Best way to make coffee?
- Sonia Mar 3, 2002 05:43 AM
I'm talking about making your standard, drinkable-around-the-clock coffee. I just use a cone-filter coffeemaker with paper filters for ease. Is there a noticeable difference between paper & gold plate or whatever else is out there? What about the French press method? I've tried this but I really don't like the sediment on the bottom of the cup and the cleaning part sucks too. And the percolator method? How do you make your coffee?
Well you're bound to get some interesting and divergent views on this one. Here's the advice of an admitted coffee fanatic:
Your cone filter method is fine and I don't think there is a major difference paper vs. gold mesh filters. What you have to do is start with fresh quality coffee properly ground for the brewing method.
As for grinding, do it just before brewing. Use a relatively fine grind for the method you're using (for drip method, particle size roughly that of table sugar, or a bit finer).
Water should be very hot; just under boiling point when poured on grounds.
Now, as far as I'm concerned you need coffee that was roasted no more than a week before grinding and brewing. Some gourmet neighborhood coffee shops that roast their own are a good bet. Ask when it was roasted. Forget Starbucks: the coffee in their shops was roasted several weeks prior to purchase
The best solution: home roast your own coffee a day or two before use. Home roasting opens a whole new universs of coffee enjoyment.
This may be more than you wanted to hear but I admitted to being a coffee fanatic.
Sweetmarias.com is a good source of info on home roasting and coffee in general, at least for us fanatics.
Good advice, but I'd skip the home roasting. Buy good coffee in vacuum packs and then store in an air-tight, opaque, hinged-lid container and you're good to go. Make sure to get quality beans and grind just before brewing. Those little coffee grindners are cheap as heck.
Melitta and French press are the best of the easier methods. Percolaters are really cool old-school things, and make good coffee, but they take a while.
I think that it's mainnly an issue of what type of coffee you use, rahter than the type of filter. Try to get your coffee from http://www.frenchmarket.com
Get their PURE COFFEE
It's the best coffee you can get for your buck. Use a bit extra coffee that what you can usually handle, this coffee will not turn bitter or acidic if you make it strong.
I like Honore de Balzac's method:
Consume the freshly ground beans and let the stomach acids do the brewing. From his "Treatise on Modern Stimulants":
"This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army on the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensign to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of wit start up like sharshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder."
Aside from the quality of the coffee you use, for drip coffee-making, the two things that most affect the quality of the brewed coffee are the water temperature and the length of time the coffee and water stay in contact. Older coffee makers don't generally get the water hot enough to extract all the flavor and body from the ground coffee -- some of the newer models have corrected that flaw. Second, you want the water and coffee to stay in contact for a while instead of having the water rush right through the grounds. The "steeping time" also extracts more flavor and body. I think that's the beauty of the french press -- you're actually steeping the coffee for a time before pushing the grounds out. But I agree that it's messy, and the added body takes some getting used to.
Krups has a new model of coffeemaker out that does both of those things (gets the water hot and steeps the coffee) -- I haven't tried it yet, but I'm seriously thinking about getting one, especially since my current Braun model is on its last legs.
Other points: a gold filter will result in coffee with more body but will always allow a little sediment through. So if you want to avoid any sediment, use paper. Also, you should decalcify your coffee machine every couple of months, either with a commercial product like Better Brew, or with a mixture of vinegar and water or citric acid and water.
And finally, don't keep brewed coffee on a heating element -- pour it immediately into a thermal carafe.
re: Janet A. Zimmerman
You can simply use an Melitta portable coffee maker and plug the drain hole with a stopper that is long enough for you to easily grab and pull out from the bottom without burning your fingers,
Just find something that you can use as a stopper.........It could be a rubber stopper. A dowel. The button from a pen that you don't need.
1 Plug the bottom.
2 Insert your filter.
3 Add your coffee grounds.
4 Pour your hot water into the basket and let the grounds steep for a few minutes.
Some experts say that the water should not stay in contact with the grounds for more than 5
minutes or so.
Just judge your time and take into account the amount of time it will take for the water to
drain once you pull the plug out.
