While there are many ways to brew a cup of coffee each method brings out different qualities in coffee.
The following general rules apply to each coffee making process discussed. It is best to use 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water. The water should not be boiling but be between 195-205 degrees fahrenheit. Filtered water and spring water are recommended as tap water imparts flavours to the coffee.
Some of the more common techniques of brewing coffee include:
This is the most popular way to brew in North America. Drip brewing is simply pouring hot water over grounds in a filter and letting the brew drip out the bottom. Drip brewing is a very good way to brew and can give an excellent cup if the correct equipment is used. A primary issue with autodrip machines is that they don't brew at the right temperature. A good gold-plated reusable filter is a great option for drip brewing as some paper filters will impart a flavour.
While it may be more labor-intensive than autodrip, the brewing variables can be easily and directly controlled. Coarsely ground coffee is placed in the glass carafe, then water at the desired temperature is poured over the grounds and the top is placed on. When brewing is complete, the plunger (a mesh filter on a stick) is pressed down, pressing the grounds to the bottom and leaving the coffee on top to be poured off. The mesh of the filter allows the coffee oils and all those delicious dissolved and undissolved solids through without a problem. A cup of French-pressed coffee with be noticeably fuller, with much more body, and often with more flavor, it will often also have the tell-tale sediment at the bottom of the cup.
The coffee in your daily cappucino. The coffee is finely ground to almost a powdery consistency then almost boiling hot water is forced through the grounds under intense pressure.
This brewing process is timed so that the flavorful and aromatic oils are extracted from the coffee and not the bitter components. The results are a full-flavored, strong but not bitter, concentrated shot of coffee.
Percolating is the procedure that involves continuous brewing of coffee grounds using boiling water. This method, while practical, is not recommended as you are brewing with water that is too hot and the grounds are continuously being over-extracted. This leads to a watery, thin and biter cup of coffee.
*photos courtesy of Google images