Let me let you in on a little secret:
It IS possible to make barista-level coffee in the comfort of your own home.
You just have to know how to brew it.
Thankfully, there are loads of easy brewing methods out there that won’t take you too much time or effort to master.
Once you do, you’ll never go back to drinking instant coffee again, I promise you.
I’m going to tell you a little bit about my favorite coffee brewing methods, to give you an idea of the different options you have to choose from.
Ready to find out more?
Let’s dive straight into it!
7 Ways To Make Great Filter Coffee
Let’s start off with filter coffee.
Filter coffee gets a bad rap because of electric percolators that over extract the coffee leaving you with a bitter mess.
But, we’re not even going to talk about those.
Forget about the percolator, and try out one of these great methods instead.
As you’re about to see, there are a bunch of different ways you can make filter coffee at home. But although each of these methods are different, they all work on the same basic principle.
Ground coffee beans go into the filter, and water passes through them. It extracts the coffee from the grounds on its way, and you get a delicious, fresh cup of coffee out the other end.
You’ll also want to use a light to medium roast with all of these methods. Now, this isn’t set in stone, but it’s a general rule with filter coffee.
Because when you make filter coffee, you’ve got a longer extraction time and lower water temperature than other coffee brewing methods such as espresso.
That means that you’ll be able to get more of the coffee’s unique aromas if you use a coffee bean that’s roasted at a lower temperature for a shorter amount of time.
The Hario V60 is a really neat little gadget because it’s small and super simple, but it makes amazing coffee.
If you’re undecided about which filter coffee method to try out, I strongly suggest giving the Hario V60 a shot. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.
It’s a little cone shaped drip coffee maker made of either ceramic, metal, glass, or plastic. The heaviest one is the ceramic dripper, and even that only weighs around a pound. The plastic dripper is the lightest, weighing in at less than 4 ounces.
How’s that for lightweight?
This means you can take the V60 with you everywhere you go. And portability is a fantastic feature, not to be overlooked. It means you’ll never have to drink terrible coffee again – no matter where you are. Great news for travellers, campers, and anyone else on the move.
It’s a cheap little piece of equipment, too. Depending on the material you choose they range from around $10-30. Not bad at all for a gadget that can give you good coffee on the road.
The dripper sits on top of a serving vessel while the coffee is brewing. The vessel can be a glass jug made specifically for this purpose, or it can just go straight onto the mug you plan to drink the coffee out of.
Now, that’s what I call convenience.
You’d never guess from the name, but brewing coffee with a Chemex Coffeemaker is actually the most natural way you can do it.
The reason why it’s more natural than any other method is because it uses nothing but gravity to extract coffee from the grounds.
So, why is it called a Chemex if there aren’t any chemicals involved?
Well, you see, Peter Schlumbohm, the guy who came up with the Chemex in 1941, was a German inventor with a doctorate in chemistry. And that’s how the world’s most natural coffee brewing technique ended up with a name that makes it sound anything but natural.
The Chemex Coffeemaker is made of glass and looks kind of like a vase. It has a wooden handle around the middle to protect your hand from getting burnt while you’re holding it.
It’s a little bit pricier than the V60, but still not a very expensive option at all.
It is, however, a less portable option, since it’s larger, heavier, and a lot easier to break.
What’s great about the Chemex though is that you can make a lot more coffee at once. Some versions can make up to 10 cups of coffee in one batch.
That’s a lot of coffee, huh?
If you like to have your friends and family over for coffee a lot (or you’re addicted to caffeine – no judging here), the Chemex would be the way to go.
Next, let’s take a look at the Kalita Wave dripper. This is another cute little dripper that you can use to brew coffee directly over your mug.
On first glance, you’ll notice it bears a striking resemblance to the Hario V60. And there are quite a few similarities, but some key differences as well.
They’re typically made of metal, although other materials like glass and ceramic are available, too.
Like the V60, it comes in a couple of different sizes, and you can make several cups of coffee at once.
The main difference is that unlike the V60, the Kalita has a flat bottom with 3 holes. What this basically means is that you don’t have to be as precise. Or, in other words, there’s less of a chance you’ll stuff your pot of coffee up, and more of a chance it’ll come out perfect.
Also, the Kalita Wave is even lighter than the V60, but not by a substantial amount. They’re both solid options for anyone looking for a dripper they can use on the go.
