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Coffee has five primary ways of being brewed. Each method has brewing variables
- introduction of water, brewing temperature, and separating the brewed liquor
from the coffee grounds. These five methods are called Turkish brewing,
concentrate brewing, percolating, drip brewing, and French Press brewing.
"Turkish" or "Greek" Coffee
Turkish coffee or kahve is the traditional name is made in small containers
directly on the flame with water and finely ground kahve comes to a boil. Often
times it is brewed up with sugar already introduced. In some traditions they
will pour off a little into each cup and then bring it to a second boil, pouring
the rest off into each cup insuring an even distribution of grounds. In some
regions they serve the kahve with added spice which is usually cardamom. The
coffee is not filtered from the liquor which leaves a thick pungent and muddy
brew. The mud settles to the bottom of the tiny demitasse cups the coffee is
served in. In many countries they read the coffee mud after you have drank your
coffee and tell you your future.
Concentrate Brewing
Concentrate brewing is very popular in Latin America and other parts of the
world. It is beginning to make a come back in the U.S.. Concentrate brewing
takes large amounts of coffee that is brewed with small amounts of water to brew
a concentrate. To make a cup of coffee you mix some of the concentrate with hot
water. The concentrate is brewed either hot or cold. When it is brewed cold you
must let the coffee sit for at least a day. This method creates a mild
light-bodied coffee with little aroma and a little acidity with a muted flavour.
This procedure involves a continuous brewing of the coffee grounds using boiling
water which then turns to boiling coffee liquor brewing over the grounds. This
method is practical but is an insult to the coffee bean. Brewing with boiling
water is bad enough, then boiling the liquor is asking for a thin, bitter and
tarry coffee.
Though this produces an awful cup of coffee many people still prefer
percolation. If its for you then more power to you!
Auto drip
This is the most popular way to brew coffee in the U.S.A. Pouring hot water over
grounds in a filter and letting the brew drip out the bottom, simple. Drip
brewing can produce an excellent cup of coffee if the proper equipment is used.
One of the biggest issues with auto drip machines is they don't brew at the
right temperature. Bunn is one of the few companies which calibrate their
machines to the proper temperature. If you have a good auto drip brewing machine
then the next hurdle to tackle is the filter. Paper filters can deposit a flavour
in the coffee and also do not allow a lot of the coffee oils and organic
compounds through. A gold-plated reusable filter is the perfect option for drip
brewing. It will not deposit a taste in the coffee and doesn't trap as much of
the coffee's essence as paper filters do.
French Press or Press Pot
French Pres brewing gives you complete control. It is more labor intensive than
auto drip the brewing variables can be better controlled. Coarsely ground coffee
is placed in a glass carafe. The hot water is then poured over the grounds. When
the brewing is complete the top is placed on and a plunger that consists of a
metal mesh plate is pressed down pushing the grounds to the bottom. The coffee
liquor is on top ready to be poured off. The mesh filter allows the oils and
fine coffee particles through without a problem. Also because a coarser grind is
required a longer brewing time is required. A general rule of thumb is four
minutes for a French press. This direct contact of the grounds to water allows a
more complete, controllable, and even extraction. Even with the coarse grind
though a coarse grind will still produce some fine particles. A cup of
French-pressed coffee will be fuller, more body, and more flavour. It will also
have sediment on the bottom of the cup.