The term “brew” is used in the coffee industry to define the process used when preparing coffee. Some coffee lovers may think, well this is not legit, as we refer to tea being brewed. Well let me tell you today, coffee undergoes the exact same process of brewing.
Coffee is brewed by following the basic steps of pouring hot water near boiling point onto coffee grounds, where they are allowed to brew for a few minutes. The coffee grounds are usually strained with either a paper filter or a metal or plastic mesh.
There’s various methods used to achieve this process, that results in different coffee tastes. It influences the flavors and aromas of the coffee, ensuring that there’s a cup to suit every preference of every coffee lover. There’s no incorrect method of brewing coffee. Brew it the way you love it!
The different brewing methods:
The following methods makes use of pressure or steeping to produce this golden drink.
The Espresso Machine:
The Espresso Machine is used most commonly and is very popular in coffee shops which brews an espresso. You’ll find an espresso machine in every coffee shop you visit.
It’s been improved over the years, but they all have the same components in common; a portafilter with a group-head and a steaming wand. The steaming wand is used to steam and froth milk.
An espresso is brewed by forcing pressurized water through a tightly packed, espresso grounds with a filter. The end-product is dark brown in color, a concentrated coffee which has a little amount of crema on the top.
Have a look at the ‘What is this golden drink about?’ for the different types of coffee drinks.
The Moka Pot:
This is basically making an espresso on a stove. This mechanism is placed on the stove to brew your coffee. The perfect method for when you want to brew an espresso at home.
It consists of 3 chambers: the bottom chamber which contains water, the middle chamber with a filter for the coffee grounds and the top chamber collects the brewed coffee.
Water is poured into the bottom chamber, where it boils and the steam will cause pressure. The pressure will push the water through the coffee grounds to the top chamber. The coffee grounds are separated from the top chamber by a mesh filter.
The stove top espresso lacks the crema of the above mentioned espresso, and contains much less aromatic oils.
This device is used to brew coffee manually and became very popular under the traveling community. It’s very light and compact to be able to just pop it into your suitcase, ensuring you to have the best cup everywhere you go.
The Aeropress is made up of two cylinders fitting into each other. The one cylinder, which has a flexible and airtight seal, fits into the larger cylinder. The filter is locked onto the large cylinder at the bottom.
There’s two brewing techniques that can be used. It’s the traditional method, and the inverted method meaning being ‘brewed upside down’.
For both techniques, the brewing process consists of the same steps. Coffee grounds will be placed into the larger cylinder and pouring in the desired amount of water . A few minutes are allowed for steeping. This all depends on the desired flavor and strength. The brew will be pressured through the coffee grounds and the filter, by pushing down the plunger (small cylinder).
The resulting brew resembles a lot of characteristics of an espresso. It has the strength of the espresso but is smoother.
The French Press:
It is also commonly referred to as a plunger. This form of brewing is one of the oldest methods to exist for brewing coffee at home. It’s a very simple and easy method for brewing your coffee and no advanced skills are required.
The French Press is a tall and narrow cylinder that comes with a plunger, with a metal or nylon fine mesh filter. Coffee grounds are placed in the cylinder with near boiling water poured onto the coffee grounds. It’s left to steep for a few minutes. The plunger will be pushed down gently leaving the filtered coffee above the grounds. While the grounds are trapped, the coffee can be poured out into a cup.
The coffee consists of a medium body, which is less than the espresso. It has an intense aroma and flavor.
The Soft Brew:
It’s basically the French Press made easier. It’s a lot like the french press, except that it has a cylindrical filter on the inside.
The coffee grounds are placed inside the filter. Pour hot water into the pot and allow a few minutes for steeping, usually 4-8 minutes. The coffee can then be poured out into a cup, and the grounds will stay behind in the filter.
Perfect for the home brewers that prefers simple and convenient.
The Vacuum Pot:
It’s also known as the siphon pot. This mechanism consists of several brewing methods combined. It’s not a very simple method, as it requires a huge amount of time and effort. If you are know to be impatient, this method is definitely not for you. If you want to be fancy and treat friends, why not?
The Vacuum Pot has two chambers; a bowl or funnel at the top attached to a siphon, which descends all the way to the bottom of the pot below.
Water is poured into the pot at the bottom, and the grounds are placed in the funnel at the top. The whole apparatus is placed over a burner, which heats the water. As the water heats, vapor pressure increases in pot. This causes the water to move up the siphon into the funnel where it mixes with the coffee grounds. When all the water has been pressured upwards into the funnel, enough time is allowed for brewing. The heat is then removed, causing the pressure to drop in the pot below. The water will be pushed down into the pot through the filter by gravity and atmospheric pressure, leaving the grounds behind.
The resulting brew is very unique when it comes to its richness and clear flavors. It has a sweet taste and a oily body. Its a bright and clarified coffee, and perfect for purest coffee tasting.
Check out Wake Up. Brew for the latest manual brewing equipment.
That’s a wrap for part I. Make sure to stay tuned for Part II that will be about brewing methods making use of filtration/dripping.
Till the next cup of coffee.