The Kalita, however, I’d say is a slightly easier dripper to use, giving more consistent results in most cases.
It is just a tad more expensive than the V60, but again, it’s not much of a difference.
Here’s one for those who prioritize convenience over all else. The Moccamaster gives you perfectly brewed filter coffee at the push of a button.
The thing that makes the Moccamaster stand out is its ability to maintain a constant temperature. This means it can extract the coffee in an optimal way, every time.
It’s another one that’s a great option if you’re into entertaining, since you can make a large amount of coffee at once, just like with the Chemex.
All you have to do to brew the coffee is put the coffee into one section, water into another, and push a button. Then, just sit back and take in the hypnotizing aroma until your coffee’s brewed.
It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Now, the convenience the Moccamaster offers does come at a price. Because it’s a drip machine, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the other pieces of equipment we’ve talked about.
But hey, you can expect to get perfectly brewed filter coffee at the push of a button for free.
If you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, you might want to play around with cold drip coffee brewing. It’s definitely the slowest way to brew coffee at home, but the results are well worth the time invested.
You can buy a cold dripper, or you can make your own using a jar or a bucket, depending on how much coffee you want to brew at once.
As you’ve probably managed to guess, what makes this method different is that instead of hot water it uses – that’s right, cold water.
Because the water is cold, it takes a much longer time for the coffee to brew. In fact, brewing up a batch of cold drip coffee can take anywhere between 10 and 24 hours.
Want to know the best part, though?
It keeps for up to 2 weeks, so you can make a huge batch and stock your fridge up. That way, you’ve got delicious cold brew coffee on hand whenever you feel like it, ready to go.
For this method, you’ll want to use really coarse ground coffee beans. Because the extraction takes so long, the cold water will have plenty of time to extract the coffee. So, the grinds you use should be a lot chunkier than with any other method.
Nitro Cold Brew
When you take cold brew coffee and combine it with nitrogen, you get nitro cold brew – otherwise known as nitrous coffee.
It’s been all the rage in the coffee world ever since it hit the scene nearly 10 year ago. And I, for one, totally get why. It lives up to the hype, and then some.
Infusing coffee with nitrogen gives it a richer, creamier structure and a nice, frothy head. It also adds just a touch of sweetness to the cold brew coffee it’s made with. Basically, when it comes to cold coffee, nitro cold brew is about as close to perfection as you can get.
The final result looks kind of like a tall glass of Guinness beer with a foam head. Which makes sense actually, because certain kinds of beer (including Guinness) are infused with nitrogen as well. That’s actually where the idea for nitro cold brew coffee came from.
In coffee shops, they make nitro cold brew using a tap system similar to those used for beer in bars. If you’ve seen this, you might be under the impression that nitro cold brew isn’t something you can make yourself at home.
What if I told you that you could?
It’s actually pretty easy. As long as you’ve got some cold brew coffee on hand, you can make it yourself at home using a cream whipper in no time at all.
Pretty cool, huh?
The final filter brew method we’re going to talk about is the Vietnamese phin.
This is another one I’m really fond of for its simplicity and user friendliness. You definitely don’t have to be a master barista to make coffee using this method – anyone can do it.
It’s a cheap little metal canister with a metal filter. You literally just pop some coffee in there, pour some water in, pop it over a glass or mug, and wait until your coffee is ready to enjoy.
In Vietnam, they traditionally put a tablespoon or two of sweetened condensed milk in the glass and drip the coffee onto it.
The reason behind this is that a huge percentage of the coffee produced in Vietnam is pure robusta. That means it has a much fuller body, and far less subtle flavors and aromas than arabica, or arabica and robusta coffee blends.
In other words, pouring it over sweetened condensed milk is necessary to balance out the strong coffee flavor and make it taste more pleasant.
But hey, it definitely works. Vietnamese coffee is delicious, especially if you’re into iced coffee, and how could you not be?
To make it, just pour your Vietnamese coffee over a glass full of ice. It might just be the best iced coffee you’ve ever tasted – just saying.
3 Awesome Methods For Steeping Coffee
Another way you can make great coffee at home is by using one of several steeping methods. Steeping, also known as immersion brewing, is actually the way people have been brewing coffee for the longest.
These methods immerse the coffee grounds in hot water, pretty much in the same way you’d immerse tea leaves if you were making tea. It’s basically just mixing coffee grinds with hot water, and separating the grinds once the coffee has been extracted.
