by Trinity Jimenez
Did you know that the first humans to consume coffee likely did so by chewing the beans and leaves of the coffee plant? Thankfully we have come a long way in our coffee technology, and there are now many options for brewing a perfect cup of coffee. This post explores some common, and less common, brewing techniques.
Automatic Coffee Maker
I think we have all used this method at least a dozen times. Cold water is poured into a separate chamber, which is then heated up to the boiling point, and directed into the funnel. This is called the automatic drip-brew.
A coffee percolator is a type of pot used to brew coffee by continually cycling the boiling or nearly boiling brew through the grounds using gravity until the required strength is reached.
Coffee percolators were once very popular but eventually were put on the back burner (get it?) in 1970s when the automatic drip coffee makers hit the market. Percolators often expose the grounds to higher temperatures than other brewing methods, and may re-heat already brewed coffee through the beans. As a result, coffee brewed with a percolator is inclined to over-extraction. Percolation may remove some of the volatile compounds in the beans, resulting in a pleasant aroma during brewing, but a less flavoursome cup. However, percolator enthusiasts praise the percolator’s hotter, more ‘robust’ coffee, and maintain that the potential pitfalls of this brewing method can be eliminated by careful control of the brewing process.
A French press requires coffee of a coarser grind in comparison to a drip brew coffee filter, as finer grounds will seep through the press filter and into the coffee. Coffee is brewed by placing the coffee and water together, stirring it and leaving to brew for a few minutes, then pressing the plunger to trap the coffee grounds at the bottom of the beaker. Because the coffee grounds stay in direct contact with the brewing water and the grounds are filtered from the water via a mesh instead of a paper filter, coffee brewed with the French press captures more of the coffee’s flavour and essential oils, which would normally become trapped in a traditional drip brew machine’s paper filters.
A Softbrew is a simple coffee brewing device which was invented in Italy in 2010 by designer George Sowden. Unlike the French press, the Softbrew filter does not need “pressing”, so it has the coffee benefits from full contact with the water at all times.
The principle of a vacuum brewer is to heat water in a lower vessel until it expands and forces the contents through a narrow tube into an upper vessel that contains the ground coffee. Once the lower vessel is empty and the sufficient brewing time has elapsed, the heat is removed and the resulting vacuum draws the brewed coffee back through a strainer into the lower section, from which it is poured out.
If you want quick and fresh coffee with barely any clean up and no machine maintenance, the Coffee Cone is most likely the easiest and fastest coffee makers around. Put a #2 paper filter in the cone; fill it with coffee, pour hot water over it, and the coffee drips fresh and hot right into your cup. Afterwards simply throw away the paper filter and rinse the cone and you are good to go!
The AeroPress is not a press pot or French press. You do not let the coffee brew in the hot water for a prolonged length of time. The coffee and water are only in contact for less than 30 seconds. The output is a concentrated, full flavor, minimal acid brew. So basically, the first 10 to 15 seconds work like a press pot (i.e.: ground coffee mixed with hot water) then the next 20 seconds it works like an espresso machine (i.e.: hot water under high pressure forced through coffee grounds).
What is your favourite way to brew coffee? Tell us in the comments!
Photos provided by: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/best-coffee-brewing-method_n_5233438.html
Some info provided by: www.wikipedia.com