So, a Popular Question Is; “I Like My Coffee This Way – What Brewing Method Should I Use?”
Well, our answer would always be to try coffees made using different methods and see which you prefer. If you live anywhere near a decent non-chain coffee shop they’ll perhaps be able to serve you coffee brewed in a couple of different ways, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to do that, or don’t want to be stuck with a device you’ll never use.
We’ve compiled a guide for the four methods & detailed their benefits and drawbacks, and the coffee tastes they produce…
To make these tests fair we used the same coffee (albeit grinded differently) for each brew. We used Our Speciality Coffees for this. For each device we provided a recipe, a device description and the taste results.
Method 1: V60 Dripper
21g coffee, medium grind, 50g water pre-infusion, 250g water added gradually.
The drip method of making coffee? It’s any piece of apparatus that causes water to seep through the coffee and drip into a receptacle. There are plenty of variables that can make or break your cuppa, the most obvious being grind size, so you may need to experiment to get that right, but when you do get it right it’s a joy.
The only other issue here is filters; you will need to buy paper filters, though most packs come with at least a hundred so it’ll be a while before you run out.
This cup was our first taste of this coffee, and it was light, clear and bold, with a fairly intense and smoky flavour of nicely bitter dark chocolate and nut.
Method 2: Aeropress (Inverted method using metal filter)
18g coffee, medium/fine grind, 150g water infusion for 45 seconds, plunged, then diluted in cup with 130g water.
The Aeropress is a superb little device for making great coffee quickly, and in the year or so in which I’ve been using one I’ve found no obvious cons to balance out the many pros. I recently started using a steel filter rather than paper, which gives a more flavoursome coffee, since steel doesn’t absorb the coffee’s oils as it passes through, whilst paper does.
Clean, smooth and light with a rich flavour of dark chocolate, albeit with less intensity and bitterness than the V60 brew.
Method 3: French Press (12oz)
19g coffee, coarse grind, 150g water pre-infusion for 45 seconds, then topped up to 300g, left for 3mins 50secs, stirred and plunged.
The French Press (or cafetiere, press pot, coffee press) is a long-standing favourite for a lot of people. It’s certainly simple to use, easy to clean and provides a great cup of coffee as long as you remember one key factor; a French press requires a coarse grind! If you buy your coffee pre-ground this may be something you need to consider, since a finer grind will slip through the metal filter and end up in your cup. The beauty of the press is that there’s no paper filter to absorb the oils from the coffee, so you get a big flavour.
Full-bodied and bold. The individual flavours present in previous methods are less distinct, replaced by a more intense ‘coffee’ flavoured taste.
Method 4: Clever
17g coffee, 45g water pre-infusion for 45 seconds, then topped up to 300g, left for 1min 30secs then placed on mug to draw-down.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, it is essentially a plastic cone with a one- way tap underneath. You place a filter in the cone, add coffee, add water, and let the brew steep. Then after a few minutes you put the clever directly onto your favourite mug, which causes the tap to open and the brew to draw down through the coffee into your mug.
It takes the direct immersion method of the French press, and the filter and draw-down process of the V60 and combines the two. It’s also super-easy to clean and has no removable parts, so storage is simple.
Full-flavoured and clear. The clarity of a V60 brew combined with the full-bodied intensity of the press. As with the press, less individual flavours can be distinguished, but the overall cup is more delicate due to the paper filter.
Hopefully the experiment I’ve put ourself through (with pleasure) will benefit some people in some way if the actual process of making the coffee isn’t something you’re too concerned about, but rather you just want a cup of coffee that you’ll like again and again.