Are you looking to change things up with your coffee routine? Perhaps you’re new to drinking coffee and are feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information about beans and brewing today.
That’s ok. Check out some of the other guides about coffee to help you pick what suits your taste, and read on to learn about the different brewing methods.
Since many of these methods take about the same amount of time, except for a few, we’ll sort them by required skill level. If we sort them by our preferences, you may find that your preferences are different.
As long as you’re using good coffee, you can savor it with any brewing method that fits your taste and coffee type.
With that in mind, let’s quickly talk about what not to do. You only need to remember two terms, which are instant coffee and cheap machines. If you’ve ever had cheap tire shop coffee or brewed coffee from a machine in a cheap hotel room, you know why to avoid those $15 coffee makers.
The best you can do with instant coffee is make a Greek frappe, and even that’s made with sugar and milk. It’s a nice treat, but it’s not an everyday drink if you want the full effects of quality coffee.
We won’t go into how instant coffee is made, but if you know, you’re cringing too.
We’ll cover methods that use pressure, steeping, dripping and more. So, let’s get started.
This is a pretty simple and straightforward method. If you like a cup of coffee that has a fuller body and crispness to it, this is a good choice.
In addition to being simple, it’s quick. Your coffee may be done in as little as three minutes. These are the steps:
- Put a disposable or permanent filter in your pour-over apparatus.
- Measure out your desired amount of grounds.
- Pour enough hot water over the grounds to let them steep for about 30 seconds.
- Pour the rest of the water over the grounds slowly.
You’ll find several styles to choose from, and they can vary a little in results. There is the V60 cone-shaped apparatus, which is the most popular.
If you see a vase-like glass pot with a wood collar and tie in the middle, it has a thicker filter than most pour-over devices. That’s a good choice if you want a smoother result.
There are also devices that have a pour-over filter holder and a separate water tank above it. The water tank has holes, and the water drips slowly into the filter compartment.
This produces a rich flavor and a fuller body. However, if you’re controlling the water flow by hand-pouring it, use a gooseneck pot for better results.
Pros and Cons
The biggest pro to remember here is that you’ll get all those great aromatic and taste benefits without bitterness, unless you use only Robusta beans.
Additional advantages include the simplicity, quickness and easy cleanup.
The main con is evident if you overfill the filter with water. Your grounds can splash into your coffee, and nobody wants that kind of disappointment.
One issue can be a con if you let it, and that’s buying the filters. Some of these devices require specific filters that you may need to order online. You can usually find the large and small cone-shaped paper filters in most stores.
However, certain brands and specialty filters are harder to find locally if you don’t live in a huge city. Fortunately, you can use permanent filters for some of these, and you can find those online as well.
Just make sure that you keep plenty of filters or a permanent one on hand, and you’ll be golden!
The right grind level depends on the apparatus shape. If you pick a cone shape, you’ll want a medium-fine grind.
For a flatter pour-over bottom, a medium-coarse grind is much better.
2. Standard Drip Machine
If you’re thinking “hold up, this one should be first,” it only should if it’s a single-button coffee maker. We don’t want you to be disappointed, so you’ll want to choose a drip machine that has a few customization options.
At the least, look for a machine with a few different brew strength settings. Bonus points if it has a built-in grinder, a timer, a clean cycle, advanced filtration and a thermal carafe or reservoir.
If you can easily tell the difference between a fresh cup of coffee and one that’s been sitting for even a few minutes, a single-serve brew machine is probably better for you.
You can enjoy a full body and a smooth flavor with a high-quality coffee maker. A good drip machine won’t give you that bitter taste that cheaper one-button machines are known for.
These are the main steps with using a drip-brew machine:
- Measure your grounds into the filter.
- Place the filter in the pot.
- Customize any programmable settings for your desired outcome.
- Schedule or start the coffee maker.
There are K-cup pods, reservoir machines, glass pot machines and more. The best advice is to spend some time researching your options.
Most people pick coffee makers for offices or households with several multi-cup coffee drinkers. Make sure you pick one that suits your serving size needs.
Pros and Cons
The biggest advantage of drip machines is that they’re simple to use. Hey, nobody can complain about a higher-end coffee maker that quietly grinds beans while you’re still in dreamland and starts itself. There’s nothing better than waking up to fresh coffee.
