COMBI BREWING METHODS
1- ESPRESSO MACHINE
Today they come in various shapes and sizes, with loads of features and gimmicks. Don’t get confused by flash machines though because the basics are the same: pressurized water is pushed through a chamber/puck of finely ground coffee beans, through a filter, resulting in what we call a shot of espresso.
Are they expensive? Yes and no – you can spend as little or as much as you want. Warning: choosing one can be overwhelming. You need to decide what type of espresso machine you want – but luckily we’ve have buying guides for each. You have home based semi-automatic machines, fully automatic machines, manual lever machines smaller portable espresso makers or if you are a cafe- commercial machines.
For the more artisanal inclined…or old fashioned….a lever espresso machine, that’s pumped with your hand, is a great way to brew exceptional coffee. For those who like it all done for them (“I just want a damn coffee and I don’t want to move”), super automatic espresso machines like these ones are a great option (although expensive).
What To Expect
Time: from Bean > Brew: It depends on your machine. A commercial machine may need 15-40 minutes to warm up, and a home-based machine may take only 3 minutes. Once warm, however, you’ll have your fix in 20-30 seconds.
Type of grind required: You’ll need a fine, consistent grind. Here’s a trick of the trade: (1) pinch your grind and observe what happens (it should clump in your fingertips). Too coarse and it won’t clump at all, too fine and it will clump excessively.
Resulting brew: A shot of espresso, when done right, is strong, sharp and full of flavor. You can then add hot water to turn it into a americano or froth some milk to make a milk based coffee.
Skill level required: It all depends on your machine – some will make a great shot almost automatically, others (the more commercial, manual types) will require a high level or skill, hence the need for barista schools. Here’s a guide to get you started: how to use an espresso machine. For best results; use a good tamper and espresso beans
BEST SUITED FOR YOU: If you like a milky brew (e.g. a latte) or if you’re the type that likes a quick and sharp hit of caffeine. Espresso’s are unique – no other machine can replicate a nice espresso shot.
NOT SO GREAT FOR: If you prefer a subtle tasting brew, if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a coffee maker, or don’t have space for a machine (perhaps you travel often?), an espresso machine will just be extra baggage in your life.
The AeroPress has a cult following among the traveling coffee community, and it looks more like a science project rather than a coffee brewer. But if you ask us; it’s the best thing that happened to coffee. And many people say it brews the best coffee they’ve ever tasted.
Keeping s**t simple is the name of the game; the right water temperature, the right level of air pressure and the right size grind leaves you with an excellent tasting brew in a matter of minutes! (Seriously, it’s one of the fastest coffee makers you can get your mitts on.) And many people say it brews the best coffee they’ve ever tasted.
When you buy an AeroPress you buy a simple 3 piece tool that will allow you to create awesome coffee with minimal effort. The best thing about this device is, it can make regular coffee, cold brew coffee, and it can even make almost make espresso.
What To Expect
Time: from Bean > Brew: There are a few ways to make a coffee Aeropress style, but if you’re in a rush, it can be done in 60 seconds once your water is hot enough. It’s worth mentioning here too that cleanup is a dream.
Type of grind required: Here’s the cool part – it does not matter! You’ll get a different result based on your grind, so you should choose the right grind size based on your mood! Kaffeologie has an excellent guide to Aeropress grind settings right here.
Resulting brew: Beautiful in color and taste. It’s more of a ‘clean’ tasting coffee (different from the French press or Moka pot). If we were to describe it in 4 words: Smooth, Rich, Pure and Fast (that may or may not be the Aeropress slogan)
Skill level required: Even your cat could use it – it’s that easy to use. Don’t get lazy though, once you master the regular Aeropress brew, you can start trying other methods and techniques of brewing.
BEST SUITED FOR YOU: If you’re a traveler or just someone who appreciates a quick, clean and great tasting coffee. Or perhaps you love camping? The AeroPress ticks all the boxes. Dont forget to try the inverted method.
NOT SO GREAT FOR YOU: We may sound biased in saying this, but everyone should own an Aeropress (everyone that drinks coffee, that is). If you don’t like the idea of wastage and using paper filters, then perhaps it’s not right for you.
3- FRENCH PRESS
The French press is the unofficial mascot of home brewed coffee; it’s been steeping coffee in households since before your grandparents were born, and it has a very loyal, cult following among the home barista community.
It’s likely thanks to multiple reasons, but our money is on the fact that its super easy to use, can be picked up for pocket change (almost) and produces a brew with a distinct taste and feel like no other method.
If you’re into the French Press use the right coffee grind as this little known but super common mistake taints French Press coffee all over the world. Here’s a detailed guide on how to use a French Press.
What To Expect
Time: from Bean > Brew: It’s not super quick, but not super slow either. From (almost) boiling the water, to steeping and plunging, you’ll need about 10 or so minutes. While steeping, however, your French press will need your undivided attention.
Type of grind required: A course grind is the only way to go. Too fine a grind means you’ll have particles stuck in the filter and passing into the finished brew, adding to over-steeping and leaving you with a bitter mess.
Resulting brew: A unique, non-harsh aromatic coffee that’s full of flavor, particular to your beans. It will, however, be a little sediment-y, so avoid drinking the last few sips of each cup
Skill level required: Making a French press is an easy task. Making the perfect French press is a little harder. All-in-all, if you follow a very clear set of instructions, such as these, you’ll get what you’re looking for, no problems.
