If you’re tired of drinking bitter, flavorless, fake-tasting, or just plain unpleasant coffee from your corner store or shot out of a Keurig, it’s time to seriously consider taking matters more into your own hands.
When you brew your own coffee at home or work, it gives you the opportunity to personalize it to your specific taste. And with all of the fancy gadgets available today, brewing your own coffee is now more accessible (and more affordable) than ever.
You may be wondering, why would ‘manually brewing’ my own coffee produce a better tasting cup of coffee than the one I got from slamming down the top of a Keurig? Well, because rather than the “shotgun-load and go” method associated with fast, automatic coffee machines, manual brewing gives you the opportunity to control several of the most important factors that go into making a great cup of coffee (i.e. total brew time, amount of coffee you use, etc).
By adjusting various steps of the brewing process, you can tailor your cup of coffee to suit your specific flavor preference, making your cup of coffee truly yours.
Of course, there’s no ‘absolute right way’ to brew coffee, but there are best practices to follow when learning a new way to prepare your morning joe. So, we will go over a few of the easiest and most popular ways to brew a great cup of coffee at home including the drip method, French press, pour over, and Aeropress.
As we detail these methods, one concept reigns true: consistency is key. Regardless of the brew method, making sure the coffee has been extracted evenly throughout the brewing process is the secret to any great cup of coffee. So look out for our tips to drive consistency for each brewing method.
Please note: This article provides specific brewing instructions, such as the amount of coffee and water to use, as well as the total brewing time, but your coffee maker may suggest or require different instructions than the ones we provide below. Our instructions are based on the products we have used, so keep that in mind when you try these methods for yourself.
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Without question, using a standard drip coffee maker is one of the quickest and easiest ways to brew your coffee, which is why you see it so often in homes across the US.
To improve the consistency of the brew, spread your coffee grounds evenly across the base of the filter, creating a seemingly level surface of ground coffee.
When it comes to making drip coffee, you can’t really customize much of the brewing process, since it’s intended to be automated. However, you can adjust the flavor with based on two factors: the coffee-to-water ratio and the grind size.
In general, we recommend 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 oz of water. But if this is too strong for you, try one tablespoon or even one and a half tablespoons.
Regarding grind size, we recommend a medium-sized grind for drip coffee. Check out the Coffee Grind Size Chart to learn more about how grind size affects flavor.
Begin by placing a filter into the basket of the coffee machine.
Measure 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 oz (one cup) of coffee you plan to make. So for example, if you’re making 2 cups of coffee (about one standard mug full), you’ll put 4 tablespoons of coffee into the filter and fill the water reservoir with 12 oz of cold water.
Place the coffee pot on the burner, close up the coffee the coffee machine and push the start/on. Within minutes your hot coffee will be ready! Easy!
2. French Press
The French Press brewing method offers a rich, bold cup of coffee in about 4 minutes.
First, prep your French Press by warming it up with a rinse of very hot water.
Then, heat up your brewing water until it reaches about 200 degrees (F).
While the water is heating up, grind and measure your coffee grounds. Measure out 8 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee and place the coffee grounds into the empty and warm French Press.
Prep a timer to count down from 4 minutes.
Then, begin pouring the hot water over the coffee grounds until the press is half full. Make sure that all the grounds are saturated. As soon as you pour in the hot water, begin your timer.
When the timer reaches 3 minutes, break through the crust of the coffee grounds and gently stir with a spoon.
Now, fill the Press to the top with the remaining hot water.
When the timer reaches 0, you are ready to press the grinds down slowly. Make sure to immediately serve the coffee. The flavor can turn bitter if you let it sit in the press for too long.
A French Press is inherently fairly consistent due to the coffee grounds being fully immersed for the duration of the brewing process. However, during your initial pour, make sure all of the grounds have been soaked as you fill up the container halfway. In addition, a through, yet gentle, stir will at the 3-minute mark is also key in making sure all of the grounds are being extracted.
The French Press is made to produce bold, rich cups of java every time. If you want to adjust the intensity of your French press there are a few options to play with: Time and the amount of coffee. For a slightly less intense cup, reduce the amount of coffee used but a tablespoon or two, or reduce the 3-minute brew process down by 30-45 seconds. Should you want a stronger cup, espresso is always an option.
3. Pour Over
This is the classic way many coffee houses serve their single origin coffees due to the way it can bring out the brighter, more subtle flavors hidden within those precious beans. It can be done with varying brewers like V60s, Wave 185s, Chemex’s, and others. Regardless of the tool you use, the process is more or less the same.
Begin by heating your water to approximately 185 degrees (F).
If you’re using a paper filter, form the filter into a cone shape and place it in the top of your brewer.
Rinse the filter with warm water, as this will get rid of any ‘papery’ flavor. If rinsing over a carafe or a mug, make sure to discard it before brewing.
Next, add your coffee. Most roasters recommend 1 gram of medium-coarse ground coffee for every 16 grams of water when brewing a Pour Over. For reference, a large mug can fit ~400 grams, so if math is hard, and you are brewing a single cup, measure 25 grams of medium-coarse ground coffee into the filter.
Place your carafe or mug with a brewer on top with the coffee grounds on a scale and zero out the scale.
Now you are going to “bloom” the coffee grounds. Slowly pour the hot water over the grounds until the scale reads 50 grams. Then wait for 30 seconds. The blooming process will saturate the coffee grounds and give them a chance to open up.
