Regardless of the method you choose to brew the coffee, the principles remain the same. In order for coffee to taste it’s best, there are at least 5 rules that a brewer should follow. Mark Prince of CoffeeGeek.com calls the following guidelines the “Holy Grail of Coffeemakers”:
Having coffee that is ground fresh and to the correct size for the brewing method of choice is cornerstone to making a great cup of coffee. We recommend burr grinders because they cut the beans into evenly-sized particles, as opposed to the whirling-blade method, which yields grounds that have been chopped to a spectrum of different sizes.
In order for each of these methods to work well, the “Holy Grail” mentioned in brewing methods above, must be followed. Should the coffee being prepared in these methods not be consumed immediately, we recommend that it be stored in a thermally insulated container.
The Chemex Brewer was invented by a chemist to improve filter-type brewing. The Chemex brand filters are cornerstone to the process: they are 20-30% heavier than any other filter, and effectively allow the positive aromatic compounds to pass while holding back the sediment. These filters brew 1-2 minutes slower than normal paper filters, which allows for a more appropriate time for the grounds to be steeped. Another wonderful feature of the Chemex is how easy it is to clean. The glass does not hold onto rancid coffee oils like plastic can, and the ability to see every step of the process is simply elegant. Chemex filters must be used for this process, any other filter will tear.
The brewing method that we call the French Press has been in use since the 1850s. It is a filterless method that allows for the coffee to be in direct contact with the water for a longer amount of time than most other methods. Because of this, many more of the rich coffee flavors end up in the cup, as the coffee oils do not get trapped by a paper filter on the way out. The coffee also feels heavier because more sediment makes it’s way through the mesh screen. A courser grind will minimize the amount of sediment in the cup, and also allow for an easier push of the plunger.
Melitta Bentz obtained a patent for this drip-brew coffee making method in 1908. This method is the simplest and cheapest way to brew a quick cup of great tasting coffee. The paper filter captures the coffee oils and “brightens” the flavor of the coffee. It is also easy to clean, and brewing one cup at a time minimizes waste
* one gram weight equals one milliliter volume
Stovetop Espresso / Moka pot
Alfonso Bialetti obtained a patent for this stovetop espresso maker in 1933. It uses pressurized steam to brew the coffee, and is most commonly used in Europe. We recommend preheating the water to prevent cooking the grounds before the water gets to a boil. This is also a filterless method, and the grind size should not be too fine because of the pore size of the metal screen. The rubber gasket should be replaced from time to time, and as with every method of brewing, the coffee will taste best if the moka pot is kept clean.
The AeroPress comes from the Aerobie company, and is a fabulous way to make coffee on the go. By allowing for the grounds and water to steep in a manner similar to the French Press, but then filtering through a paper filter, the coffee tastes rich and sediment free. It is extremely easy to clean, light to carry, and consistent. The instructions below are different from the manufacturers version, we like the results better this way!
Hand built in the Netherlands of parts that can easily be assembled and disassembled, this is the ONLY home-use, automatic drip brewer that brews to the specifications set by the SCAA. The copper heating element allows for the water to reach the proper temperature, the nine-hole sprinkler head allows for proper saturation of grounds, the brew cycle is 5-6 minutes, and it brews directly into a thermally insulated carafe. For those who want a fabulous cup of coffee from an automatic machine, this is the only one we recommend. For those squeamish of the price, a Chemex, French press or one cup dripper makes wonderful coffee, especially since these methods place more control of the brewing process into the hands of the person brewing. The Moccamaster carries a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, and is made of durable, long lasting materials.
With a boiler and grouphead built of marine-grade brass, and a commercial-sized portafilter, Miss Silvia pulls quality shots from a sturdy and stable iron frame that fits elegantly on your kitchen counter. The 12-ounce boiler has great steaming capacity, and the steam wand is built in a traditional style. A tunable OPV valve allows the machine operator to change the brewing pressure exerted. Basic home maintenance for Miss Silvia includes keeping the water reservoir filled with filtered water, cleaning the group and using decalcifiers (backflushing is not recommended), removing the shower screens for cleaning, and cleaning the drip tray. Perfect shots of espresso require fresh roasted, and freshly ground coffee. The fineness of the grind can vary based on humidity and temperature outside, so having a good grinder on hand is necessary. The portafilter should be hot, so keep it locked into the group while the machine is heating up, and before tamped, the coffee grounds should completely fill the basket. Because this machine has a single boiler, and freshness of the espresso shot is important, we recommend steaming the milk first, and then pulling the shot. It is much easier for the machine to cool from 212o F to 204o F than it is for it to heat in the opposite direction. This machine comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty on parts. TMF is a certified repair facility for these machines.
Pulling a shot