If you need to add additional water because of making a larger amount of coffee that what
fit in the basket...........Lessen the steeping time if need be, before pulling the plug, since
you will be pouring additional water in after you pull plug and drain. No plug will be needed
once you drain the first basketful of water.
It's really pretty simple.
You can also do this with an automatic drip coffee maker with and automatic drip STOP once the carafe is pulled out ,
Simply add only enough water that will fill your basket and grounds without overflowing. Keep your carafe slightly pulled out so that your basket stops dripping into the carafe. ( If you need to completely remove your Carafe, turn off the coffee maker) Let the water and grounds steep for a few minutes..........Push your carafe back in place and let the coffee drip. Then add the remainder of your water into your reservoir and turn your coffee maker back on and let it run it's course.
Again, take the additional time the water and grounds will be in contact with one another to avoid and OVER EXTRACTION.
It's really a pretty simple way to make your coffee.
If your coffee maker does not heat the water to HOT ENOUGH.
You can also do this.........Rather than allowing your coffee maker to heat the water........
Add your coffee to the basket as usual.
Heat the water on your stove. Boil it........Then pour it into a measuring cup and let it sit just long enough so that the temperature drops to around 198 degrees like the experts say.
Swing out the basket. (First make sure it's has an AUTOMATIC STOP)
Pour your hot water into the basket just high enough so that it does not overflow. Let it steep.
Push the basket back into place and let it drip and drain.
Swing the basket back out and pour some more HOT Water from the stove into a measuring cup and pour it into the basket and either let it steep some more............or immediately push it back into place and let it drip. Repeat again if additional water is needed for the yield you are making.
It's really much much easier than it seems here. The entire process, whether it's with the Automatic drip maker..........Whether you boil the water yourself or use the coffee maker or using a Melitta portable drip coffee maker, takes less than 10 minutes.
NO MESS like you get from a French Press.
Give it a try.
Bodum/French press is the way to go. Use filtered water, and grind the beans yourself.
This is the golden ratio: 2 Tbs ground coffee to 6 oz water. Steep for four minutes. If the coffee is stronger than you prefer, add hot water to taste. Don't use a lower coffee to water ratio when brewing, or taste will suffer.
re: Lindsay B.
I agree that the French press is the best way to brew coffee and Lindsay is correct in the way she prepares it. You say that you do not like the sediments at the bottom of your cup: that is because your coffee is to fine. Have your coffee ground on the coarsest setting or you can do it yourself, which is ideal.
Doing coffee in a percolator is probably the worst way to brew coffee. You just kill all the qualities your beans might have when using this method!
Enjoy your next cup!!!
re: Lindsay B.
This is the same ratio of coffee grounds to water that Alton Brown mentioned on his "True Brew" episode. My problem is this: how many T of BEANS does this translate to? I don't make coffee at home that often, so I'm not very good at estimating the amount of beans I have to grind. And I think I grind them too fine.
For two 8 oz cups of coffee from my press pot, I have had good success with 4 1/2 heaping tablespoons of whole beans. I have one of those little Krups blade grinders, and grind for approx 5-6 seconds (I actually count in my head). I stir the coffee thoroughly after adding the water, and try not to steep for more than 2 1/2 minutes.
re: katie young
Thanks, Katie. I've been waiting for someone to answer my question! I think I grind the beans too much; Alton Brown ground them for 10-15 seconds, but he was making filter coffee. . . I'm going to try your version tomorrow morning. I, personally, don't have a problem with the way my coffee comes out, but my husband doesn't love it. :-)
re: Lindsay B.
My wife and have had our French press for about 4 months and have yet to use it properly. The coffee always seems to watery. We tried the formula above, 2 T per 6 oz water, quadrupled it, and let it steep an extra minute. Still too watery. Do I need to up the steep time? Could my beans be ground too coarse? Should I try more beans?
Any help would be greatly appreciated -- I've had French press coffee in restaurants and know how fantastic it can be. Thanks!
re: Jason W.
My guess is that you may be slightly too coarse in your grind. Additionally, your water may not be hot enough--should be just below boiling. I boil it and wait about 5 sec after removing from heat before I pour.