If you want a no-fuss brewing method, this is a great choice. Just be sure to pick one with a cleaning cycle if you don’t want to mess with vinegar and water or other cleaning demands.
Drip machines can be the biggest offenders of creating a disappointing cup of coffee, or they can be great investments. To avoid that con, read reviews, make a list of the features you want and make sure that you have some leeway for customization.
The right grind is critical for a drip machine, and the ideal grind level depends on your filter shape.
If your drip machine has a cone shape, use a medium-fine grind. Use medium for a flat-bottom filter.
3. Stovetop Espresso Pot
This is the brewing method for you if your morning routine includes a latte, a cappuccino or another milk-based drink.
Brewing is very straightforward with its design. It’s a two-part pot with a water tank and reservoir, which is where the finished brew collects. There’s a removable and reusable filter where you place your grounds.
This is how it works:
- Fill the water tank.
- Put your grounds in the filter.
- Place the filter over the water tank.
- Screw on the reservoir.
- Heat the pot on a stove until the brew is finished.
The entire process only takes about five minutes! When you’re done, you just scoop out the old grounds and clean the filter.
Want a pro tip? Use distilled water only if you don’t want to clean away sediment in the pot as often.
With this product, the choices you have are mostly based on brands. These pots have a nearly identical style between different manufacturers.
The design is simple, and your choice of brand depends on your budget and aesthetic preferences. For example, some come in different colors.
Pros and Cons
A stovetop pot is easier to maintain and clean than a cheap pressurized machine. The result is just as good or better. If you can’t afford to shell out thousands for a high-end espresso machine, add this pot to your list.
Another pro is that you can use a different grind and make regular coffee with it when you travel. Since you heat the pot, you can even take it camping and use it over a camp stove.
You get a strong and full-bodied result. Also, the metal permanent filter is a benefit that needs no explanation.
One potential con is that it doesn’t make much coffee. That’s fine if you want a few shots of espresso, but it’ll take a while if you’re making coffee for you and all your friends. Cleaning can become a hassle if you use tap water.
For espresso, use about a medium-fine grind with this device. If you buy espresso-fine grounds in a bag, they may clog the filter.
4. Soft Brew
As the name suggests, this method produces a softer and smoother result. If you don’t like as much strength or any hint of bitterness, this may be a method you’ll like.
If you purchase a soft brew kit, you’ll get a brewing pot, a lid and a metal mesh filter. These are the simple steps to use it:
- Place the metal filter in the pot.
- Measure your desired amount of grounds according to the directions for the right number of cups.
- Pour the right amount of boiling water into the center.
- Place the lid on top, and wait about four minutes.
- Remove the mesh filter with the used grounds, and enjoy your coffee.
The soft brew pots are all similar in style since they use a specific design to brew your coffee. They have deep filters that are about the same size as the pot.
The main choices you have relate to aesthetic and size preferences. If you brew coffee for two or more people, look for a bigger pot. There are also single-serve pots.
Perhaps you want a certain color to coordinate with your kitchen’s theme. Lucky for you, there are plenty of attractive soft brew sets on the market today.
Pros and Cons
This pot’s simplicity is its biggest advantage. Your coffee is ready fast, and it doesn’t taste like hot garbage. Woo-hoo!
You can find plenty of affordable pots, so another advantage is that they’re budget-friendly products. Also, they don’t require disposable filters, so that’s another win.
One potential con is that you’re limited to a softer and lighter result. If you let the grounds sit a long time, they get bitter.
If you like to mix up your coffee-drinking routine and enjoy a stronger cup sometimes, you’ll want to purchase another device in addition to this one.
For hot coffee with a soft brew, use a medium-coarse or coarse grind.
5. Cold Brew Drip
Here’s a game-changing coffee for you if you really like to savor every quality of coffee beans. This method brings out all the attributes of them, so it’s great for a high-quality cup of coffee.
As it is with all good things, you must wait for it. Cold brewing takes about 10 hours or more, but you’ll be rewarded with an intense, rich flavor without bitterness or stinging acidity.
If you don’t want to commit to purchasing a quality cold drip device yet, you can use a jar or pitcher. Fill it with cold water and your desired amount of grounds, let it steep and strain out the grounds.
A good drip device produces a smoother result. It includes a water drip tank, a filter and a collection tank. Here are the basic steps in cold brewing with a drip device:
- Fill the filter with coffee grounds.
