Which Is the Best Brewing Method for Coffee?
Updated: Oct 20
On the one hand, we have caffeine-addicted espresso nuts, and on the other, we have drip coffee aficionados.
On the third hand, there are the Moka pot lovers, and on the fourth, the French press plungers!
Which is the Best Brewing Method for Coffee?
There are a lot of different brewing methods, and every brewing method has a loyal fan base. So what is the best brewing method for coffee?
The truth is that it all comes down to personal choice.
No brewing method is better or worse than the others; it’s different.
One common thing to all brewing methods is that roasted coffee beans are ground into a powder. And then, hot water is added to the mixture in different ways.
Of course, there’s also cold brewing, which doesn’t use hot water.
The water extracts the flavors from the coffee, but the timing has to be right; otherwise, it will extract the bitter flavors and result in a bad-tasting coffee.
Brewing great coffee is about being precise and consistent.
This article will focus mainly on espresso, as it is the method I love and have the most experience with.
Espresso, to me, is on the top of the hip of brewing methods. An espresso machine pushes hot water under pressure over finely ground coffee beans.
Brewing a shot of espresso is a mixture of science and art. Espresso represents a coffee culture that has spread throughout the world.
A shot of espresso differs from any other brewing method. With a thick, silky texture, concentrated flavors, caffeine, and It contains more suspended solids and nutrients.
On top of the espresso shot is the crema. A layer of emulsified oils covers the coffee like a blanket and does not form by any other method.
Every barista does it their way; there is no standard for pulling the perfect shot.
For a shot of espresso, we need 7-9 grams of coffee grounds packed tightly in the basket.
The espresso machine heats the water just short of boiling. Pushing the brew button sends 10 bars of pressure on the water through the coffee. For about 20-25 seconds, the single shot is ready.
When making a double shot, you need to prorate the amount of coffee and the time.
Start brewing by turning on the machine. Check that there are enough coffee beans in the grinder and enough water in the espresso machine by looking at the sight glass.
That indicates the water level, and lastly, Clean the group head screen.
Start by detaching the porta-filter from the last brew from the machine. Clean up the porta-filter and the basket, and prepare it for the next drink.
Get the porta-filter under the grinder.
Check that the grind setting is correct. Place 7-9 grams of freshly ground coffee beans packed in tightly in the basket.
Use the tamper, press the coffee well, and mount the porta-filter to the group head.
When you notice that the brewing light has gone off, the water has reached its temperature, and you’re good to go.
Press the brew button and watch the rich, thick brew dripping, creating your espresso shot.
You insert the steam wand, almost the steamer’s button, to start frothing. Open the steam valve most of the way. Keep the steam wand like that for a few seconds. Until the bottom of the steamer feels warm to the touch.
Lower the steamer away from the wand until the wand is just below the milk surface. Keep it there while it begins to froth and when you hear a hissing sound.
When the frothing is done, insert the wand into the milk and turn the steam down. Let the milk steam, and in a few seconds, there will be a rise in volume.
When you see a gentle smooth foam forming, it has reached the steamer’s rim. Close the steam valve and give the steamer a few swivels to Make the foam more consistent. It’s ready to pour on the espresso.
How to Ensure the Perfect Espresso?
Adjusting the grind, dosage, and tamping pressure can produce the ideal shot.
The crema on the surface of the coffee is an excellent way to find out if your cup of espresso is perfect or not.
Suppose the crema is more white than brown. You under-extracted your coffee, and it needs a finer grind and/or a more firm tamping.
Suppose the crema is burnt or is very dark in the middle. You over-extracted the coffee.
It’s possible that the grind was too fine, the dose too large, the tamping too hard, or too much water was run through the coffee.
Remember that it will take some time to master the art of brewing espresso.
Espresso also forms the base for other popular coffee drinks such as the cappuccino, latte, Americano, macchiato, and more.
These drinks are made by adding frothed milk to the espresso shot.
Each drink varies in how the milk is added to the shot and the ratio used.
Here are some examples:
Macchiato: one part of espresso with a thin layer of microfoam.
Cappuccino: one part espresso, one part steamed milk, and one part microfoam.
Americano: one part espresso, two parts hot water.
Latte: one part espresso, three parts steamed milk, and a thick layer of microfoam.
Cortado: one part espresso, one part steamed milk.
Flat white: one part espresso, two parts steamed milk, and a thin layer of microfoam.
There are more variations of drinks made by using espresso coffee by adding different things to it.
Flavored coffees can be made by adding syrups of different flavors. Spices can also be added to enhance the flavor. For example, cappuccino is often served with cinnamon spice.