Again, there are a few different ways you can do this. In this case, each brewing process is pretty much entirely different. Well, other than the fact that the coffee is steeped in hot water, that is.
Also, keep in mind that with these methods – it’s all about the timing.
You need to be careful not to overdo it or underdo it. You want to find that sweet spot in between weak, under steeped coffee and bitter, over steeped coffee. Once you do, you’ll get that baby bear coffee that’s juuuust right.
As far as roasting goes, it’s the same as with filter coffees. Dark roasts will over extract a lot quicker than light roasts, so it’s usually a better idea to go for a light to medium roast.
That being said, whichever roast you go for, you can always tweak the steeping time and water temperature until you find a combo that works for you.
Little adjustments can make a big difference in the final result, so don’t be afraid to play around and experiment.
The French press is by far the most popular method of steeping coffee at home.
I’m a fan of this gadget, because it’s another one that you can take with you when you travel. It’s made of glass, which isn’t ideal, but I wrap mine up in a hoodie and I’ve taken it camping a bunch of times with no problems.
Of course, be careful not to throw your stuff around too much, because it definitely could break.
My favorite thing about it (particularly when I go camping) is that you don’t need any additional gear. No scales, no gooseneck kettle, no filter papers. All you need is a French press and a timer and you’re good to go.
These are also pretty inexpensive, and they’re super easy to use. These are all reasons why this coffee brewing method has been so popular all over the world for so many decades.
The main thing you need to pay attention to is your coffee grind. It’s important that you use a grind that’s coarse enough that the particles won’t be able to pass through the filter into your coffee.
That’s the one thing about French press coffee – it might have some sediment regardless of the grind. So, be careful with the last couple of sips, or you might get a mouthful of it.
Other than that, it’s phenomenal coffee. It has a unique flavor that’s specific to this method, which is yet another reason the French press has so many loyal fans.
Depending on the size of your French press, you can also make a fair amount of coffee at a time. This makes it a stellar choice for families and those who like to entertain.
Now, if you’re an aesthetic type, this is one seriously cool looking brew method.
It looks like something out of a laboratory. You’ll feel like you’re conducting some kind of science experiment, rather than brewing coffee.
But, although it’s a cool gadget to show off to your friends, it’s pretty impractical for everyday use. Brewing coffee using a siphon is a bit of a complicated process, so you probably won’t have time to go through it each morning, just to get a cup of coffee.
It’s also pretty difficult to clean, so that’s another routine you won’t want to be repeating on a daily basis.
Bottom line – if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to brew coffee at home, give the siphon brewer a miss. I know it looks cool, but it’s really not worth the trouble.
Still, if you want to impress your guests with a coffee brewing spectacle, there’s definitely no better way to do it than by whipping one of these babies out.
And it makes pretty great coffee, too, so there’s that.
The SoftBrew coffee maker is kind of like a foolproof version of a French press.
It only just hit the scene in 2010, and it’s definitely the easiest way there is to steep a good cup of coffee.
All you need is a SoftBrew coffee pot, and a SoftBrew filter. Put the filter in the pot, throw some coffee in, pour water over it, wait 4-8 minutes, and voila!
And the grind?
It really doesn’t matter.
The filter is so fine that even really finely ground coffee won’t pass through it. I wasn’t kidding when I said foolproof.
That being said, different grinds will yield slightly different results, so you can play around until you figure out what you like the most.
In the end, you’ll end up with a cup of coffee that’s fairly similar to what you’d get with a French press. Except, unlike French press coffee – SoftBrew coffee comes out perfect every time.
If you’re someone who likes to play around and experiment with different brewing styles, you won’t have much fun with this method. But, if you’re someone who’s looking to get a good cup of coffee with no special skills or effort required – this is the one.
3 Coffee Brewing Methods That Use Pressure
And, to finish things off, we have the pressure methods.
These methods push hot water through the coffee at high pressure to quickly extract the coffee from the grounds. The result is a strong coffee with a full body and rich flavor.
The first thing you think of is probably espresso – and it’s the most popular one, for sure. However, there are a few other great brewing methods out there that also use pressure.
These other methods are all quite a bit cheaper and easier to make at home than espresso. Although, you can definitely do espresso as well, if you have an espresso maker at your disposal.
For most of these methods, you generally want to use a medium to dark roast. Although, certain pressure methods such as the Aeropress can yield great results with both light and dark roasts.
