filter taste and give you cleaner cup.

There are reusable filters available for Chemex which may be an option for those of you looking to save a little money or save the world.  While these options are viable, extra time must be taken to clean the filters after each use.

To make sure you are getting the full benefit from using a Chemex, you will need a timer and a small scale. Timing the length of your brew with a Chemex is key and knowing how much coffee to use is essential to getting that perfect cup.

The Chemex produces an excellent, clean cup of coffee without too much hassle.  You can always perfect your brewing with the Chemex by experimenting with water temperatures, brew times, coffee grind settings, and various other factors to get your cup just how you like it.

The Bee House

When I first came across the Bee House I was instantly intrigued and amazed!  This small little coffee brewer is the perfect size to pack when traveling and makes great coffee.  The Bee House is similar to the Chemex but requires less precision to make a great cup.  They are designed to be thick, durable ceramic, and have two brew holes wide enough to control the drip for a well balance cup of joe.  A viewing window at the base of the dripper allows you to watch the magic and see when’s time to remove the Bee House.

The Bee House comes in a choice of two models: a large and a small dripper. According to BeeHouse, you are able to brew 2 – 4 cups of coffee using the large dripper and 1 – 2 cups of coffee using the smaller dripper.  One slight disadvantage to the Bee House is that it keeps dripping until the brewing water has made its way through the filter bed.  I’ve made the rookie mistake walking away and letting my cup of coffee overflow on the counter!

The Bee House is probably the most optimal starting point for folks looking to get into pour over coffee.  It makes a magnificent cup without requiring a lot of skill or focus to brew excellent coffee.

Here’s how we brew a Bee House Coffee:

 

AeroPress

One of my favorite ways to make a latte is using an AeroPress and adding a little bit of steamed milk.  The wonderful AeroPress was invented by man named Alan Adler, and the idea started at his dinner table.  Adler is known for being very successful in two completely different industries: toys and coffee.

During the 1960s, he was an engineer, lecturer and mentor to young engineering students at Stanford University and always looked to improve things.  Adler was a coffee enthusiast and wanted to improve brewing a single cup of coffee. He was frustrated with making 6 – 8 cups per brew at home, and soon enough he figured out how to make a single cup of coffee.

brewed coffee

Portable, simple, and easy to use. The AeroPress is a traveler’s dream!

It took time for the AeroPress to get rolling and into the open marketplace.  You have to admit the AeroPress looks funky.  Two sturdy plastic pieces make up the core of the AeroPress.  The barrel portion supports the brewing activity while the plunger (along with some grunting and body weight) uses pressure to press hot water through the ground coffee.

The neat part about this cool little brewer is that you can use it two different ways.  The traditional way or the inverted version.  While most folks will use the AeroPress the traditional way, let it be known that many a World AeroPress Championship titles have been won with the inverted method.

The AeroPress is made to be light weight and portable which is perfect for camping or traveling, and you don’t even need a scale!  This brewing method is pretty sweet and super easy to use.  Cleaning is a breeze, and a great cup of coffee is only a couple of minutes away.

French Press

Another simple way to brew coffee is using the French Press.  The French Press works, basically, by steeping the coffee grounds and then extracting the brewed coffee by plunging the filter down through the brewer.  All you needs is a French Press, timer, kettle, stirrer, and scale.

brewed coffee

Classic, sleek, and easy to use the French Press makes a full-bodied cup of coffee.

Because of the full immersion of the coffee grounds in the brewing water, the French Press gives fuller body than other brewing methods mentioned above.

The French Press is easy to use and doesn’t need a lot of attention but takes time to clean up after each use.  If you have busy mornings this type of brewed coffee is great because you can let the coffee grounds steep while doing other things.  The French Press uses coarser grind which means the brewer is more forgiving and will give you a great cup of coffee no matter your skill level.

Conclusion: Brewed Coffee for You

Making great coffee doesn’t have to be a chore.  As a matter of fact, making better brewed coffee can be as simple as using the right tools and getting used to doing something differently.  Even in our busy worlds, there is something therapeutic and even spiritual about artistically crafting a great cup of coffee for yourself or your friends.

What do you think?  How do you like to brew your coffee, and what makes the best cup?  Let us know in the comments below!

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