A Coffee Maker ”Know-It-All”

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Coffee: the thing most people get up in the morning for, or maybe… because of. And they can’t be blamed. The truth is, coffee is one of the best discoveries men have ever made, because of all its amazing qualities: it is good for your health, it keeps you fresh and alert, and also is a great social binder. Not to mention it is widely available: coffee shops at every corner, any type of restaurant has it, even fast food, your local pastry shop or gas station. Of course, the quality is not the same everywhere you go, but the thing is, whenever, wherever you need it, it’s already there.

But the ultimate luxe of it all is to have it in your own home. Which isn’t particularly easy to achieve, especially if you reach for the best quality there is. Many aspects are important: from the type of coffee beans, you choose to the way you decide to prepare the it. In this article, you will find all the information you need. So, either you are a beginner or just looking for some extra knowledge, you will definitely find this useful. Therefore, first of all: the basics.

Explaining The Coffee Maker

If you are going to be simple and blunt about it, a coffee maker is the device that brews coffee. If that would be all to it, everything would be a lot easier, but also, a lot less fun and interesting. As you might already know, there are many different types of coffee, and for almost each type, there is a different method and device. So, to make things more understandable, let’s break them down into categories. First off, you will want to ask yourself a few questions before making a decision. What is your coffee of choice, usually? Would you prefer an automatic or manual machine?

Automatic vs. Manual

This decision really depends on your desired level of comfort. If you are attracted to the automatic side, you will want to look into drip coffee makers first. These are also divided into simple and complex ones, where you can either control the temperature of the water, but also the carafe, pre-infuse your coffee, automatic timers and many more. Whichever you choose, you will be amazed at how effortless you can achieve a good cup of coffee.

Manual coffee makers are a whole different story. Even though you don’t have the same comfort, you will be drawn into the incredibly laborious but exciting process, similar to chemistry. This is because you need to take care of everything: the temperature of your water, the type of coffee grounds you choose, the grounds-to-water ratio and the amount of time you keep them in contact. Now, depending on your desired drink, you have different options: pour over, french press and cold brew are some of the most popular ones. If you think about choosing manual but you aren’t sure of your skills, try the french press. It is the easiest to use and it will assure you some great flavours in your cup.

How much coffee do you need?

This also depends a lot on your situation. If you want larger quantities in a short amount of time, for yourself to have throughout the day or for guests coming over, the drip coffee maker will have your back. It can brew large pots, in only about 6 to 8 minutes. Talk about efficiency!

On the other hand, if you prefer something small, to drink fresh in the moment, we recommend either the french press, pour over, or cold brew. These methods are also capable of brewing larger quantities, but not as much as the drip and not so quickly.

 What is your desired brew?

Maybe the most important question, and quite simple. Even so, many people might not know the answer, simply because they’ve drank only one kind but never really questioned how it’s called or how it’s made. For reference, here’s a simple guideline:

  • classic: drip coffee maker
  • strong flavour: french press
  • complex flavours: pour over
  • cold, ice coffee: cold brew

Now that we have identified the general matches, let’s explain each method in more detail.

Drip Coffee Maker

The most common way of brewing coffee. A classic. The way this works is that hot water slowly comes in contact with coarse grounds, initiating the extraction. Then, after the water makes its way through the grounds, it leaves through a filter, then into the carafe. There you go!

The French Press

Longing for a rich, full of flavour coffee? You’ve come to the right place. The french press is a quite large, but not very, cylinder, with a built-in strainer, that moves from the top all the way to the bottom, like a syringe. First, you mix the water with the grounds, let them extract the coffee, then you slowly press the strainer all the way to the bottom, separating the grounds from the water and leaving you with an excellent cup of coffee. 

Pour Over

The concept is similar to the drip coffee maker, only that everything is manual. There is a vessel, which has a filter in the shape of a cone on the top. First, you put the grounds in the filter, then you carefully pour the hot water over them. After, you will see the coffee collecting in the vessel. 

Single Serve

These are the basic, no fuss, coffee machines. If you don’t want too much trouble or anything too sophisticated, you’ve found your match. You use them with one capsule or pod at a time, and they will deliver your drink of choice in just a couple minutes. The only downside is that you can only brew one cup at a time, but other than that, they are great!

Cold Brew

Cold brews like ice coffee have gained popularity recently, even becoming a ”cool” tag. The coolest thing about them is that they are extremely easy to make. All you need to do is mix room temperature water with coarse coffee grounds, leave them in the refrigerator for 12 hours, then strain. Nothing easier!

Aeropress

Even though it sounds complex, it is really easy to use. This device combines the principles of the french press and pour over into a simple, no electricity needed, technique. Made from two cylinders, one smaller, fitted into the larger one, you just put the hot water and the grounds in, then plunge the top cylinder, coffee coming out directly into your cup. How convenabile!

Moka Pot

When you first hear about it, you might not recognize the name, but we are almost 100% sure you know what we are talking about. It is the most iconic way to prepare coffee: a stainless steel kettle-shaped device, made of two parts. First, you put the grounds in the built-in filter, then water in the bottom part. After that, you place it on the stove and let the magic happen. The result is a thick and rich coffee, similar to an espresso.

Grounds: A General Guide

One of the big questions in this case is pre-ground, or fresh ground? The truth is, there is a difference, and a big one. Most of us are familiar with the pre-ground coffee we get at the store, which is good, it will get you by. But, if you want true quality coffee, you might want to look into coffee beans and a burr grinder. Of course, some automatic machines come with a built-in grinder, which is more than convenient, but if you got too used to pre-ground, we suggest finding a place that will ground the beans for you. You will need to do it a couple times a week, depending on how much you need, in order to keep them fresh, but we promise it is worth it. The advantages are that you end up with a much more delicious and fresh coffee, as the grounds are still packed with flavour and aroma and didn’t have much time to oxidize.

Another dilemma might be what type of beans to choose, and now we refer to the type, roast and grind levels. Here is a simple, but explanatory description:

Bean type:

  • Arabica: less caffeine, mild, full of aroma
  • Robusta: more caffeine, bitter taste

Roast types:

  • light: light brown color, for mild coffees
  • medium: medium brown color, stronger flavour
  • medium dark: darker color, slightly bittersweet
  • dark: black color, strong bitterness, least acidic

Grind:

  • fine, like powdered sugar: fit for Turkish coffee
  • fine, like table salt: fit for espresso or Aeropress
  • medium, like kosher salt: fit for drip
  • coarse: fit for french press

There you have it! A complete guide for any coffee lover. We hope this article has proven to be useful and has answered the questions you might have had. All in all, we wish you happy brewing! And never forget to appreciate a good cup of coffee.