Coffee 101, Part Five

The Brewing

WOW, so many ways to brew coffee. The brewing is what gets the roasted beans into liquid form suitable for filling a cup and imparting that first sip of liquid goodness. Brewing takes equipment and so many kinds. It is truly mind boggling to think of all the types of equipment, so we won’t, at least not here.

Brewing methods range from the primitive, dumping rough ground beans into a pot of water and waiting until it boils over, adding eggshells to settle the grounds (cowboy coffee) to high tech coffee machines with coffee pods, no muss no fuss.

Coffee 101, Part Five

Pour Over Brewing is otherwise known as Brew and Filter. There are several ways to do this. Filters can be paper, unbleached paper filters are best but then they are thrown away after use. Paper filters can be thick or thin. Cloth filters, otherwise known as sock filters, are reusable and can last for a long time, 2 months to 2 years, with proper maintenance.

Pour Over Brewing can be done with both hot and cold water.

Cold brew, meaning done with cold water, prevents the extraction of acid containing oils from the coffee grounds, therefore, lessening the chance for potential stomach irritation. Other compounds destroyed by using hot water are preserved resulting in a very different coffee taste.

Cold brew methods are steeping(immersion) and the cold drip. The steeping version takes from 12 to 24 hours of immersion. Not helpful if you really need that cup of coffee NOW. This is a good method for creating a stash of cold brewed coffee. The Drip method is a much shorter time frame and once the water has filtered through the coffee grounds to the cup you have your cup of coffee.

Cold brewed coffee is easily made at home with the filter sock or as of 1964 with equipment called the TODDY a cold brewing device invented by Todd Simpson.

Pressed coffee means what? It is a plunger type of device invented by Paolini Ugo and patented by Italian designers Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta in 1929. It means exactly what it says, PRESSED, as in compressed coffee grounds. Use coarse ground coffee placed in the ‘press’. Add boiling water. The ground beans act like little sponges during the steeping soaking up the water and slowly releasing flavor. Finely ground coffee tends to ‘over-extract’ and causes bitterness. When a ‘foam’ forms at the top, between 3 – 4 minutes, it is time to push the plunger, which has small holes in it, squeezing out the water of the grounds further releasing the flavor. Again, so many types of equipment. The French Press is the most commonly known

Drip coffee is quite simply that. Coffee grounds are placed in a filter, and hot water is poured over the grounds filling the filter. The coffee is being brewed as it drips into the cup. There are challenges to obtaining an even brew as the water must be evenly applied to the coffee grounds or the flavor infusion will be unbalanced. If you are not picky and all you are looking for is a quick cup of coffee, this might not matter.

Percolator coffee can be stove top or electric. The coffee is typically boiled several times over, leading to major over extraction producing a tarry bitterness. If you choose to use a percolator, perhaps out of sentimentality for times gone by with parents and their morning coffee brewed in a percolator, choose a low acid coffee and grind it even coarser than for the French press. Allow it to perk for no more than 3 minutes.

Ok, now we have determined the different types of brewing it should be noted that there are additional methods that tier of the above mentioned. For instance, Automatic, Set and Forget, coffee makers, are a style of drip brewed coffee, as are the single-serve pod coffee style of brewing. The stove top Moka Pot is a version of a percolator the difference being steam pressure is extracting the flavor from the ground coffee instead of boiling water. The AeroPress makes one cup at a time and is positioned on top of the cup. The coffee is in a filter held within the press itself, and after pouring in the correct amount of boiling water, what your cup will hold, depressing the plunger, the coffee goes directly into the cup. There you have it in a nutshell. Further research will reward you with a host of other variations, such as Turkish coffee, which is a form of steeping, the vacuum form of brewing and the pressure method. The siphon brewer is the gold standard for some coffee connoisseurs.

So many ways to brew a perfect cup of coffee. Let us not forget the ever-present Instant coffee brewing method for people in a real hurry. Experimentation, if you have the time and inclination, will reward you with developing a discerning palate because each method delivers different flavors from the same beans.

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