coffee at home
Coffee Making Methods
There are a variety of ways to make a cup of coffee. It can be as simple as spooning instant powder into hot water or as complicated as the processes that use sophisticated and expensive coffee makers.
Coffee isnt a one-dimensional experience – it is fluid, unique and ever changing with technology and imagination. We’ve listed some of the most common ways to experience the Bean – but this certainly isn’t exhaustive!
1. Home Espresso Machines:
This is likely the method you are most familiar with, as nearly half of the Australian population has a home coffee maker like this. These machines are smaller than the commercial machines found in cafes, but they work on the same principles. If you go to a cafe or espresso bar and ask for an espresso, what you will get is a shot-sized glass holding a small amount of very strong coffee. There are many different types of espresso, including cappuccino, cafe latte and cafe mocha. All are made with one or more shots of espresso. A shot of espresso is made by forcing about 1.5 ounces of hot water through tightly packed, finely ground espresso coffee.
If everything goes well, what comes out is a dark brown, slightly thick liquid with a small amount of crema (a foam, sort of like the head on a beer) on top. There are many variables in the process of making a shot of espresso. The temperature of the water, the pressure of the water, the fineness of the ground coffee and how tightly the coffee is packed are just a few. The skilled espresso maker, or barista, controls all of these variables to produce a quality shot of espresso. The beans are ground very finely — much finer than for drip coffee makers. The consistency is almost like powdered sugar. The more finely the coffee is ground, the slower the espresso comes out. Generally, for the best shot of espresso, it should take about 25 seconds for the water to pass through the coffee. Sometimes the grind is adjusted to control the brewing time.
2. French Press:
Also known as a plunger pot, is another very popular way to make coffee. Your coffee grounds are added directly to a pot of hot water, and after they “steep”, you press down a plunger inside the pot to strain the grounds to the bottom of the pot. It’s another pretty simple way to make coffee, and is a preferred method for those who don’t really make enough coffee to warrant another piece of kitchen equipment.
3. Caffettiera/Moka Pot:
This isn’t actually for making coffee, but rather espresso. These small metal pots have a bottom and top section, with a cup between them to hold the coffee grounds. Water is placed in the bottom, then the filter cup and top chamber are screwed on. When placed on a heat source, the water boils and is forced up through the coffee grounds under pressure and the finished espresso accumulates in the top section. A nice option if you don’t want to spend the bucks on an automatic espresso machine.
4. Drip Coffee Makers:
A very common coffee maker in America, the drip coffee makers have started to go out of fashion as the coffee produced is often somewhat inferior to that of a home espresso machine. Coffee grounds are placed in a filter basket inside the machine, and the internal reservoir is filled with water. The machine heats the water and the hot water drips through the grounds into a glass carafe to produce brewed coffee. It’s fairly simple, quick and the machines are inexpensive. It’s the preferred method for offices because the entire process is automatic and requires no skill on your part – although Pod machines are revolutionising this market. Visit www.trypod.com.au for more information on the Trypod system.
Coffee pods are single serve portions of fresh roasted coffee. The coffee is freshly roasted and gound, then enclosed within two sheets of food-grade filter paper. The coffee pod is then hermetically sealed in a foil pouch, which is flushed with nitrogen. The roasting/packing process ensures that the volatile fresh roasted aromas and flavours of the coffee are retained. The pod provides a ready-tamped perfect dose of coffee which simply slips into your current group head, or dedicated pod machine, to create a perfect espresso every time.Visit www.trypod.com.au for more information on the Trypod system.
Though the percolator has fallen out of favour over the years, it’s still used (mainly by older coffee drinkers who have always used one). Admittedly, the coffee is not going to be of the highest quality when brewed with a percolator, but I felt it should still be included since people do use them. A basket of grounds is placed in a kettle, and the water is boiled. The boiling water bubbles up through the grounds, where you can see it in a glass bubble at the top of the percolator. When it gets to the right darkness to your taste, it’s ready.
7. Balancing Siphon:
Now we’re getting into some of the more exotic methods of brewing coffee. These are quite beautiful to look at, but you aren’t likely going to find one in your average kitchen. The device has 2 jars, connected on an elaborate, balanced stand. Coffee grounds go in one jar, and water in the other. The water is heated and it flows over to the jar with the grounds. As the water continues to boil, the water jar eventually empties and the stand then tips to the side and the brewed coffee flows back to the water jar. Follow the link for a more detailed description of how this brewer works. Sounds odd, but it’s really quite elegant.
Like the balancing siphon mentioned above, you’re not that likely going to find an ibrik in your average kitchen. An ibrik is a small metal cup on the end of a fairly long handle, and is a Turkish tool for making coffee. The pot is narrower at the top than at the bottom, which is
an important feature. The cup is filled with water, and a spoon of finely ground coffee is added on top. The powdered coffee “caps” the water, and as the boiling water bubbles it steeps through the grounds. After the water foams up 3 times, then you know the coffee is done.
9. Vacuum Pot:
A vacuum pot has 2 chambers, a lower one and an upper one, attached together with a filter. Water goes in the bottom, and coffee grounds in the top. It’s placed on a heat source, and as the water heats up, it is forced upwards to mix with the coffee grounds. When the pot is removed from the heat, the cooling lower chamber than sucks all the brewed coffee back down through the filter (which keeps the coffee grounds in the top). Leaving you with fresh brewed coffee in the lower part of the vacuum pot.