After pouring the coffee into the grounds, give it a good stir. Put the cover on the press, but do NOT press down the plunger until 4-5 minutes have elapsed. Believe it or not, I had a friend who would press the pluger immediately and alway wondered why his coffee was so bed.
re: Jason W.
Fellow French Press User ,
I too have had this problem of really weak coffee from freshly ground beans. I found that it was the quality of the beans. I had bought some, 8 oclock Brand, coffee beans, and no matter how much I used, I couldn't get the flavor I wanted. I was at Trader Joes the other day, and found one of their brands called, Double Dark. Let me tell you that this coffee has a kick, and the aroma of the beans after grinding is intense. The beans are very oily, and you may have to experiment with the amount you use for your choice of a perfect cup, but I don't think you'll be disapointed...
I'm not sure if I'm the only person who makes coffee this way, but I use Lavazza Gold espresso and a stove top expresso maker to make the espresso that I then dilute with boiled water for a regular cup of coffee. It has much flavor without the bitterness.
I've also tried the French Press, except with cold water and steeped in the refrigerator over night. I was making a condensed version and then adding hot water to get a regular cup of coffee. This WAS going to be my favorite way as it was amazing how aromatic the coffee was. The reason I stopped was that I suspect that it was causing my skin to break out, for whatever reason.
First - if you have any concerns about taste, use bottled water. Use freshly ground beans, paper filter.
Brew the coffee in a percolator on a gas flame so you can control the brew.
I'm not picky about coffee, but my wife is. She makes it the same way as you--and swears by it--even when she makes coffee for a crowd. I had a Braun coffeemaker when we got married. Now it lives in a box somewhere in the basement.
When I only want to make a single cup of coffee, I use a thing called the swiss gold 1 cup brewer, which sits atop a coffee mug, which makes a really super cup of coffee. It's got 2 pieces to it: A gold filter, into which you pour your coffee grinds (I've had success with making a cup with extremely minimal sediment, with 2 heaping tablespoons of whole beans, ground 7-8 seconds in my little Krups blade grinder). You then insert the steeper insert into this filter, and pour your water into it, and it just drips through slowly enough to make a good, rich cup. On the downside, you do have to deal with the grinds when you're through. However, I've found them much easier to empty out than a press pot - I just invert it over the garbage can and one good thump on the side causes 95% of the grinds to dump out.
Here's a link to a site which has a picture of the thing. I bought mine at my local Peet's coffeehouse.
Jfood for the masses. I make my coffee in a Braun coffeemakee with a gold cone filter. My only requirement is no paper filter. My tonue is sensitive to it and i just can't drink it when it comes through it. I grind every weekend and keep in an air tight container in the pantry. Every morning a couple of scoops, some cold water, feed the dog, get the newspapers at the end of the walkway and a couple of cups with the local paper and the WSJ. Up until yesterday I would also add Imus in the morning, but that's not an option any longer. :-((
Easy answer for me. Start with Yirgacheffe or Harar coffee from Ethiopia. Grind the beans just before making. Prep French Press with hot tap water. Then put ground coffee in bottom. Pour in Boiling water let it sit for 3-5 minutes then press.
My other fav coffees- Kenya, Blue Mountain (Jamaican), Hawaiian Kona. I also like adding chicory and or cinnamon sticks if I have a cheaper bean to work with.
I like my coffee dark and full bodied...
I'm so glad I found this thread. I went to Italy some time ago and was spoiled by the coffee there. Have been trying to recreate the experience and flavor since my return. I've taken to blending french roast, Costa Rican, Ethiopan to a fine grind and using the 2 T to 6 oz ratio if I'm using a press. If I'm using my coffee maker, I use 4 T to 5 1/2 cups - don't ask me why it works this way. Although I'm starting to think it's time for a new coffee maker. any ideas? For cream, I've found the closest to recreating the flavor is Horizon (organic) half and half. Will be going back soon for the real thing in Italy.
After owning several coffeemakes over the years, I like my Hamilton Beach Stay or Go. It has a carafe (preferable to a hot plate) that keeps the brew warm for two-plus hours. It takes about 8 minutes to brew on the medium size model, so the water is nor surging through too rapidly.
