What's your poison?

Coffee Brewing Methods – Let’s Get Started

At Ra-Ft Cafe' we encourage it and love it when our coffee enthusiastic customers ask us tips and advice on different coffee brewing methods and even roasting.  The required skills of making, roasting and brewing a great cup of coffee should be available to everyone, not just a selected few, this is what has made our industry thrive for so many years.  With that in mind, we are going to look at some of the motst popular brewing techniques that can be easely mastered at home.

if you have been in the pursuit for the perfect cup of coffee, you probably tried some alternative brewing systems, but none of them are quite what you were looking for, or maybe you just want to experiment. This is the best place to start your journey to discover the various coffee brewing methods. I know, we sound a bit over-confident, but why don’t you just try us and drop us a line if you didn’t like our work.

A Bit of Coffee History

According to the legend, an Arabian shepherd from the actual Ethiopia found his goats jumping from one bush to another, grazing on the bright red cherries. He wondered if the red cherries were the source of this unusual energy experienced by his goats, and he tried them too. The precious fruit and seed were further studied by the monks at the local monastery, who started to use them to cope with the long hours during prayer. Then, they sent them to other monasteries around the world, and coffee was popularized. 

The legend is beautiful, and it makes us wonder how did they brew their coffee at the time? They surely didn’t have a drip coffee machine, and they didn’t have espresso machines then. They relied on infusing the finely ground coffee beans, in a way that is now known as Turkish brewing. The beans were pounded into a fine powder then infused in hot water.

The technology evolved since then, and automatic coffee machines are the norm. Even though coffee machines are available at decent prices, some still prefer the time consuming method of brewing in an ibrik, and grinding with a manual coffee mill. I personaly love Turkish coffee, but my favorite brew is espresso :)

Coffee Brewing Methods

This article is just a brief introduction to the various brewing methods, we want you to be confident in your choices, but at the same time provide you with the knowledge to make informed decisions.  Here are a few general tips to help you in a snobby world.

For starter don’t let “coffee-heads” to dictate what you drink, not even us. Your daily joe is a unique personal experience, and it doesn’t have anything to do with what other people, or cultures drink. That being said, we might have some strong opinions about coffee, and this might transpire across our blog.

Don’t skimp on coffee beans, no matter the brewing technique, if you buy cheap coffee beans, or if you don’t store them properly, you’ll get a bad cup.

Try as many coffee preparing techniques as you need, don’t stop at the first one. Experiment with a brewing method and tweak it for yourself.

Espresso

Espresso is prepared by pushing hot water through a layer of compacted ground coffee, contained in a port-filter. Espresso is a very concentrated coffee, with a lot of body, aroma, and flavor. It contains a lot of coffee oils and solids. The most distinctive features of espresso are the foamy layer on top, and the low volume of the drink. Pulling a shot of espresso requires training and knowledge.

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is a method of infusing finely ground coffee in nearly boiling water. What is very specific to Turkish brewing method is the grind size which is the finest possible, almost a powder. There are no electrical Turkish coffee grinding machines for the residential use, but the manual mills work perfectly. Turkish coffee has the fullest body of all brewing methods. If you like clear coffee, stay away from it.

Drip Coffee

Drip coffee or filter coffee is the most popular preparing method in North America. The method involves pouring hot water over ground coffee beans. The brew is strained with a paper filter, or a metal or plastic mesh. The coffee from a drip brewer is clear and clean, with a high ratio of caffeine extracted per spoon of ground coffee. The brew is good, if you use a good coffee machine, but it’s only average with cheap equipment. Pour-over devices can compete with high end coffee makers such as Technivorm or Bonavita, in terms of taste and aroma. However, manual drippers, as they are also called, are less convenient than electrical drip brewers. 

French Press

French press, or press pot, is a very simple coffee brewing device with a beaker and a plunger/filter. The preparing technique consists in pouring hot water over coffee grinds and let it steep for a few minutes. After the steeping is over the plunger/ filter is pressed down, to separate the grinds. French press coffee has a medium body, less than espresso but more dense than drip. The aroma and flavor of a press pot coffee are intense, and the method it is gaining more and more popularity. 

Moka Pot

Moka pot is a device for making coffee that uses steam pressure to push water through coffee grinds similar to espresso method, but with much lower pressure. The pressure in a Moka pot is about 1 bar compared to a real espresso machine with 9 bar. The coffee made in a Moka pot, as you would expect, is very bold, it resembles espresso. Stove top espresso as it is also called lacks the crema and it has much less aromatic oils. It is a decent espresso alternative. 

Cold Brew

Cold brew is the favorite way of preparing coffee for people with stomach problems. If regular, hot, coffee brews upset your stomach, cold brew is definitely your choice. The brewing method implies steeping coffee grinds for extended periods of time, (12 to 36 hours), then straining it and serving it cold or hot. Because it takes so long to brew, people prepare large batches and store it in the fridge for several days. 

Single Serve Brewing

There is no consensus about single serve coffee machines being a distinctive brewing method. However, if you think about Keurig brewers, they use pressure to push water through the coffee grounds, but the pressure is not as high as with espresso machines. The coffee is ground coarser than for Moka pot, and it is less compact, hence a faster brewing time. In the end, a Keurig machine brews coffee in a unique way, like no other coffee maker. Single serve provide you a clean cup, with decent aroma and flavor, and minimum effort. It is one of the most convenient devices, reducing the operator’s manual intervention to zero.

Aeropress

Aeropress is a manual coffee making device that allows you to use pressure to brew a cup. The method involves a two steps process, with a few minutes steeping followed by pushing the brew through the coffee grounds under pressure to extract even more solids and caffeine. Aeropress coffee is strong with body, and resembles a lot with espresso.