There are numerous ways to brew a cup of coffee, from a basic Mr. Coffee pot, to a V60, to the elaborate set up of the Syphon. How do they all work and what different aspects do they offer? Let’s explore several different brew methods and what they each bring to your cup of coffee.
This cone-shaped brewer is a highly rated pour over method. The process for brewing one cup of coffee is not difficult, but can be very involved, requiring attention and care for that perfect cup. The brew time for one cup is about 3 minutes, as the coffee ‘blooms’ for about 30 seconds, and then moving onto the circular pouring motion for the rest of the extraction, about 2 ½ minutes. If left unattended, the coffee can over extract, resulting in a bitter cup. But if the pouring is carefully monitored, the result can be quite marvelous. An outstanding characteristic of pour overs is that they yield incredibly ‘clean’ cups of coffee, filtering out almost all traces of coffee particles and oils. This allows for subtle flavor notes to become far more apparent than with, say, a French Press.
The Hario V60 Pour Over has been around since 1921. In the beginning, the company offered the brewer in ceramic and glass, later moving on to plastic and finally, metal. The later models made the brewer more accessible to a wider range of people as it became more easily portable.
The French Press is one of the simplest ways to brew a nice, strong cup of coffee. Unlike a pour over with a paper filter, the French Press does not trap the coffee’s oils, and can sometimes have grounds or coffee sediment that slips into the cup of coffee. This is appealing to some folks, but it makes it a little more difficult for the coffee to show all of its various flavor notes. As mentioned above, pour overs require time and attention. French presses, while they take about the same amount of time as most pour overs, demand far less involvement. Once the coffee has ‘bloomed’ and the remaining water has been poured, the coffee may be left to steep for 3-4 minutes, merely requiring one or two stirs to agitate the grounds to enhance flavor.
The Aeropress is a sort of combination of a French Press and a Pour Over, leaning more toward the Pour Over. The coffee steeps inside the cylinder-shaped device as in a French press for about 1 ½- 2 minutes. Then pressing the coffee through a paper filter (like many pour overs), the final product is a very clean cup of coffee as most of the oils are unable to pass through the filter. This allows for the subtle flavor notes of the coffee to be more identifiable. If you prefer something along the lines of ‘cowboy coffee’, oily and gritty, this brewer is probably not for you. However, if you are interested in finding the hidden characteristics in each coffee you try, this could be a great choice.
The Aeropress was invented in 2005 by Aerobie President, Alan Adler, inventor of aerodynamic toys such as flying rings and discs and footballs with fins. The Aeropress is very compact, making it a terrific option for camping or road trips. The current model is made of polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer that is BPA-free. It is durable, and doesn’t take up much space. However it should be noted that this brewer is not meant to make large quantities of coffee. One or two at a time, no problem. But trying to offer coffee to a large group with an Aeropress would prove more trouble then it would be worth.