I like campfire (French press) coffee, too, but like you greatly disenjoy the time spent digging out the cold, wet, spent grounds.
Among coffee aficianados, there seems to be total contempt for percolators.
you like the stay or go? I find the carafe is one of the worst designed carafes I have ever used, I plan on complaining to Hamilton Beach. it always drips coffee after the pour, to the point that if I use it I now pour over the sink. The individual thermal cups are ok, though I have other thermal cups I prefer to use on the go.
I have and have been using for a long time, my parents stainless steel Vacuum pot that is at least fifty years old. I saw America's Test Kitchen review brew methods a while back and they agree with me (LOL) that Vacuum pots make the best tasting coffee. The problem they had with them was the one they used was made out of glass. Although Bodum now makes auto brew electric models. Both my Mom (87) and my Dad (92) love the one I bought to replace the auto drip (YUK) thing they were using. I grind my beans just before I brew, and now have started roasting green coffee beans also. And even though I'm new at it and am using a popcorn popper I've noticed a real taste improvement.
Here is an easy idea for you.
First off...........Paper or Metal Screen? Paper will filter oils out of the coffee. Metal Screen will allow Sediment through. That's your choice.
If you like the French Press.............It can be a mess. So Try THIS.
Use a Cone Filtered Basket with an automatic stop.
You know............if you pull out the Carafe while brewing the coffee stops dripping out of the bottom of the basket until you place the carafe back in.
Turn your coffee maker on wthout the carafe in place.
Let your Basket fill up only to the point where it will not overflow.
Some baskets have an opening on the side ..........and if the water rises above that it will leak out of the side.
So, find out where that point is.........That's pretty easy. Find this out before you begin making coffee.
Now, let the Basket fill up to that point and turn the coffee maker off.
You can always pull out the swing basket just enough to peek inside.
If you have a Water Level meter on the side of your coffee maker, you can easily get an idea when that point is reached too.
So, you let your basket fill up to that point.
Stir the water and grounds and let it steep for 5 minutes.
Then put the carafe in place and let the coffee drip out.
Once the basket fully drains............Swing out your basket and remove the paper filter and grounds and dispose of it.
Now turn your coffee maker back on and let the remaining water heat up and drain into your carafe.
Some will say that a coffe maker is not hot enough.
Well, you can easily do it this way then.
Swing out your Basket before brewing.
Then pour your just under boiling water into your Basket and stir. Swing the basket back into place. Let it steep for 5 minutes and then drain it by placing the carafe back in place Then pour the remainder of your hot water directly into the Carafe. You can always pour the remaining water in the carafe while the coffee is steeping for 5 minutes.
It's pretty simple.
Pour your water into the basket, stir.........Let steep for 5 minutes. Place the carafe back in place and let the coffee drain. Add the remaining hot water directly to the carafe.
No mess to clean up like a French Press.
It makes a great cup of coffee.
Why pay for a simple feature like that.?
Here is an even easier method than the one I use above.
Rinsing your paper filter with hot water seems to be mentioned by many of the experts as a way to eliminate the paper flavor that will get into your coffee and ruin the taste as result.
So, here we go. We are going to combine the French Press Method with the Drip Method.
Only, you are going to use your Auto-matic Cone Shaped Drip Coffee Maker
(You know, the one that stops dripping when the Carafe is removed)
Only to support your basket and filter.
Don't even bother using it to heat your water, you'll boil your own water.
First off, run some hot water over your paper filter while it's in your basket with the basket swung out. The Carafe in place. You can fill the basket with hot water too. Just make sure you don't go any higher than the level of any opening in the side of your basket. Best to find out where that may be, while using some cool water, so you'll know just how high you can fill the basket with water and coffee grounds, before you ever begin.
Assuming that, that is taken care of.
After running hot water into your filter and basket, with the carafe in place, push the basket back into place.........Let the water drip into your carafe..............then discard the water and rinse the carafe.
Let's assume you are using 8 Tablespoons of coffee for every 6 oz. of water equalling, 48 oz. of water.
Swing your basket back out.
Now, simply place your desired amount of coffee grounds into your basket and filter.