- Pour the cold water in the drip tank.
- Let the water slowly drip over the grounds for several hours.
Most cold brew drip devices are similar. Some have spiraled spouts to make the water drip even slower. Others have curved designs with glass containers that look more like something you’d remember from high school chemistry class.
A three-part dripper is ideal for flavor and a full body. If you’re patient and willing to experiment, you may decide to try brewing your coffee in a jar or pitcher. It won’t have quite the same result, but it’s not bad if you like refreshing intensity.
Pros and Cons
One great advantage of cold-brewed coffee is that it can keep for up to two weeks in a refrigerator. Since the beans aren’t heated, the taste stays crisper longer.
The other main advantage is that with the right device, you can enjoy the fullness of quality of your coffee beans.
An obvious con is the length of time you have to wait. If you’re willing to make it the night before, you can wake up to delicious coffee. When you’re in a hurry and need coffee now, this simply won’t work.
You’ll definitely want a coarse grind for cold brewing. Also, for best results through cold brewing, always use fresh-ground coffee.
6. French Press
During the last decade, French presses have become especially popular. Would you believe that they’ve been around for several decades? These trusty devices are easy to use once you get the hang of them.
They rank in the mid-level skill requirements since they do require some technique expertise. A French press has a straightforward design.
It’s like a small pot or beaker with a filtered plunger.
This is a great method if you have high-quality beans that you want to enjoy with their full intensity and richness. A French press brings out the great aromatic and taste qualities of beans.
Here’s how the French press brewing method works:
- Pour your hot water and coffee grounds into the beaker.
- Stir them, and let them sit for about four minutes.
- Push the plunger down to filter out the grounds before you pour the coffee.
As it is with some products, your main style choices are aesthetic and material. Want to look like a fancy barista? Choose one with a glass beaker and a stainless steel brace and handle.
There are retro designs with colored braces and beakers with wood handles or other features. If you don’t want to be like everyone else, there are a few designs that don’t have a see-through glass beaker. For example, there are white ceramic ones that look more like cute little coffee pots.
Since the design of the French press is standard, the style choice is up to you. Just be sure to read reviews before you buy, because there are a few duds out there.
Pros and Cons
Can you guess the top advantage? If you guessed a high-quality result without the bitterness of standard boiled coffee, you guessed right.
You can find a quality French press for under $50, so the cost benefit is fantastic. Also, you don’t have to mess with filters or worry about ordering disposable replacement filters online.
Steeping is the technique that’s hard for most people to master. If you use the right grind and don’t over-steep your coffee, you’ll be much more satisfied with this method.
Since most devices are glass or ceramic, they’re not ideal for traveling.
As a rule, coarse-ground coffee is best for a French press.
7. Pressure Pump
If you travel and detest the bland coffee of gas stations and hotels, this method of brewing may be the best thing since sliced bread for you.
There are a few different brands on the market today, and they have a similar design. It takes a little getting used to, but the result is worth the effort and adjustment.
This device includes a cylinder-like chamber with two parts, a pump-like plunger stick and a small filter. It’s only for about a single cup of coffee, which makes it super-perfect for traveling.
This is the process for a pressure pump:
- Place a filter in the device, and screw it together with the chamber section.
- Set it over a cup, add the coffee grounds and pour in the hot water.
- Stir the mixture for about 10 seconds, then depress the plunger for 20 seconds.
Although there are a few different brands, they have similar styles. Since the design uses pressure, it’s also great for brewing espresso.
Some products are marketed solely as espresso pump devices. Want to know a little secret? You can still use them to make coffee if you use the right amount of water and the right grind level.
So, the right choice boils down to what you want to use it for and your aesthetic preferences. There are practical-looking ones that aren’t all that attractive. However, they’re not glass and are great for traveling.
There are glass ones as well that are more attractive. Just be mindful of how much coffee you want to make and their brewing capacity.
Pros and Cons
You already know the main pro is this device’s portability. However, you’ll definitely want to stay away from glass if you plan to travel, unless you prefer glass and have a protective case for it.
Versatility is a big pro. You can make espresso, pour it over some cold milk with ice and enjoy a fancy mock macchiato in your hotel room or even at a campground. You can use a coarser grind and make regular coffee.
Quickness is a great benefit, and that’s true whether you travel the world or only travel to your living room sofa in the morning. It takes about two minutes to complete the process once you’re familiar with it.
