Do you want to make a better cup of coffee? It might be time to ditch that drip coffee brewer sitting on your kitchen counter and try a manual brewing method.
French press and pour over brewing have become more prevalent in coffee shops, and the trend is spreading into homes. Why? Well, because it tastes better.
Both methods differ from drip brewing in that you begin with hot water instead of cold; this is known to improve the extraction process where the water absorbs coffee flavors and essences from the grounds, the chemistry behind what makes a cup of coffee taste good – or bad.
The pour over is best for making one cup of coffee at a time. The only equipment you need is a pour over cone and filter, which is placed above the cup either on a stand or resting directly atop the cup.
If using a paper filter, pre-moisten it to loosen up the fibers, then add your coffee grounds. A fine grind works best, and you should use two tablespoons per six ounces of water.
Next, fill the cone halfway with boiling water and wait 10 seconds while the coffee begins dripping into your cup. Pour in the rest of the water, let it steep through the cone until your cup is full, and enjoy.
A French press requires a bit more time and effort on your part. The equipment is basically a small coffee pot with a mesh filter-plunger inside.
You’ll need to use a medium to coarse grind so the grounds are large enough to prevent clogging the filter.
To brew, first remove the lid and plunger and add two tablespoons per eight ounces of water to the bottom of the pot. Next, slowly add water, stirring a little as you go. The water should be 195 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, replace the lid and let the coffee brew for three to five minutes, then push the grounds to the bottom of the pot with the plunger. Pour and enjoy.
The pour over will give you a cleaner, more balanced, very flavorful cup of coffee.
By comparison, the French press is a fuller experience because the filter, unlike paper filters, does not hold back oils that provide a richer, more dramatic flavor.
Keep in mind that these are very general directions. If you really want to try these brewing methods at home and get it right, drop by your favorite coffee shop and ask a barista for a demonstration. They’ll be happy to help.
Josh Cooke is the creator of Corner Perk Cafe, Dessert Bar, Roasters in Old Town Bluffton. CornerPerk.com