Best Home Coffee Brewing Methods

There’s no denying that there is something special about that first sip of a freshly made coffee shop beverage. And while this can be replicated at home with a state of the art espresso machine, not all of us have the budget, skills or inclination to work with one every time we crave some of the good stuff. But fear not, as a really good cup of coffee comes in many forms and we are here to show you the very best home coffee brewing methods, no espresso machine necessary. 

What types of manually operated methods of brewing coffee are there?

We are currently right in the middle of a real revival in artisan  coffee roasting and brewing, with a focus on the taste and origins of the beans. Yet so many of us rely on coffee shops to try out the latest, greatest tasting coffee. It doesn’t have to be this way! There are so many brewers (with new ones being launched almost yearly) that can be used at home by novice or amateur baristas, no training or expensive espresso machine needed. But which one to choose? 

How to pick the best home coffee brewing method

There are many manually operated methods of brewing coffee, and which one you opt for will depend on a few factors, not least your personal preference for which coffee tastes you favour.

Aside from the resulting coffee produced, there are other aspects of the brewing methods to consider, such as the level of control you will have over the brewing process, the time it takes to prepare, brew and clean the brewer, the amount of coffee the method produces and how easy it is to use. All of these factors should be taken into consideration before deciding on which method is best for you.

Manual coffee brewing methods

When it comes to manually brewing coffee at home, there are several methods to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Let's take a closer look at each one, taking into account the aspects mentioned above.

French Press

The French Press (also known as a cafetiere) uses a metal or glass container with a plunger and a mesh filter to brew coffee. 

Method: The coffee grounds are placed in the cafetiere and steeped in hot water for several minutes, and then the plunger is pushed down to separate the grounds from the liquid. 

Taste: French presses produce a full-bodied cup of coffee with a rich flavour and are great for those who enjoy a stronger brew.

Time Taken: minutes for 2-4 cups (dependent on the size of cafetiere used).

Ease of use: Sometimes considered the beginner coffee brewing method and the one you probably remember your parents using. Very easy to use and clean.

Adaptability: Not terrifically, but for a well made, delicious cup of coffee at home that is easy to produce, this is your best bet.

Pour-Over Coffee

Apart from the humble cafetiere, the pour over (Sometimes also known as filter coffee) is the most common method for home coffee brewing. 

Method: Pour-over coffee involves pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a filter, which drips down into a cup or carafe. 

Taste: Pour-over coffee is known for its bright, clean taste, and is perfect for those who appreciate a lighter, more delicate coffee.

Time taken: 3-4 minutes, depending on the preferred method. 

Ease of use: Easy to use, but can be difficult to get precise results without practice.

Adaptability: This method allows for greater control over the brewing process, as you can adjust the flow rate and water temperature to your liking. The most popular is the V6 Hario, but there are a wide variety of this type of brewer out there- both mechanical and manual.

AeroPress Coffee

The AeroPress is a relatively new brewing method that uses air pressure to extract coffee flavours. It is the closest you can get to replicating espresso coffee without using a machine. It is also beloved for its portability and back to basics design.

Method: Coffee grounds are steeped in hot water, and then a plunger is used to push the coffee through a very fine paper filter and into a cup.

Taste: Due to the use of pressure and a fine, replaceable filter, the resulting coffee is smooth and rich, with low acidity. 

Ease of use: Straight forward, once you have decided how you want to use it (inverted method cohorts are a passionate bunch.) Also one of the easiest brewers to clean.

Time taken: 2-3 minutes, but will only do one cup at a time so may not be suitable for entertaining guests, unless they are the very patient kind.

Adaptability: As with any new brewing method, coffee lovers have taken to experimenting in the pursuit of the elusive perfect method. A quick search of youtube reveals hundreds of varieties on this theme. 

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for several hours, resulting in a strong but easy to drink beverage or concentrate that can then be watered down.

Method: Probably the simplest of coffee brewing methods, if you have time to kill. Plus, it is a great way to use up past-their-best beans and as it is cold, can be kept chilled and used over an extended period of time. Here’s our guide to making your own cold brew at home. 

Taste: A smooth, low-acid cup of coffee that is perfect for hot summer days, a great option for those who prefer a less bitter taste in their brew.

Ease of use: Cold brew requires a bit of planning ahead, as it takes several hours to brew, but the result is well worth it. The actual brewing is very straightforward and can be left alone to do its thing.

Time taken: hours, usually overnight or all day.

Adaptability: The actual method has little variation, but the drinks that can be made from it are entirely adaptable - the most popular use is saved as a coffee concentrate which is then watered down or added to milk and ice- as are the beans used to make it. 

Moka Pot Coffee

Moka pots are a stovetop coffee maker that uses steam pressure to brew coffee and is often referred to as a manual espresso. They are the coffee makers of choice in many American and European homes, and have been for decades.

Method: Cold water is placed in the bottom chamber, with medium-finely ground coffee beans placed in a coffee basket above. The pot is then placed on the stove over a medium heat, until the coffee begins to brew. After being removed from the heat, it is then left to sit for a few minutes, before being served.

Taste: Moka pots produce a strong, rich, and full-bodied cup of coffee, more akin to a french press brew than the other methods. 

Ease of use: Relatively easy to make, but must be kept an eye on and will need regular thorough cleaning to work optimally.

Time taken: 5-10 minutes. Plus, they come in different sizes, making them a good option for brewing coffee for multiple people at once.

Adaptability: Very little. Moka pots are less about experimentation -but can be a great way to taste new or different coffee beans- and more about having a quick, easy way to have an elevated coffee at home. 

 *   *   *

Each of these brewing methods has its unique features and benefits, so it's worth exploring which one may be the best fit for your needs and preferences.

Ultimately, the best manual brewing method for coffee is a personal preference. Enjoy experimenting with different methods until you find the one that suits your taste buds best. 

Whichever method you opt for, make sure that you use the finest, freshest coffee beans to guarantee that you get the best cup of coffee possible. 

Older Post