For espresso, use a fine grind. Base your grind choice on the ability of the filters for the specific device you use. If it has wider mesh, use a thicker grind to avoid grit or clogging.
If you’re making regular coffee, a medium-fine grind is better for this method. You don’t want it too coarse because of the quickness of the process, which may otherwise lead to a weaker cup of coffee.
Do you like a thick and frothy coffee with a rich aroma and a full body? If so, Turkish coffee is delightful. Add some homemade Turkish Delight to snack on, and you can really revel in a lavish experience.
Unless you’re partial to this method, you master the technique and are patient, you probably won’t want to make it your morning routine. It’s a fantastic choice for a treat on the weekends, a good way to impress guests and a fun way to test your skills.
To be perfect, Turkish coffee requires exact techniques and has some rules. For example, if you want your coffee sweet, you never add sugar after it’s finished brewing. Adding the sugar is part of the cooking process.
The cooking process is the technique that’s hardest to master. Practice it and use the right coffee, and you’ll see why it’s considered a treat.
This is the cooking method:
- Using a Turkish coffee pot, mix your coffee grounds and cold water.
- Gently stir the ingredients until they’re combined well.
- Add any desired sugar.
- Put the coffee pot on the stove on low heat.
- Stirring it a few times, keep it on the burner until it’s almost boiling.
- Watch for the foam to rise, and immediately take it off the heat.
- If you’re using multiple cups, spoon a little of the foam into each one.
For measurements, use 2 tsp of ground coffee per cup of water. Use about a cube of sugar for mild sweetness per cup, and use more if you want it very sweet.
Of course, if you’re making coffee for multiple people with different preferences, you can have them compromise on mildly sweet or make separate batches.
If you really want to impress your guests, you can heat it in a more traditional way than on the stove. You’ll need an outdoor fire pit, a cast-iron pan and some sand.
Fill the pan with enough sand to sit halfway up the side of the coffee pot. Be careful not to get any sand in the pot. Heat it over a flame until all the sand is piping hot.
Use heat-resistant gloves for this. You’ll see why when you feel the heat generated by the sand.
Gently move the pot around in the sand until it reaches almost boiling, as the instructions in the list above state.
If you’re on a tight budget, the good news is that you can use a saucepan instead of a traditional pot. It may not be exactly the same, but it can still be great.
With the blessedness of the internet and online retailers today, you can find a traditional Turkish coffee pot even if you live in a rural area. They’re called cezves or ibriks.
If you want to practice and perfect your Turkish coffee skills, look for one of those online. There are a few different choices for aesthetics.
Pros and Cons
The pro is a full-bodied cup with a lighter feel, which is partially thanks to the foam. It’s an exquisite cup of coffee if you do it correctly.
The main con is that the technique takes time to master. Also, it takes a little longer to brew if you want to go all out and use sand. On the stove, it takes about four minutes to brew.
However, grinding it also adds time. The traditional way to grind it is to use a Turkish hand-grinding device. You’ll probably want to invest in one if you don’t have a grinder that can achieve a powder-like result.
Use very fine grounds for Turkish coffee. It needs to look almost like flour.
If you order a traditional pot from a retailer online, be sure to ask for specific recommendations for grind size and pot care.
Have you ever gone into a coffee shop to make a special order, and someone made a comment like “if you want a science experiment, make it at home!” That actually sounds fun, right?
If you enjoyed the burners and glass beakers in chemistry class, you can now make your coffee like a science experiment at home. You won’t have to listen to rude comments from angry souls in coffee shop lines or pay more for unpredictable results.
With a siphon brewer, you get an excellent result with out-of-this-world richness and body. Although it takes a little longer than a pump press or some quicker methods, it’s not really slow either.
It’s definitely fun to watch as well. A siphon has a water carafe on the bottom and collection pot on top.
The coolest part? Many siphon devices have an open flame. However, you can find ones that don’t if you’re not too comfortable playing with fire.
A siphon design uses built-up pressure from the bottom part into the top layer, which is where the coffee grounds are. It creates a vacuum-like action.
The coffee goes back down through a filtration process after it steeps a little, and your coffee is ready. Plan on about 10 minutes for the brewing alone.
This is the process:
- Pour water into the carafe.
- Light or turn on the burner.
