5 Best Ways to Make Coffee
Maryna Gray • March 22, 2021
If you love coffee, you’ll do almost anything to brew the perfect cup. But how do you make a truly good cup of coffee? First, start with fresh coffee beans or ground coffee. Then focus on the best way to make coffee. While there are several different ways to make coffee, the best way to brew coffee is the method that works for you. From the drip method to the pour over technique, these are of some of the best ways to make coffee.
1. Drip Coffee
Drip Coffee Pros
- Set it and forget it.
- It stays hotter longer.
- It yields a full pot.
Drip Coffee Cons
- You have less control.
- There's less aroma.
Drip coffee is the old standby. Whether you’re using the Mr. Coffee machine you got as a housewarming gift when you finally got your own place, or you’ve upgraded to a new machine, the process is simple. Just pour water into the reservoir of your coffee maker, add a coffee filter, and pour your coffee grounds into the filter. Once you turn on the drip coffee machine, the water heats up and flows into and through the coffee grounds. The end result—liquid gold that keeps you moving—drips into the carafe or cup below.
For most coffee drinkers—especially those who need their caffeine fix to be fully automated and ready to go as soon as they hop out of bed in the morning—drip is the best way to make coffee because of its convenience and ease of use. (The only thing that may be easier is making instant coffee.) Most brewers have a timer so you can set it and forget it, waking up to the best smell known to humankind.
Wondering which drip coffee maker is right for you? These are our picks for the best drip coffee makers for 2021.
2. French Press Coffee
French Press Pros
- It makes a rich, full-bodied cup.
- It's great for travel.
- It's ideal for sharing.
French Press Cons
- Sediment from the grounds tends to find its way into your cup.
- It's easy to over-extract, leading to a bitter taste.
While the drip method may be known for being easy and convenient, using a French press isn’t exactly difficult. Pour coarse ground coffee into the bottom of the carafe, followed by nearly boiling water. Boil your water and then let it cool slightly before pouring it over the grounds to get the perfect temperature. After allowing it to sit and steep for a few minutes (four to five minutes is best), slowly press the plunger down so the water and grounds can separate. What’s left is pure happiness.
Brewing your coffee in a French press may feel like it takes longer (especially if it’s your first cup of the day), but it really only takes a few minutes and the results may surprise you. Because the water and coffee grounds stay in contact the whole time, you get a thicker, richer flavor. If you like your coffee on the stronger side, this may be the best way to make coffee for you. The oil in the coffee is extracted more readily and the taste is amazing. While it can be easy to over-extract (take the flavor out of the coffee), you can easily avoid this by serving the coffee immediately after brewing it.
3. Pour Over Coffee
Pour Over Pros
- It presents beautifully.
- It yields a clean taste without sediment.
- It's ideal for sharing (four to eight cups).
Pour Over Cons
- The coffee cools quickly.
The pour over brewing method, commonly used with a Chemex, funnels brewed coffee down into a beautiful glass carafe for serving.
And if you think the perfect pour over can only be achieved by the mustachioed barista at your favorite coffee shop, think again. Like using the French press, using a Chemex only seems complicated. In its simplest form, you’ll place a filter over a carafe or mug. Add your ground coffee into the filter and then pour in a little hot water in a circular path, allowing the coffee grounds to “bloom,” a release of gas that occurs when hot water meets coffee grounds. You only want to use enough water to get the grounds wet. Let it sit for a minute or so and then slowly add the rest of the water to begin the brewing process. The next step is really easy: wait. As the water makes its way through the ground coffee, deliciousness will drip out into the carafe below.
The pour over method is one of the best ways to make coffee part of your morning ritual (assuming you’ve got a few extra minutes to spare). Slowly pouring the water and watching the grounds bloom provides a moment of Zen before you start your day. Unlike the French press method, your pour over coffee won’t be quite as strong, but it will still have a full-bodied flavor you’ll enjoy. You also won’t have to deal with grit like you sometimes do with a French press, so it’ll be a smoother cup, too.
4. AeroPress Coffee
- It provides a strong and full flavor without sediment.
- It's great for personal use.
- It's portable for travel, and is especially ideal for camping.
- It only yields one serving at a time.
Place the chamber of the AeroPress on top of your coffee cup, then dump a scoop of freshly ground coffee into the chamber. Shake the chamber to ensure the coffee is level before adding boiling water to the Level 1 line on the chamber. Stir for about 10 seconds, then place the plunger on top of the chamber and slowly push down—pausing along the way—until your plunger reaches the grounds.
The AeroPress makes a bold cup of coffee without the sediment of a French press. And while it only brews a single cup of coffee at a time, it's the best way to brew coffee when traveling (especially camping). For more tips for using an AeroPress, see How to Use an AeroPress.
5. Coffee Dripper
Coffee Dripper Pros
- It provides a strong, full flavor without sediment.
- It's great for personal use.
- It's perfectly portable for travel.
- You have control of pour speed.
Coffee Dripper Cons
- It provides a single serving only.
One of the best coffee drippers on the market, the Hario V60 Dripper is a classic, single-cup pour over brewing method that requires five simple steps. First, fold your filter into the Hario and rinse with water just off of boil; this eliminates potential paper flavor. Next, grind your coffee to a fine consistency. Saturate the grounds and let sit for 15 seconds or so. Pour water in a slow, spiral motion, adding water every few seconds. Wait three minutes, remove the brewer and enjoy your coffee!
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