After 30 seconds, slowly pour hot water over the grounds in a circular motion until you reach the ¾ to the top of the brewer.
As the water steeps and settles, repeat the previous step every time you start to see the bed of coffee grounds until your scale reads ~400 grams (or 16 x the amount of coffee you used)
It should take you about 2-3 minutes to pour enough water over the grounds.
Remove the filter from the top of the carafe or mug. Gently swirl your coffee in the carafe or mug a few times and it is ready to drink.
Achieving consistency throughout the pour-over brewing process is a challenging one as the user (you) are heavily involved. So here are some consistency tips:
After adding your dry coffee grounds to the filter, give it a little shake back and forth to level out the grounds.
When blooming the coffee, make sure all of the grounds have been introduced to water. Coffee: “Hello I’m Coffee I don’t think we’ve met” Water: “Let’s get moist”
Steady, concentric swirls as you pour more water onto the beans will make sure you are evenly saturating your coffee
When you have reached the desired water amount, tap the brewer downward twice (on the top of the mug or carafe) as it’s brewing to settle the last of your grounds.
While you have a lot to pay close attention to keep the brew consistent with a pour over, you also have the ability to change almost every aspect of the process. You can change the coarseness of the grind, the coffee to water ratio (1:17 weaker, 1:15 stronger), and the type of filter you use. Changing any of these will affect the way your coffee tastes, so play around and track your changes in order to repeat yourself when you get it right.
4. AeroPress (Regular Method)
The AeroPress gives you the freedom to brew a cup of coffee when you don’t have access to a scale nor time to wait for a longer brewing process.
First, heat your water to 175 degrees (F)
As your water heats, grind your coffee beans until you have 2 ½ tablespoons of finely ground coffee (we like to use 18g of coffee, but you can experiment with a little less or a little more).
Place the filter in the basket of the AeroPress and turn it into place.
Prepare the AeroPress by rinsing the filter with hot water and fill the AeroPress with hot water to heat it up.
Once the AeroPress is warm, discard the water.
Place the AeroPress on top of your mug and add your coffee grounds into the AeroPress.
Begin a timer as you pour the hot water over the coffee grounds. Make sure to saturate all of the coffee grounds within the first 10 seconds.
Continue to pour until the water reaches the number 4 fill line, on the side of the AeroPress.
Stir the mixture and then place the plunger on top of the AeroPress.
Create a pressure seal by pulling up just a little bit on the plunger.
Wait 1 minute and 15 seconds. Then, remove the plunger and gently stir for just a couple of seconds.
Place the plunger back on top and press down steadily (for about 20 seconds) until you hear a hissing sound.
In just under 2 minutes, you’ll have a delicious hot cup of coffee. Remove the AeroPress from the top of your mug and enjoy.
Since this is a full-immersion style of brewing consistency is pretty much baked in, however, making sure you saturate all of the grounds within the first 10 seconds and being diligent in giving the grounds a good stir will help drive the consistency of this brew.
With an AeroPress, you can’t change the amount of water you use, but you can change the amount of coffee, the grind, and the brew time. If you want a stronger cup you can increase the amount of coffee, make your grounds a little finer, or extend your brew time (or a combination of those). If this is too strong, perform the opposite.
5. AeroPress (Inverted Method)
The ‘inverted’ AeroPress method has gained a loyal following, and it’s especially popular with Barista’s who compete in the Aeropress World Championships. So if you have an Aeropress and want a new brewing experience without buying a new toy check this out.
First, begin heating your water to 175 degrees (F)
Position the plunger in the AeroPress about 1/4 inch and turn it upside down.
Pour ~18g of ground coffee into the AeroPress using the funnel.
Place your paper filter into the filter cap and pre-wet it. Now set the filter cap aside.
Within 15 seconds time, pour the hot water into the AeroPress until it is almost full.
Gently stir the coffee and hot water mixture for approximately 15 seconds, then screw your pre-wetted filter cap on top.
Allow the coffee to steep for 1-2 minutes.
Put your cup upside down on top of the filter cap.
Now, with one hand on the cup and one hand on the Aeropress, quickly flip the AeroPress and cup right-side-up while ensuring that the cup doesn’t slip out from your hand or break contact with the AeroPress.
Immediately after flipping, press down on the plunger for 20-30 seconds with gentle, steady pressure.
When you hear a hissing sound, remove the AeroPress from your mug. You’ve done it!
Have yourself a quick taste test. If it’s too concentrated, you can adjust the flavor of your coffee by adding some more hot water. Then enjoy!
Again, with the AeroPress being a full immersion brewing method, consistency is baked in. To make sure you drive this consistency further, make sure your coffee is evenly saturated, your stirring is thorough, and your pressure downward is consistent!
The big difference in customizing this brew method is the length of time you allow the grounds to steep while the AeroPress is “upside down.” If you want your cup stronger, let it sit longer, if it’s too strong, wait a little less or add hot water in your mug at the end!
Give a least a couple of these brewing methods a try and discover what you like best. By brewing your own coffee with these methods, you have the ability to control different elements of the brewing process, so feel free to experiment a little bit. Why settle for bland, bitter, and boring store-made coffee when you can brew a delicious cup yourself? Happy brewing!
This article was written and produced by Greg from CoffeeorBust.com. If you found this piece helpful and/or interesting you can find a library of other articles about your precious morning cup of brewed deliciousness at CoffeeorBust.com.