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The Way to Brew Great Coffee at Home

perusalem Jan 11, 2014 05:55 PM

Using the French Press is the best way to make great coffee at home?

Thanks

  1. i
    INDIANRIVERFL Jan 12, 2014 10:22 AM

    The way to brew great coffee at home is to start with clean boiling water and a type of coffee that you enjoy.

    I prefer European style roast and fine grind in a French press.

    But I have started and ended many a meal with Maxwell House out of a percolator.

    1. r
      Raffles Jan 12, 2014 09:30 AM

      In the winter we use a electric percolator, fresh ground beans,and filtered well water.
      In the summer we use a stove top percolator,fresh ground beans,and filtered lake water.

      1. cowboyardee Jan 12, 2014 09:27 AM

        As others have said, it depends on your preferences. The French press can brew a fairly full bodied cup of coffee, though it limits the control you have over the grind size you can select and tends to leave some sediment in your cup.

        The Aeropress is notable in that it gives you more control over the variables in brewing than anything shy of a Clover machine. Also of note, it only makes one cup at a time with most methods of using it.

        A pour-over cone or a chemex tends to make for a good and relatively smooth cup. No sediment, less body than a french press.

        A Technivorm makes a good, consistent cup of coffee, and might be a good choice if you are willing to spend a good chunk of change on extra convenience, or if you're not interested in learning to use some of the other methods to their fullest.

        10 Replies
        1. re: cowboyardee
          grampart Jan 12, 2014 09:38 AM

          "A Technivorm makes a good, consistent cup of coffee, and might be a good choice if you are willing to spend a good chunk of change on extra convenience, or if you're not interested in learning to use some of the other methods to their fullest."

          I guess I would have to pretty much agree with this statement. However, as I said once in a similar thread many months ago, when I make a single large mug of coffee in my $5 Melitta pour-over cone and use the same quality ground coffee and proper temp water, I can't really tell the difference from the stuff that comes from the Technivorm.

          1. re: grampart
            cowboyardee Jan 12, 2014 09:45 AM

            Technivorm makes a good cup of coffee - I didn't mean to imply otherwise. It's just a lot more expensive than some of the other ways to make a good cup of coffee. I think we agree.

            1. re: cowboyardee
              grampart Jan 12, 2014 09:56 AM

              We do agree.

          2. re: cowboyardee
            davis_sq_pro Jan 12, 2014 10:26 AM

            "The Aeropress is notable in that it gives you more control over the variables in brewing than anything shy of a Clover machine."

            As an ex-Aeropress user I disagree. I have more control -- and better results (for my own criteria!) -- now that I've moved on to immersion cones (Clever/Bonavita). Reason is that these cones give you a lot more room to work with. The Aeropress is a great concept but the chamber is too small. I always hoped the company would make a larger version, but now that I've moved on I'm not at all inclined to go back.

            1. re: davis_sq_pro
              cowboyardee Jan 12, 2014 11:15 AM

              I haven't tried an immersion cone yet. It seems like a clever design. I would imagine it might have trouble using a very fine grind of coffee - though in practice that might not be especially limiting.

              OTOH, I'm not really sure what you mean when you say that the aeropress gives you less control due to its size (unless of course you're referring to an inability to brew several cups at a time). I can't recall ever being unable achieve any particular desired effect in an aeropress (sediment aside).

              1. re: cowboyardee
                davis_sq_pro Jan 12, 2014 12:42 PM

                "I would imagine it might have trouble using a very fine grind of coffee"

                I didn't know the answer to that, so I just tried, using the finest grind setting on my Capresso Infinity. (I usually use the setting five notches back from there.) It worked rather well, producing a very heavy-bodied cup (slightly astringent, now that I've had a few more sips, but pretty good). I just had to drain the cone for an extra 30 seconds longer than usual.

                All of that said, I don't recall the AeroPress being very good with extremely fine grinds -- wouldn't plunging cause it to compress and clog a bit?

                "I'm not really sure what you mean when you say that the aeropress gives you less control due to its size"

                That statement was of course made with regard to my own criteria for an ideal cup. And I should have qualified it by saying that I enjoy a fairly large American-style cup, which is not really possible for me to achieve with the AeroPress. I can only get up to a medium-sized cup before I run out of space in the chamber.

                My immersion cone brew technique, by the way: 33g of coffee to 440g of water. Preheated cone (applies mainly to the Bonavita). 212F water. 100g water for a 30-45 second bloom, slowly topped up with the additional 340g of water. (I don't stir.) This results in a brew temp of approximately 205F (measured with a Thermapen). 3 minute infusion prior to draining into a preheated mug.