My 8-12 cup Hamilton Beach coffee maker can take almost 16 oz. of water, but if I go a little too high, it can drip through a little opening in the side. Be careful as mentioned and find out this level before you begin.
So, now that the desired amount of coffee grounds are placed into the basket.
Simply pour your boiled water into a Pyrex measuring cup.........The Pyrex Measuring Cup should cool your water to around 200 degrees.....then pour the water into your basket. Stir the water and grounds. Let the water sit (STEEP) in the coffee for approx. 5 minutes. Then swing your basket back into place and let the brewed coffee drain into your carafe. Now, you can add the remaining 32 oz. of water plus any remaining water from your initial 16 oz. (if your basket wouldn't take a full 16 oz.) directly into your carafe. Stir the coffee in the carafe so that it is evenly blended.
You basically have French Press Coffee by using the Drip Maker only to suspend your basket, without having to clean the grounds from your French Press.
You can do this method with a Melita Portable Drip Cone that you see in the supermarkets.
Just find a way to plug the bottom of the basket. Let the water sit in the basket with the coffee grounds for 5 minutes...........Pull the Plug and LET IT DRIP.
Add your remaining water directly to your carafe. I use this method at work at my desk.
Give it a try
You are basically getting the results of French Press Coffee by using the Drip Maker thus having no clean-up problems that you would get from a French Press.
Here's my version:
boil water in a small open sauce pan. Dump the coffee into the water, and stir to wet everything. After the appropriate period of time, strain through the Melita paper filter. By pouring slowly you can leave most of the grounds in the pan. Or if using coarser grind (perc) use an appropriate size strainer.
I have found that finer grind, suitable for a paper filter, requires less steeping time. Slowly pouring the water over the grounds while they are the cone may be enough.
Here is an even simpler method using a Melitta Portable Cone Filter with the Carafe.
Simply drop a screw or nail or some other item you may think of using (wash it first) with a head that is wide enough not to fall completely through the basket's drain hole and and is able to drastically SLOW down the water flow.
This will allow the Coffee to steep in the basket and still trickle out, allowing your Coffee more contact time with the Grounds.
If the water takes TOO long to drain, use a smaller screw and screw head that allows water to drain a bit more quickly.
Experiment with the size of whatever you use to place in the basket's drain hole.
Obviously, you don't want the water to take too long to drain.
Experts say around 5 minutes tops for contact between Grounds and Water.......Which makes you wonder about making smaller quantities of Coffee with Drip Methods........2 or 3 cups of coffee only takes a few minutes to drip through the basket allowing MINIMAL Contact time between the Water and the Grounds.
So please experiment with the drain time.
That's why I've found in the past to simply widen the hole.........The BLOCK IT UP with a stopper........Let the COFFEE STEEP for about 5 minutes, the pull the stopper out and let the freshly brewed coffee "Quickly Drain" out.....
I use a French Press every morning. As long as the coffee is ground sufficiently coarse, I don't have any significant issues with sludge, though there is some. I also don't think the cleanup is bad, but I guess compared to a throwaway paper filter, any cleanup is hard.
I also have an Aerobie Aeropress, which I bought more out of curiosity than anything. But it does make an excellent cup of coffee, very quickly, with no sludge. It's only good for making one cup at a time though.
Years ago when I first got my French Press, I went through about 5 batches (with different coffee as well) to get it right. I find that with French press if you are not using a good quality coffee, and/or if the coffee tends to be acidic, the acidity is much more pronounced with this method. For anyone trying this method for the first time, I can provide some direction using 1 Liter water; what I make daily twice, if not 3 times a day:
The beans I had the most sucess with, Peet's Major Dickason, Starbuck's Breakfast Blend, Fairway Benny's Blend (what I use now). At one time was using Dunkin Donuts regular which turned a bit too acidic for my liking.
I grind 6 (coffee spoon measures) whole beans, to 1 liter water. I don't do a coarse grind.
Before using the press, add boiling water to the press while heating another liter to make the coffeee. This helps retain the heat in the canister so that the temperature change doesn't affect the flavor.
