Brewing Methods – A Brief Overview

“Brewing? I know about brewing!  You put the grounds in the filter, push the button, then coffee comes out!  What’s to know?”

Well….there’s a little more to it than that.

First, there are many different methods used around the world. Some are more rustic, some are more technological, and they all result in a different cup.  We’re not going to cover them all here, but if you come back and check the blog posts periodically, we’ll be adding some from time to time.  For now, here are…

The four most common types of brewing:

  • Auto-Drip – Most countertop brewers fall into this category, they pump a constant flow of hot water into a basket of grounds. The water saturates the grounds and extracts the coffee solids as the water runs across the grounds.
  • Pour-over – One of the more popular pour-over devices is the Chemex. This method differs from Drip in that it’s more manual, and it allows for better control of saturation of the grounds. You generally also have greater control of the water temperature.
  • French Press – A French Press steeps the coffee as you would tea. Pour the grounds into the bottom of the French Press, bloom your grounds for about 30 seconds, then pour the remainder of the hot water over the grounds.  This is a very effective method of flavor extraction and tends to be better with darker roasts.
  • Espresso – Espresso machines build up steam pressure, forcing the steam through the grounds to extract the coffee solids. This method also creates a foam called crema that adds richness to the brewed espresso.

Things To Remember

  • Grind at home!  I can’t emphasize this enough. Besides the all-important freshness factor, not all brewing methods use the same grind coarseness/fineness.
  • Water temperature!  For the methods mentioned above, all but Espresso need the water to be at about 200 degrees (195-205 range). For pour-over and french press, if you don’t have a thermometer, bring the water to boiling, take it off the heat for about 45 seconds and the water will be at about 205.