Unlike filter and steeped coffee, coffee made using pressure is extracted faster and at a higher temperature. For this reason, darker roasts will provide more flavor. You can still use a lighter roast, but there won’t be as much time for all the aromas to be extracted in your cup of coffee.
Ahhh… the espresso. Truly one of the greatest coffee brewing methods of all time.
Since they were invented in Italy in the early 20th century, espresso machines have been one of the most popular ways to brew coffee all over the world.
A lot of people only enjoy espresso in cafés. And, although it might seem like it requires a lot of skill, it’s actually pretty easy to learn how to do it yourself.
All you need is an espresso machine, a coffee grinder, and a tamping tool. If you want milk in your coffee, you’ll need a milk frothing jug as well.
OK, so you need a little bit of knowledge and practice, too.
The hardest part is combining the coffee and milk froth to make a cappuccino. Getting the right angle, speed, and a consistent pour can be a bit tricky in the beginning until you get the hang of it.
In any case, I assure you that it won’t take you more than a few days of practice to pick it up. Once you do, you’ll be able to make café quality espresso, cappuccino, latte, and macchiato – all from the comfort of your kitchen.
The coffee you use will need to be finely ground. How finely exactly will depend on atmospheric conditions like altitude, and the weather. So, it’ll be a little bit different every day. You’ll usually have to throw an espresso or two down the sink before you find the right grind.
Don’t worry, though. This all takes less than 5 minutes, so brewing your own espresso at home is still a fairly quick and easy process.
For a much cheaper and far easier way to get coffee that’s similar to espresso, you can use a moka pot.
It’s a little metal pot that unscrews in the middle. You pour water into the bottom part, add your coffee in the middle part, screw it all back together, and pop it on the stove.
As the water heats up, pressure forces the water up through the coffee grinds, and your freshly brewed moka pot coffee pours out into the top part.
These are pretty affordable, especially compared to an espresso coffee machine. What’s more is you can take them with you everywhere you go. This is definitely another one that’s perfect if you’re a coffee lover who’s always on the move and you want good coffee wherever you go.
It only weighs about a pound if you get the 3 cup version. And the 6 cup version is only around half a pound more than that, so even that’s light enough to cart around on your travels.
They’re also fairly easy to use, which is another big plus. That being said, you need to make sure you get the grind right. You’ll want it to be coarser than espresso, but finer than filter. Again, it’s best to play around until you find the ideal grind.
You also need to be careful not to over or under extract your coffee. And, again, experimentation is key here, because it all depends on the type of coffee you’re using and how finely or coarsely it’s ground.
And last, but definitely not least – we have the AeroPress. This thing is really cool, because it gives you seriously good coffee, and it couldn’t be easier to use.
There are 3 things you need for this method: an AeroPress, AeroPress filters, and an AeroPress stirrer.
You can grind your coffee pretty much however you like. Different grinds will give you a different final result, so you can try a few out and see what you like the best.
You can play around with a bunch of different techniques, which is always fun. And it’s super easy to clean, so maintenance is a breeze.
On top of that, it’s made of plastic, so it’s portable and great for travel. In fact, of all the brewing methods we’ve talked about, the AeroPress might actually be the winner in this category. In any case, it’s definitely a strong contender.
Other than being super lightweight, it’s also one of the fastest coffee brewing methods out there. That’s definitely a plus when you’re on the road. You don’t want to be spending all morning brewing coffee – and the AeroPress gives you quality coffee, fast.
One more thing I’d mention is that you can’t make a whole lot of coffee at once using this method. So, it isn’t a very practical choice if you’re looking for a way to make coffee for large groups of people.
Related reading: 7 Best Portable Espresso Makers
As you can see, there are plenty of options out there. Choosing one can be daunting, but it all comes down to your own personal taste, and which features are a priority for you.
If you’re looking for a way to make coffee on the road, you might want to look into the AeroPress, moka pot, Kalita Wave, Hario V60, or Vietnamese phin.
If you just need a way to make good coffee at home, Chemex, cold brew, or espresso might be some interesting coffee brewing methods to explore further.
Whichever method you decide to try out, make sure to give yourself some time to get to know the method and figure out all the details.
Once you do, you’ll be able to enjoy outstanding coffee in the comfort of your own home, every single day.
And who wouldn’t want that?