- Add coffee grounds in the top as the water comes up, and stir them for better results.
- Let the steeped coffee run through filtration.
The two main variations of style choices are electric or flame-based products. For example, one electric product looks like an electric kettle with a bowl-shaped carafe on top and a cylinder in the middle.
If you choose one with a flame, you’ll find plenty of variations in design. As stated before, some of them look more like something you’d see in science class. You’ll find basic designs or elaborate ones.
Some look more like a futuristic lab experiment, and they have pronounced hoses and brass accents. Think borderline Steampunk. Once you decide whether you want flame-based or electric, it’s easier to compare the designs.
Pros and Cons
The main pro is that this thing is just cool. There’s no argument. It’s fun to watch, fun to use and fun to show off in front of your friends.
The biggest con is that it takes longer. However, the pro of the exquisite result that you’ll enjoy when you master the technique just may make up for that.
It may not be the ideal method for everyday use in the morning if you don’t have the time. Another con is that most of these devices are expensive and difficult to clean.
You’ll need special filters, and keeping them on hand can feel like a chore. Fortunately, there’s also a permanent filter design that fits most models.
You’ll want a medium-coarse grind for better results with this method. If you use a finer grind, it’ll mess up the taste quality.
Remember, this is like a science experiment and requires a degree of precision.
10. Nitrous Brewing
Now, we’ve reached the final boss of coffee brewing difficulty, or at least from what we’re covering in this guide.
Nitrous cold brewing is definitely fun, it’s unique and it produces a very distinct result. Some people aren’t sure if they love it or hate it. You’ll definitely want to try it in a coffee shop before you commit to buying equipment.
If you already tasted it and love it, congratulations. You can now learn how to enjoy it at home. That light stinging sensation is what some people find addictive about nitro brew.
Think of it like a cross between coffee and soda or beer. It has a distinct crispness, but it doesn’t completely diminish the qualities of the coffee beans.
This is the process for making it:
- Combine the recommended amount of water and coffee grounds.
- Charge the mixture with two nitro containers.
- Shake it for 30 seconds, then let it stand for five minutes.
- Holding a cup over the discharge nozzle, discharge the gas.
- Repeat the charging and shaking processes.
- Instead of letting it stand for five minutes, let it stand for an hour this time.
- Discharge the gas with a cup over the nozzle.
- Open the canister to pour out the finished coffee.
Whew! Are you still awake? It’s definitely a long process, so it may not be best for your morning coffee unless you have the patience of a saint.
It’s a fun trick to show your friends, and it makes a great coffee to enjoy in the afternoon.
Like cold brew, it can be refrigerated for later. If you want it to keep for days or weeks, you’ll need to use another nitro canister to store it under pressure instead.
Most devices look like a homemade whipped cream container. There are different colors and finishes.
However, they’re basically the same thing. You have a filtration system inside, a canister placement piece and a discharge nozzle.
If you’re going to invest in one of these, make sure you’ll be able to easily source replacement nitro canisters. Look for products with good reviews as well.
Pros and Cons
The pro is that this is fun and produces a cup of coffee with a little sting and a caffeine punch. If that’s your thing, then the investment may be worth it to you.
It’s unique and has a light and creamy texture. Combine that with the aforementioned punch, and it’s a great pick-me-up when you’re hot and tired.
The nitro canisters aren’t cheap. Ordering replacements is the biggest con for this method. Also, you need to use quality beans that are freshly ground for best results.
If you’re on a budget and like to make coffee at home to save money, this isn’t the cup for you. Also, it’s not ideal if you like hot and flat coffee.
It takes a long time to make, which is a con if you’re in a hurry. If you like the process and find it enjoyable, then it’s not a con for you.
There’s something fun about charging and discharging nitro, that’s for sure!
Use a coarse or a medium-coarse grind for brewing.
There you have it! Those are the top 10 brewing methods for a great cup of coffee. To save you from wasting coffee with other “hack” methods online that may sound interesting, here are a few to stay away from:
- Boiling coarse coffee in a pan on the stove.
- Making coffee in a rice cooker.
- Slow-brewing coffee in a crock pot.
There’s no magic to making those methods work.
Remember, don’t buy a cheap coffee maker, don’t use the wrong grind level, and make sure to find the right coffee beans for your taste. When you use good beans and an ideal brewing method, you can enjoy coffee the way you deserve.