How to brew?
caffetierre or french press
siphon or vaccum pot
turkish cup or ibrik
pour over or manual drip
chemex irish pot
aeropress espresso machine
percolator arabian pot
Brewing coffee is as much of an art as it is a science. The history of coffee brewing equipment is rich, and methods of brewing are culturally dependent. Of the thousands of coffee machines and coffee brewing devices invented since the advent of coffee consumption, only a few have gained worldwide popularity. The coffee brewing methods discussed below are recommended since they have been found to maximize the extraction of the beneficial flavors of coffee, while minimizing the extraction of bitter coffee compounds a nd undesirable components.
Procedure of Making Coffee: Directions
The following general rules apply to each coffee making process discussed. Coffee should be brewed for 4.5-5 minutes using a ratio of 55 grams of ground coffee per liter of filtered water (195-205°F). It is convenient to use 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of filtered water. Filtered water and spring water are recommended. Tap water imparts off flavors to the coffee and some minerals are essential to coffee flavor. Distilled water is not recommended for brewing coffee as it lacks the minerals to bring out the natural flavors of the coffee.
Coffee Maker Reviews
French Press: The best way to control the time and temperature is to use a French press coffee maker. The French press offers unparalleled flavor due to perfect extraction time and delivery of the volatile oils that are often trapped in paper filters. A French press is also the least expensive coffee brewer available. To make coffee in a French press: boil the correct amount of water, freshly grind the coffee beans using a course setting, remove the plunger, place the coffee grounds at the bottom of the glass, add the hot water, stir by shaking, and after 4-5 minutes press the plunger down to separate the grounds from the extracted coffee. The best French presses are made by Bodum and come in sizes of 3 and 12 cups. An insulated version is also available. Note: You do not want to pour boiling water directly onto the coffee. The goal is to brew coffee at a temperature between 195-205°F.
Unfortunately, French press coffee makers are not quite as convenient as a drip coffee makers due to preparation time and cleaning time. The French press also loses heat faster than some other methods, but extraction at slightly varying temperatures will promote a more dynamic and complex cup of coffee. To minimize heat loss effects, Bodum has developed an insulated coffee press. This press is highly recommended for both design and attention to coffee brewing details.
A novel integrated electric water heater-French press is available from Chef’s Choice. This French press minimizes the complexity of using multiple devices to boil and then brew the coffee. We use it daily at the Coffee Research Institute and highly recommend it for those who want to simplify the brewing process without sacrificing quality.
Vacuum Coffee Pot: The vacuum coffee pot is a clever device invented by Robert Napier in 1840 that prepares an exceptional cup of coffee with a potent aroma. This is an appropriate alternative for those who have an aversion to the taste of the paper filters from drip brewers or for people who dislike the sediment in the bottom of the cup from the French press method.
To brew coffee in a vacuum pot, add the proper amount of filtered water to the bottom bulb, attach the filter to the upper bulb and fit the upper glass bulb tightly over the bottom glass bulb. Place the vacuum coffee pot on the stove, making sure that the bottom bulb is completely dry on the outside. Use a medium grind and add the grounds when the water begins to fill the upper chamber. Leave the pot on the stove for 3.5 minutes and then place on a hot pad. Within 30 seconds the lower pot will cool enough to form a vacuum to pull the brewing coffee into the lower chamber, thereby separating it from the grounds. Experiment with the heating and cooling cycles until the total extraction time is between 4-5 minutes. A great and inexpensive vacuum coffee pot available is the Bodum pot (pictured to the left). An electric vacuum pot (pictured to the right) is also available from Bodum.
Automatic Drip Coffee Maker: The easiest way to brew coffee is by using an automatic drip coffee brewer. Unfortunately, few coffee machines brew at the right temperature for the correct amount of time. The best drip coffee makers currently available are produced by Techni Vorm and distributed by Boyd’s coffee and Sweet Maria’s Coffee. Of the available models, the MoccaMaster Clubline KB 741 with the insulated carafe is probably the best drip brewer available on the market.
To brew coffee in a drip brewer, place a thick paper filter in the brewing cone (basket) and thoroughly wet with water. This helps remove the paper taste from the filter. Then freshly grind the coffee using a medium grinder setting. As the water begins to boil, pour the coffee into the coffee filter. Now as the water pours over the coffee, shake the basket (removable in the Technivorm) to ensure an even extraction. Brew time and temperature are taken care of automatically. If your brewer has a hot plate under a glass carafe, remove the carafe after the coffee is fully brewed to prevent the coffee from burning.
How to make an espresso drink?
1. choose the right coffee beans
2. fine grinding
3. leveling the coffee ground
5. choosing your cup
6. heat your cup
7. pulling an espresso
8. steaming the milk
9. pouring milk to espresso
Your coffee choices
EspressoThe best espresso should be extraordinarily sweet, have a potent aroma, and flavor similar to freshly ground coffee. The crema should be dark reddish-brown and smooth, yet thick. A perfect espresso should be enjoyable straight with no additives, yet bold enough to not disappear in milk. A pleasant and aromatic aftertaste should linger on the palate for several minutes after consumption.
The following steps describe in detail how to make espresso. You will also learn about the various factors and problems with espresso that limit its perfection. If any of these factors are off, you will not achieve a high quality espresso.