After the water for the coffee comes to a rolling boil, let the bubbles cease. Wait 45 seconds. Meanwhile dump the hot water from the press and add the ground coffee. Add the hot water and set your timer for 4 minutes; plunge slowly.
Anyone that has had my coffee opens their eyes to an OMG! This is the best coffee I've ever had!, so I seriously hope this helps anyone that might not be inclined to try the French press or have had trouble in the past.
I'm not saying it's the best method, but this is my method.
I grind the beans quite finely, and use 3 scoops per huge mug (I drink very big cups of coffee).
I use a cafetiere (I think that's what people here are calling a French press).
I rinse the pot with boiling water, then add the freshly ground coffee. I add just enough hot water to cover the coffee, and I leave it to steep for at least 5 minutes.
Then I top up the pot with freshly boiled water (just off the boil) and press it down within a minute or two.
Result - strong hot coffee.
Here is an extremely EASY method to combine FRENCH PRESS AND DRIP.
Assuming you are using an automatic DRIP coffee maker.
Simply let the water fill in to the basket while your CARAFE is pulled out slightly enough so that it wont drip into your Carafe........Allow enough water to fill into the basket without overflowing.........(You can swing out your basket just enough to peek inside to check your basket's water level).Then turn off your coffee maker for a few minutes...........2-5 minutes.
Two minutes seems about right...........Push your carafe back into place so that your coffee drips into your carafe........and turn it back on and let it run it's course..............This way your coffee grounds were steeping in the basket for a few minutes of extra flavor............You can even STIR the grounds for a few seconds while it is steeping by swinging out the basket.
Just like having the coffee submerged in the water in a FRENCH PRESS.
NO MESS..............JUST MAKE SURE YOUR BASKET DOESN'T OVERFLOW.........Then you will have a mess.
Why purchase a KRUPS that lets your coffee steep when you can simply do that on your own without paying the extra dollars?
Sounds like you need the Clever Coffee Dripper. http://www.sweetmarias.com/clevercoff...
This low cost, low tech device looks like a conventional cone filter drip system but is equipped with a valve that doesn't allow the drip until you place it on the cup or carafe. This means that you can control the steeping and stir the brewlike a French press coffeemaker or as in your method. But, unlike the French press, there is no physical plunging and no sediment. And, unlike your described method, there are no caveats or complications.
I discovered the Clever Coffee Dripper a couple years ago. We're drinking better coffee and we'll never own an automatic appliance for coffee again.
i dont drink coffee...
so i dont make it at all..
i keep a small hot pot around for when my mother visits and wants the instant nescafe she drinks..
I have tried filtering FRENCH PRESSED COFFEE in the past.............It seemed to clog up the filter and the water didn't drain through.
Perhaps is didn't have a coarse enough ground.
Either way, I also find it to be a mess cleaning the coffee grounds out of the French Press...........I don't want let the grounds go down the sink drain either.
A Melita paper cone will handle a very fine grind. Coffee that is ground for a Press is to coarse to use with a paper filter without previous steeping time.
For cleanup, it is hard to do better than a paper filter. It's my choice for an office setting where there isn't a lot a water for clean up.
I'm not sure anyone else in the world does this, but here's what I do.
I use a French press to brew coffee with hot milk. You can really taste the character of the coffee.
I like light roast Central or South American coffees, because they're mild, nutty, chocolatey, but you can use what you like. Grind for a press (coarser than drip). Heat the milk, careful not to scald it. Brew for four minutes in a French press. I don't sweeten it, but I guess you could.
Does anyone else do this, or have you tried it?
I've used just about every method known to mankind, just retired my Kourig, and I agree with you. Those little cone filters work just fine. I don't even use the cone filters anymore, I'm too cheap, I buy the filters used for regular drip coffee makers, waaaayyyyy cheaper. Actually it's the little plastic holder that works wonders. I'm having a cup of Italian Roast (is there any better?) right now and it's truly delicious. I lived in Italy for about 6 months and they and the Japanese have truly impressed me with awesomely brewed coffees.
"Beems are very good" I sware they make loverebly built in grinder so you can use fresh beans or you can buy your ground coffee from the store, easy to keep clean to just wash with a hot bowl of soapy water. :)