Aeropress, Chemex and Kalita. These aren't video game characters! Your coffee can be ground to suit any method of brewing and the fact that you're on this page means you've missed out on most fun part of coffee. Brewing it. Yourself.
Seriously, Yourself. Not your Mom. Or the dreary office coffee machine.
Here's a quick guide to different brewing methods you can play around with.
1. BOIL TO BREW
Apart from being a fairly good looking bunch of people, the Turks make some good coffee. They went so far as to make UNESCO confirm Turkish Coffee as their Cultural Heritage. Yes, they can get serious when it gets to coffee. To make some, you need a Cezve, a pot with a long handle, extra fine ground coffee and hot water. Comes in brass, silver or gold based on your willingness to splurge or on your perceived social status.
2. PRESSURE TO BREW
The stuff that goes into making a Latte, Cappuccino, Americano, Flat White and almost all other coffee you usually order at your favourite coffee shop. You need a machine to extract the coffee grounds at high pressure. Make sure you have finely ground coffee, the counter space and a fat wallet for your shiny toy.
Engineer, Scientist and Inventor Alan Adler decided to save us all by inventing generally fun stuff like record breaking frisbees and better coffee machines, like the Aeropress. It's seriously fast, compact, works inverted and easy to use (the Aeropress not the Frisbee). Cleaning is very easy and they have the Aeropress Championships in case you get seriously good at it. Even your dog can use it and fine ground coffee is all you need.
Image : espresso unplugged
This stovetop wonder has three chambers, heated water from the bottom chamber flows under pressure through finely ground coffee in the middle to make an espresso shot like fix at the top. An Italian, Luigi De Ponti invented it; therefore it's fast, pretty and a tad fussy, but a beauty when you've figured her out, like most things Italian. The only thing not Italian is its price - it's affordable. Good thing too!
3. FILTER TO BREW
South Indian Filter
If you grew up in South India, you know this as probably the only way to make your Kaapi. Two steel cup like containers, the upper one with a pierced bottom and the lower one to receive the brewed coffee. Boiling water is poured over tamped (compressed) medium ground coffee usually blended in with chicory. It is a strong brew, often stronger than espresso. Most men leave the brewing to mothers and wives because it never comes with a manual and hence too complicated for them... I think.
Pour hot water over medium ground coffee in usually conical filters and allow to drip into a collector below. With many options here like the Chemex, Kalita Wave, Hario V60, all very good looking devices, it is one of the most exciting methods to use. Be wary though, some expertise is required and fiddling with your grind settings, the type of filter, and the way you pour the water over the coffee can all affect the outcome.
Image: Coffee Gator
3. FILTER TO BREW
Add coarse coffee grinds to a French Press, add hot water and let it steep for up to 4 minutes and your coffee's done. French Fries aren't French and neither is the French Press. Patented by Milanese designer Attilio Calimani and made in a clarinet factory, this device is simple, elegant and effective. It provides a distinct and unique flavour but it's pretty easy to screw up the steeping.
Cold Brew is not cold coffee or iced coffee. Read that again so it sinks in. It's probably one of the simplest methods, but it takes time, from 14 to 24 hours. And just like all things that take more time, the results are brilliant, a low acidity coffee that has no bitterness. It's what all self-respecting cafes serve over summer, Pricey though, needs more coffee and time. Coarse ground coffee mixed in with water in a 1:8 ratio left to steep for at least 12 hours and strained with a muslin cloth. Stays fresh for up to two weeks in your refrigerator. The Japanese have made it convenient too with the Hario Mizudashi with more exotic options like the Yama!
Image: Hario Mizudashi
The Final Word
I've only covered a few methods here and some of the equipment out there to brew your coffee. In the end, coffee is a deeply personal experience and even with each of the methods, there is scope to be adventurous and try to refine the coffee to your taste. So go ahead and enjoy! Just remember to Brew it Yourself!
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