Earlier in the week, we posted about inexpensive brewing methods and invited the readers of this blog to join our conversation. Some who responded offered to share their insights on coffee brewing with other coffee lovers.
J.W. from Helena, MT wrote:
I heat 16 oz. of water to a boil in an electric kettle, and allow it to sit for a minute or so to cool to 195° - 200°F. When the water begins to boil, I grind my beans. Depending on the variety and roast level, I use 25-29 gr. whole beans. I may adjust the weight after I try my first brew. Usually, my Vienna roasts and lighter trend toward the higher weight. I grind my beans finer than most French press recipes suggest. I set my Baratza Maestro Plus to a setting of 26. I attached a pic of the ground coffee. The idea is to extract a good amount of flavor and aroma without too much sediment or any bitterness. I gently pour the water over the grounds and let the bloom sit for one minute. Then, I gently stir the coffee and let it steep for three minutes. Anyway, I'm just sharing my approach, and every method is good if it produces a good cup of coffee!
L.S. from Philadelphia, PA, spoke to us. He's a full time college student, works nights in a restaurant and is the father of an adorable baby girl. He really needs that first cup of coffee to get to those early morning classes. He usually orders dark-roasted organic coffee, like Organic Brazil de Fatima, ground fine, and sets up his morning coffee the night before in a programmable drip-style brewer. Assuming the baby doesn't get him up early, he wakes up to the smell of brewing coffee.
W. M. from Olathe, KS, showed us how he brews coffee. He also uses a French Press, but prefers his coffee ground coarser than the coarsest setting on his home grinder. He grinds more coffee than he'll need to brew and runs it through a sieve. The fines fall through and what's left in the sieve is the right amount to put in the press. After he's enjoyed that coffee, he adds the fines to the pot and brews again, ending up with two pots of coffee of coffee he enjoys out of slightly more than one pot worth of beans. His current favorite coffees are Kona Pahala and Natural Ethiopia Lake Abaya.
All the above methods are for filter/press brewed coffee. C.M. from Hamburg, Germany, uses her Moka Pot to brew a very strong cup of coffee (she's partial to Espresso Trieste 1948) that's in-between espresso and a filter/press brew in intensity and experience. Here’s what she wrote about her brewing process:
My Quick Morning Moka Pot (Brew Time about 10 minutes)
1. Fill the bottom of the Moka Pot with cold water to just below the bottom of the pressure release valve.
2. Place the empty filter into the pot's base. (If water rises up through the holes, you have too much water in the base, and you need to tip a bit out.)
3. Grind the amount of coffee you need (dependent on the size of the Moka pot) to fill the empty filter to the top with fine/espresso grind coffee. Do not pack the coffee. The grounds should be smooth and loose on top.
4. Secure the top of the Moka Pot onto the base. (Make sure it is firmly screwed on, as steam will leak out and not percolate through your coffee if it is loose.)
5. Put the prepared Moka Pot onto the stove and turn the heat to high. (I have an electric stovetop, so I turn the heat to level 8, on a range of 1-9).
6. Allow the water to heat, steam to form and soak the grinds, and the coffee to begin to percolate. This takes a few minutes, and as watched water never boils, I tend to go brush my teeth.
7. Turn the heat down to medium-low as soon as the creme rises and coffee begins to fall into the brew basin/top. (I turn my dial down to 3). Tip/trick: You can tell when it's time to turn the heat down by listening as the water comes to temp. The water will make soft bubbling/gurgling sounds as steam forms, but the noise quiets as the steam soaks the grinds. A moment after the pot has gone quiet, the coffee starts to rise up the internal spout. You can lift the lid and watch the creme rise and fall at this point. Caution: If you miss the quiet window and the pot begins to bubble loudly, do not lift the lid, instead turn it down right away. Coffee is brewing quickly at this point and will splash out and maybe burn you if the lid does not remain closed.
8. Allow the coffee to finish brewing by leaving it on medium-low heat until bubbling/gurgling sounds become strong and then taper out. This will take a few minutes as well, exact time depends on when you turned down the heat. (I tend to go open the household curtains and open the blinds on my groggy husband. I'll set our espresso cups and a hot pad out on the dining table.)
9. Turn off the heat and remove the Moka pot from the stovetop immediately/as soon as possible after it's gone quiet. Leaving it on the heat will lead to the brewed coffee beginning to boil, and you don't want to boil your fresh brewed pot! (In my opinion, boiled Moka pot coffee tastes a little strange and little strong, and you lose subtle flavors and aromas.) Caution: everything except the handle and lid grip will be very hot. Be careful not to brush it against yourself and use a kitchen mitt if you want to carry the pot with two hands. Place it onto a hot pad, as the bottom is also very hot.
10. Give the Moka pot a moment to settle, then pour into your espresso cup or coffee drinking mug of choice. Allow it to cool to pleasant drinking temperature and ENJOY!
Additional Note: I usually drink coffee black as a pseudo-espresso in an espresso cup. It takes cream and sugar very well. I've also added it to hot and cold milky drinks for variations of lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, etc. It also cuts with hot water for a lovely Americano.
J.W. is right. The most important part of brewing coffee is not the method used, but the coffee it produces. Any method that produces a good cup of coffee is good. The best method is the one that produces the coffee you like best!
Thanks to everyone who shared their coffee brewing secrets! We'd love to hear from the rest of you. Please join the conversation and share your thoughts on the Facebook thread or in a comment on this blog. Or, if you'd like to share your opinions with the wider world, leave us a coffee review on Google or on your favorite review site. Not only do we value your opinions, but reviews help more people find us. Help us connect coffee lovers to fresh, quality coffee!
~ Carrie, Paul and all of us at Coffee by the Roast