Making Perfect Espresso, Blending Espresso
Without a good espresso coffee blend you cannot have a good espresso. The best espresso coffee beans are blended to achieve the sweetness, aromatics, and smoothness desired in espresso. The espresso blend must also be fresh. We recommend using espresso within four days of roasting. Please see the espresso blending section for help on creating your own blends or order some excellent espresso blends from roasted coffee suppliers, such as Caffe D’arte or Espresso Vivace.
Roasting EspressoToo often you will find espresso roasted very dark. This results in a bitter, charcoal tasting brew. People that know how to make an espresso will roast light to preserve the aroma and sugars. For more information, read the section about espresso roasting.
Grinding EspressoThe grind must be continuously monitored throughout the day to achieve an extraction time of 25-30 seconds. Do not change the pressure you tamp with to compensate for a grind that has become too large or small. For more information, read the section about espresso grinding.
Espresso GrinderA high quality burr grinder is essential for espresso. A conical burr grinder is preferred to flat burrs since the particle size is more even, they last longer, and the coffee is not heated during the grinding process. If the burrs become hot the coffee aroma will be diminished. A conical/parallel hybrid blade is considered the best design by many coffee professionals.
Dosing EspressoCoffee must be freshly ground to achieve peak flavors. Grind and dose on demand. When someone orders an espresso grind only what is necessary for one shot, dose properly, tamp, and brew. Discard any espresso grounds that are not used within 30 seconds. For more information, read the section about espresso grinding and dosing.
Distribution in PortafilterDistribute the coffee evenly after dosing in the porta-filter before tamping.
Tamping EspressoTamp the coffee once very evenly with 5 lbs of pressure, then once with 30 lbs of pressure, and polish 720° with 20 lbs of pressure. For more information, read the section about espresso tamping.
Water mineral contentThe water used for espresso must be filtered. Some cities must even compensate for the mineral content of their water. Over time oxygen will be forced out of the water in the espresso machine leading to off tasting water. Try filling a small glass with water, letting it cool, and tasting it for off flavors. If the water tastes strange you may want to dump the tanks daily and begin with fresh water.
Water temperatureThe water temperature should be stable and somewhere between 92-96°C. Choosing the best espresso machine is very important to both water temperature and temperature stability.
Temperature stabilizingA stable temperature helps ensure that you prepare excellent espresso. For more information about stabilizing the temperature of your espresso machine, read about espresso temperature stabilizing.
Water pressure for EspressoThe pressure of the water forced through the espresso should be between 9 and 10 atm. This pressure is responsible for the development of the crema.
Boiler pressureThe boiler pressure determines the amount of water to be incorporated in the steam. If your milk is not foaming correctly as described in the section on latte art, you may want to experiment with different boiler pressures. Boiler pressure, however, should only be altered by professionals. You can check your boiler pressure by looking at the boiler pressure gauge on the front of most espresso machines.
Extraction timeExtraction time to fill two 1-oz cups should be between 25-30 seconds. Despite the time the pump should be turned off if the espresso becomes slightly lighter in color. The goal is to have a dark red espresso take approximately 25-30 seconds to brew with no change in color. Fore more information, read the section on extracting espresso.
Porta-filter and basketThe porta-filter should always remain the same temperature as the water used to brew the espresso. Therefore it should always remain in the group head. The basket should hold 16-18 grams of coffee and must be straight walled. Curvatures in the basket will lead to uneven extraction.
TimelinessAct quickly, but carefully. You should spend no longer than 30 seconds for the time it takes to dose, distribute, tamp, pre-heat, and brew the espresso.
Espresso machine cleanlinessCoffee machine cleaning is probably the biggest problem with espresso today. If the machine, basket, and porta-filter are not cleaned regularly, the espresso will always taste rancid.
Espresso grinder maintenanceEveryday the burr blades should be swept clean. Between shots you may want to brush out the excess espresso that gets stuck between the burrs and the dosing chamber. The burrs must be replaced at least yearly so that they continue to produce coffee granules with a maximal surface area.
Environmental FactorsThe humidity and temperature will change throughout the day. Since coffee is hydroscopic (absorbs moisture), the grind size must be changed throughout the day to achieve a brew time of 25-30 seconds. The temperature will not affect the espresso like the humidity, but it is important to avoid exposing the coffee to any high temperatures until brewing.
Espresso cupThe espresso cup should be pre-heated from a source other than the espresso machine. Filling a cup with water from the espresso machine prior to brewing the espresso will lower the temperature of the water in the boiler and the espresso extraction will be uneven. The espresso cup should have thick walls and a narrow mouth to retain heat and aroma, respectively.
Practice makes perfect. If you want to learn to make espresso, it is essential to practice and experiment. The key to making espresso is to realize that it always has further potential. By changing any one of these factors you can improve or diminish its potential. Espresso preparation is an art that demands the precision and dedication of science. I have never achieved, nor have ever seen anyone make a perfect espresso. A perfect espresso is more of a concept than an actuality. The beauty is that espresso is volatile and difficult. If it were easy, we would develop a machine that knows how to make a perfect espresso every time. There are so many factors involved in espresso preparation that only a human mind and a passionate heart can begin to understand and control its complexity.