Want to improve the coffee you make at home? The first thing to do is to invest in better coffee. The second thing is to pick the perfect method for your needs.
Here we’ll go over all the best methods for you to consider. And you can learn more on how to make coffee at home here.
How to choose a coffee method
Different methods of preparing coffee will produce different flavours, largely regarding how smooth or bitter the results are. But there are other things to bear in mind too, like:
- Time. How long do you want to spend preparing coffee in the morning? If you have plenty of time and patience, maybe go for the pour over method. If not, perhaps let the moka pot do the work while you get dressed in the morning.
- Amount. Many of the methods below are great for making one cup, but less so if there are other coffee drinkers to think about. A French press may not make the best tasting coffee, but a large one will make a lot of it very quickly.
- Size of grounds. A good coffee grinder should be able to produce grounds of all sizes from fine to coarse, but if you’re buying pre-ground, the size of the grounds will be better suited to some methods than others. Finer grounds are great for quicker methods, for example, while coarser grounds are generally better for steeping.
- Cost. Different methods require different tools and some of those tools are expensive. A home espresso machine is great if you can afford it, but it won’t make much difference unless you’re also investing
The pour over method is one of the best known ways of making coffee. If you don’t already know, it’s as simple as it sounds. Essentially, you’re just putting ground coffee beans into a filter and slowly pouring water through it into the cup or pot below. The advantage of this method is that the coffee grounds are constantly being exposed to fresh water, which means there’s little time for the water to draw out the coffee’s bitterness. It requires some patience, but the resulting cup of coffee will be smoother and less bitter than other methods.
You will need medium-fine ground coffee, hot water (about 30 seconds off the boil so you don’t burn the grounds), a coffee filter, a dripper (or coffee filter holder), and a cup or coffee pot that the dripper can comfortably stand-on.
- Place the filter in the dripper and fill it about half to two-thirds with the ground coffee. Put the dripper over the cup or coffee pot.
- Slowly pour the hot water over the coffee until it almost reaches the top of the filter or dripper (whichever is lowest). Allow 30 seconds or so for the ground coffee to swell.
- Pour more water evenly over the surface of the coffee and allow some time for it to drip through. Repeat this step in bursts until you’ve made the desired amount of coffee. (Note that the water will continue to drip through for up to a minute after the final pour.)
A French press means steeping the coffee grounds in hot water before pressing them down to the bottom of the pot so that the filtered coffee remains on top. It’s a very quick and easy way to prepare coffee and, unlike many other methods on this list, makes enough for multiple people. The downside is that a misstep or two can result in a bitter and bitty brew, so follow these instructions carefully.
You will need coarse ground coffee, hot water (about a minute off the boil so you don’t burn the grounds), a spoon for stirring, and, of course, a French press.
- Put about 2 tablespoons per serving of coffee grounds into the French press.
- Pour the hot water over the coffee grounds.
- Stir the grounds and water together. (People often skip this step but it will help make a smoother-tasting brew.)
- Steep the coffee grounds for 3 to 4 minutes before pressing the filter down to the bottom.
If you take your coffee very seriously and get through a lot of it, you might want to think about investing in an espresso machine. Yes, like baristas use in cafes, but for your home.
An espresso machine won’t necessarily make a better brew, but what it will do is let you essentially scale the production of individual cups of coffee. But if you’re just looking for a way to make one good cup of coffee for yourself in the morning, they’re not worth it.
Machines differ, so we’ll skip going over the process here. If you’ve bought one, we’ll refer you to the instruction booklet in the box instead.
A moka pot is a quick and easy way to prepare coffee over the stove. It works by boiling water in its bottom chamber, which pushes it up through the coffee grounds in the middle, resulting in a smooth-tasting brew in the top chamber.
You will need fine ground coffee, water, and a moka pot.
- Pour water into the bottom chamber of the moka pot until level with the valve.
- Place the funnel on top of the bottom chamber and fill with the desired amount of coffee grounds. Pat the grounds level and clear any excess from the rim of the funnel.
- Screw on the spout (the upper chamber of the moka pot).
- Place the moka pot on the stove over medium heat. Be careful not to expose the handle to the flame.
- When you hear a hissing sound, this means the coffee is ready. Turn off the heat, let the pot sit for a minute, and then pour.
The Aeropress is a device that brews coffee in a vacuum in order to extract maximum flavour from the coffee grounds. It seems a little complicated at first, but after a little practice, you’ll be able to make a great couple of coffee in just a couple of minutes.
You will need medium-fine ground coffee, hot water (about a minute off the boil), an Aeropress, and the various accoutrements that come with the Aeropress, including the stirring paddle and filter paper.
- Insert the Aeropress inner tube (the plunger) into the outer tube. Stand it on the plunger end, fully extended so that the black vacuum seal lines up with the number 4 marked on the side of the Aeropress.
- Put about 2 tablespoons of coffee into the Aeropress, then pour over the hot water until the water level reaches the number 1 on the side.
- Stir the brew and then let it steep for 1 minute.
- Place a piece of filter paper in the Aeropress filter holder, then rinse it with some of the hot water over the sink (this will ensure the filter paper doesn’t affect the flavour of the coffee), before screwing the filter holder onto the Aeropress.
- Place your cup upside down on top of the Aeropress, then carefully turn the whole stack so that the Aeropress is on top of the cup.
- Press down on the plunger until the brew has been fully extracted into the cup.
Cold brew is a way of making iced coffee without the bitterness. All you have to do is let the coffee steep in cold water instead of hot water. The downside is that you need to steep it for much longer. Hours longer.
You will need 1 cup of coarse ground coffee to every 4 cups of cold water, a pitcher or large jar, a spoon for stirring, and a strainer.
- Combine the coffee and water in your pitcher or large jar and stir together.
- Steep the coffee for about 12 hours overnight. (It doesn’t matter if you do this in the refrigerator or at room temperature on the counter.)
- Strain the coffee into a cup or coffee pot in the morning.
- Add ice (optional).