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Friday, June 28, 2013

The way of the Brew

Everyone who drinks coffee has to brew it some way.  There are some basics that are involved in the production of every cup of coffee.  Grind, steep, filter.  Those are the things everyone does to enjoy a cup of coffee.  Well, those are the steps that are required to get a cup of coffee, but not everyone does them specifically.  You may buy your coffee pre ground for instance.  However, there are many different viable ways to brew coffee out there and everyone has their preference.  For me just a simple pour over is the most common way for me to make coffee at home.  I like it because it is simple, easy to clean, and makes a single cup at a time.  It is highly efficient.  When I want more, it only takes a minute to make and it requires the least amount of effort.  And honestly, who needs more work when they wake up?  I like it.  It is not the best way I like my coffee but it is highly economical compared to a quality espresso machine, which I prefer.

When I do my cupping reviews of coffee I have an assortment of brewing methods I plan to use that will cover the majority of those home brewers.  The brewers I have collected over the years include an autodrip, a french press, melitta pour over cone, aeropress, and a moka pot.  These are what I plan to use for the time being.  Most of you have one of these methods if not more.  If you don't have these specific brewers you probably have something very similar.  Chemex, Hario, Clever Dripper, these are all pretty close to the Melitta.  I know some of you may say there are some major differences between all of these, and you would be right, but for the most part they are a similar enough process.  Maybe that will be a future post, the difference between pour overs.  At any rate I thought that I would just briefly explain the process for each of these methods that I will use so that we are all on the same page of how it is done.

Firstly, I tend to use the 17:1 water to coffee ratio and all my coffee is ground on a small electric conical grinder.  I use bottled spring water heated between 200-205F.

Autodrip: This is just a regular old automatic drip coffee brewer that about 90% of households probably own.  Pretty standard stuff.  I grind the coffee for this at a very medium grind and measure 50g coffee to 850g water with a natural, unbleached paper filter, rinsed to get the paper taste out.

French Press: My french press is a small Bodum french press.  I pour a small amount of hot water in to warm the glass and plunger before brewing.  I then pour that out and add the dry coffee ground on the chunkiest grind setting on my grinder.  I pour the water slowly over the grinds over about 20 seconds making sure to get all the grinds wet.  I then place the plunger and press it to just barely submerge the grinds.  After four minutes I press the plunger down over about 10 seconds so as to keep as many small particles on the bottom side of the plunger filter and out of the brew as possible.  I then pour off all of the coffee so that there is not any left to over extract in the grinds left in the bottom.

Melitta Cone: I like to grind coffee for the Melitta just a little smaller than medium.  I then put a rinsed, unbleached cone filter into the cone, pour the dry ground coffee in.  I generally want it to be slightly higher in the middle.  I then slowly pour the hot water over the coffee in a circular motion starting in the middle and working my way to the outer edges.  I pour slowly enough that I have made about 4 circles by the time the cone is about a quarter of an inch from the top.  I then wait for this to filter through and repeat the process.  My cone filter usually takes two passes to fill my morning mug.

Aeropress: The aeropress is a fun little device that makes an excellent cup of coffee.  It is fairly inexpensive and I would recommend you try one if you haven't.  I start with a farily fine grind for the aeropress, about halfway between medium and fine but not so fine as espresso grind.  I put the plunger in the end of the tube and pour in the grinds.  I then pour in the water and gently stir the grinds until they are saturated, about 10 seconds or so.  I then set the timer for two and a half minutes.  While it is brewing I rinse the filter and screw it into the other end of the aeropress tube.  When it is done brewing I turn the aeropress overe and over about 30 seconds slowly press the plunger down pushing the coffee through the filter into my cup.

From time to time I will have use of different methods to brew for these reviews.  I really want to get a vacuum brewer and I probably should work on getting a Chemex and a Clever Dripper.  But for now four methods will do.  

So what is your favorite way to brew coffee?


Me with an empty espresso cup eye.
My name is Drew Miner and I love coffee.  I have been in the coffee industry since 2002.  I started as a barista and from there have managed shops and roasted coffee for craft roasters.  I have been trained by La Marzocco to repair espresso machines and have worked on just about every piece of equipment there is in a cafe.  I have done just about everything there is to do to coffee, with coffee, or about coffee that doesn't require a passport.  I even tried to grow some beans in my own home but that hasn't worked out so well yet.

Fresh Press Coffee is a place for anyone who loves coffee can come to find coffee news, information, and just all around general coffee knowledge.  If you are a coffee novice, self proclaimed geek, or coffee professional I hope to have something for you.  From reviews of specific coffees to best brewing methods to information about where your coffee comes from so you can make informed decisions to get the coffee you want into your cup.  I want you to leave here knowing something you didn't before you arrived.

I will have articles about coffee from the smaller craft roasters with an emphasis on southern and middle U.S.  I will cup them via several different brewing methods and rate each method to give you the best method for your particular taste.  I will have information for roasting coffee, about roasting coffee, and about roasted coffee.  I will have information about the next new and upcoming equipment, brewing methods, and cafes and roasteries.

If I leave something out that you want to know about let me know.  I want all your feedback. Let me know what you want to hear about and how you think I should do it.  You can follow me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter @fpcoffee, instagram as Freshpresscoffee, and Vine.