                1. re: davis_sq_pro
                  cowboyardee Jan 12, 2014 01:28 PM

                  "I don't recall the AeroPress being very good with extremely fine grinds -- wouldn't plunging cause it to compress and clog a bit?"
                  ______
                  There is some extra resistance - sometimes a decent bit of it. But you can still manage it, which is better than can be said of some methods. I had been assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that the pressure created via plunging was why you could get away with using a very fine grind with a filter.

                  "I didn't know the answer to that, so I just tried, using the finest grind setting on my Capresso Infinity... It worked rather well,"
                  ______
                  Interesting. Seems like it has a lot of the same advantages as an aeropress, but can brew a bigger cup. Sounds promising.

            2. re: cowboyardee
              p
              pedalfaster Jan 12, 2014 01:47 PM

              re: sediment

              This is why French Pressed coffee generally requires a coarser grind.

              Nothing wrong with that, but folks brewing with this method need to be aware.

              1. re: pedalfaster
                grampart Jan 12, 2014 02:02 PM

                Does it follow that the coarser the grind the more coffee you use?

                1. re: grampart
                  s
                  sugartoof Jan 12, 2014 02:21 PM

                  Not always. The weight of the bean can come into play, depending on how it's roasted and density of what's left.

                  You can also play with a finer grind, to get more flavor, and then just expect a certain amount of sediment. It's typical of a French Press to leave residue at the bottom of a cup.

            3. emglow101 Jan 11, 2014 08:51 PM

              I dumped the French press long ago. The Bialetti is my choice.

              1. s
                sugartoof Jan 11, 2014 08:36 PM

                No one single best way.

                It depends on the beans you like to use, and what works best for you.

                French press is an easy method. It's pretty all purpose. It uses less coffee than some other methods.

                You can also try pour over cone method. You have to buy the filters, but it's easier to clean up. If you get the timing right, it can have a cleaner, purer taste, but the ideal way to do it is with a small amount of water at a time, so that takes time attending to it.

                1. grampart Jan 11, 2014 05:59 PM

                  Is that a question?

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: grampart
                    p
                    perusalem Jan 11, 2014 06:07 PM

                    That is a question as the is a question mark at the end: "Using the French Press is the best way to make great coffee at home?"

                    1. re: perusalem
                      coasts Jan 11, 2014 07:17 PM

                      there's no "best way" to brew coffee. a lot of it depends on what you like best in your cup. if you like a full body, heavier mouthfeel, you might like french press best. if you like a very clean cup, you might prefer an aeropress. if you like something in the middle, as i do, look at a Chemex. they've been around for years, but have gained a lot of popularity in the past two years. using paper filters, you retain some of the body of a french press without the muddiness. the chemex requires a certain amount of dedication to a cup of coffee.

                      1. re: coasts
                        p
                        perusalem Jan 12, 2014 09:23 AM

                        This is great info. Thank you!

                        1. re: coasts
                          cowboyardee Jan 12, 2014 09:42 AM

                          The aeropress is capable of brewing a fuller, heavier cup than a chemex, depending on how you use it.

                          1. re: cowboyardee
                            coasts Jan 12, 2014 10:05 AM

                            Sure, with after market filters like the Able disk. Out of the box and using it as intended, the aeropress produces a very clean cup. I'd be interested to hear how you use yours.

                            1. re: coasts
                              cowboyardee Jan 12, 2014 10:26 AM

                              The after market filters let you get more body into the brew by adding some not-fully-dissolved solids.

                              But even without an add-on, you can easily up the strength of aeropress coffee without sacrificing extraction %. Inverted brewing, preheated press, using 18-20 grams of coffee at an extra fine grind - that should do it.

                              Yeah, the instructions on the aeropress makes a very smooth cup of coffee. But the main reason the aeropress is popular among coffee heads is how much tinkering you can do with it once you put the instructions aside.

                          2. re: coasts
                            w
                            WishyFish Jan 12, 2014 02:37 PM

                            Seconding the Chemex.

                          3. re: perusalem
                            grampart Jan 11, 2014 06:18 PM

                            In my experience, the best way to make great coffee at home is with a Technivorm drip, but as been discussed many times here, the device is only one part of the equation.

                            1. re: grampart
                              p
                              perusalem Jan 12, 2014 08:44 AM

                              Whats the other part of the equation?

                              1. re: perusalem
                                grampart Jan 12, 2014 08:50 AM

                                Quality/freshness of bean, quality/freshness of roast, quality/freshness of grind, water quality, temp of water when it hits the ground coffee, and there may be other things that I'm forgetting.

                                1. re: grampart
                                  p
                                  perusalem Jan 12, 2014 09:22 AM

                                  yeah, something i need to learn.

                                2. re: perusalem
                                  Paprikaboy Jan 12, 2014 08:51 AM

                                  I'd assume grampart is referring to the beans, grinder and water quality.

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