BEST SUITED FOR YOU: If you love the unique brew you get from a French Press, or if you have a lot of caffeine fiends to fix up (e.g. a full household)
NOT SO GREAT FOR YOU: If you’re a frequent traveler – they are made from glass (most of the time – stainless steel options are available).
4- HARIO V60
I’ll be honest: when I first got my V60 dripper I didn’t have too much faith in it – it just seemed so simple compared to other pour over coffee brewing systems. That week I learned never to make assumptions.
The Hario v60 is a simple yet brilliant way to brew coffee – its small and light, meaning you can take it just about anywhere, and it makes a damn good cup of joe. It’s simple, portable, and it works – what else do you need?
Yes, it looks simple as all hell, but the innovation of this little dripper is in its unique designed cone dripping system – it has a large hole at the bottom funneled by spiral ribs on the side.
Throw in your paper filter, your grounds and away you go. Like most pour over methods there is a technique to getting the perfect brew, but after a few runs, you’ll have it nailed. In this walkthrough, we give you some pointers on V60 brewing technique.
What To Expect
Time: from Bean > Brew: 30 seconds to bloom and 3 minutes to pour means you’ll be sinking that coffee in less than 5 minutes. Tight.
Type of grind required: Medium-fine will do the trick
Resulting brew: Expect a rich flavored brew (taste those coffee beans) with no signs of bitterness. A refreshing cup of coffee.
Skill level required: The process is very straightforward. Be aware that there is room for error depending on how you pour. The advantage of this is you get complete control over your brew, meaning you can customize your coffee for taste if you’re feeling adventurous.
BEST SUITED FOR YOU: If you move around often (camping or backpacking) but don’t want to be caught high and dry and forced to drink instant on the road. At 2.94 ounces the V60 is featherweight a great addition to any coffee fanatics brew kit. Perfect for when you want a quick drip style coffee in the morning.
5- COLD DRIP BREWING
If you haven’t heard of cold drip coffee you must be new to this game, or, you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few years. Cold brew is one of the most popular caffeine infused innovations of our time – and no, we are not talking about iced coffee.
In a nutshell, it’s made by slowly dripping cold filtered water through your fresh grinds for a long period – often 10 hours or more. You can do it with a cold brew coffee maker , or just a mason jar to make your own.
Is it just like hot coffee, but cold? Hell no. In the end, your patience will be rewarded with a strong, intense, unique tasting coffee with a super smooth finish – no acidity or bitterness. There’s no need to ‘enhance’ the flavor with milk or sweeteners, meaning you can taste the real origins of the coffee bean and where it comes from.
Our personal favorite part of cold brewed coffee – it stays fresh for up to 2 weeks, so fill up a few old jars in the fridge and with one cycle you’ll stay happily caffeinated on great-damn-tasting coffee for days.
What To Expect
Time: from Bean > Brew: 10-24 hours. Patience is a virtue.
Type of grind required: Coarse – think thick sand
Resulting brew: It’s a strong and intense flavored brew, but without any form of bitterness. The full flavors of the coffee bean will be on display. Best of all, its got a super smooth aftertaste.
Skill level required: Just get the grind right, set up your cold dripper as it was intended and you’re good to go.
BEST SUITED FOR YOU: If you live somewhere hot (you need this.) Its also an excellent option for anyone who experiences the typical sharp peak and crash from a standard coffee. Cold drip coffee gives you the caffeine high without the crash – keeping you mentally alert, yet calm.
NOT SO GREAT FOR YOU: If you’re an impatient bastard. Its slooooow.
6- Nitrous Coffee (nitro cold brew)
Derived from cold brew coffee, nitro coffee is the newest kid on the block in the coffee world, and you can expect to hear a lot more about it in 2016 and beyond.
As the name suggests, its’ (cold brewed) coffee, pumped full of Nitrogen, which affects the taste and the texture, in a very, very nice way. The result is similar to a cold brew coffee but crisper, a little sweeter and it looks like a pint of Guinness (yes, its got head like a beer).
So how do you get your mitts around some?
But, if you’re the type that likes to do things yourself you can pick up a home-dispensing system and start brewing in your garage!
What To Expect
Time: from Bean > Brew: If you’re looking at making your own, you’ll first need to brew cold brew (and you’ll need more than a few cups) which can take days or even weeks depending on your system. Once you have your cold brew and your system set up – it’s like pouring a beer – its instant.
Type of grind required: See cold brew.
Resulting brew: A crisp, light, and creamy drink which almost looks like a frothy beer. The already high cold brew caffeine levels, combined with the nitrogen (which may absorb caffeine into your bloodstream faster) means it packs a serious energy punch.
Skill level required: Setting up a home system and perfecting the pour will be tricky
BEST SUITED FOR YOU: If you like cold brew (you’ll LOVE this)
NOT SO GREAT FOR YOU: If you like hot, flat coffee.
|Brew Method||Quick Recommendation|
Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda,
Guatemala, PNG. Colombia
Colombia, PNG, some African coffees
(although Ethiopian beans may be too fruity)
Blends - try Mocha, Espresso, Barista
Single Origins - try Colombia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Guatemala, PNG,
(black - no milk)
Blends - 8 Ounces, Suuweet, Barista
Single Origins - Brazil, Sumatrans, Colombian, Rwanda, Panama, Kenya and some Ethiopians (fruity)
Blends - Centre Way, Suuweet, Espresso, Barista and Mocha
Single Origins - Generally speaking, most origins will work OK so long as you know how to dial in your grinder and dosing.
Guatemala, Colombia, PNG, Costa Rica and El Salvador are all excellent choices.