So you're starting to feel the pinch of a daily $5 latte. Or you're just looking for a simple cup of good brewed coffee, but always end up abandoning the idea for that new matcha mango cappuccino or maple toffee cardamom cold brew at your cafe, just because it's something new or that it "makes more value sense".
Either way, you're thinking of getting a little homebrewin' going, but are slightly dazed by the myriad of brew options out there for that bag of Really Good Coffee you bought (for obvious reasons). Let us help you out here. Introducing a new series of brewing guide by our guest writer, Jasper. Find out more about the characteristics of different type of brewing apparatus and his take on the type of personalities that might suit the various way of brewing.
Disclaimer: Characters, personalities, and coffee brewing stereotypes are products of the author's very limited imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
1. Kitchen Coffee Maker
You're always busy and running around. Why? "I don't know." With what? "I don't know." How come? "Stop asking."
A day in the morning of you, the kitchen coffee maker user:
You're up. But not really. You hobble to the next room to wake the kids up. Then hobble back to your own room to wake the bigger one on your bed. You mentally go through the schedule for the day. Laundry, groceries. Drop drycleaning off, pick kids up. Then, drop kids off, pick dry cleaning up. Or was it the other way round? Anyway. Tuesday. Justin'll be at soccer practice today, Jamie's got dance lessons. Or was it the other way round? Anyway.
You sigh and shake your head, shuffling to the kitchen. For all the lack of control, it's good to have something constant in the mornings. A couple of tablespoons of Really Good Ground TunuFahi Coffee into the coffee maker, fill the reservoir up with water, flick the great red switch. And watch the magic happen. As you watch the eggs in the pan. As you watch the toaster. Whilst watching the clock.
The circus troops into the kitchen. Emotionless eating takes place. Dishes in the sink, humans out the door. It's ok, they'll make up for it by taking you out on the weekend. You pour the remaining coffee into your plastic cup, and take a few minutes to enjoy a semblance of calm with your Really Good Coffee.
Summary steps for brewing using a Kitchen Coffee Maker:
1) Get a fuss free coffee maker.
2) Read manual of coffee maker to find out how it works.
3) Scoop in Really Good Coffee (ground). Weight of ground coffee for 1 cup of coffee is 15g (estimated 2-3 tablespoon).
4) Add water. The brewing ratio is 1:15 (coffee:water). For 15g of coffee, approximately 225ml of water to be added. You can use a 500ml mineral bottle to gauge if you do not have a measuring jug.
5) Switch on the machine and do other errands while waiting for your cup of brew!
2. French Press
'Grind' is how you would describe both your beans and your work.
'Morning espresso' refers to both your morning brew and the title for your daily morning email of To-Do tasks you send to your team.
'Long black' refers to both your preferred afternoon drink and your facial expression when you review those quarterly numbers.
A day in the morning of you, the French Press user:
Your sunrise-simulation-wake-up-light gently nudges you into an awakened state. You turn a motivational podcast on, and head to brush your teeth. Following which, you chant your personalized positive affirmations in front of your full length mirror, whilst commencing your 10-step pre-dawn personal grooming routine. And no, it's not excessive. How else do you justify getting into that freshly-tailored suit?
You go through your agenda for the day. First conference call doesn't happen till late morning, which gives you that little bit more time for coffee. You strut down the stairs from your room to the dining area in your loft, and with a few taps on a smart app, draw back those automated curtains, allowing you to admire that unobstructed pre-sunrise view of the city. One which you've spent many a caffeine-dependent, sleepless night hustling for.
A couple of spoons of Really Good Ground TunuFahi Coffee goes into your French Press, an exquisite corporate gift from a client. Steep for a bit, surely and steadily depress the plunger, and decant into your even more exquisite chinaware. The brew goes down rich and loaded, as you like it. Served with copies of the Wall Street Journal.
Summary steps for brewing using a French Press:
1) Get a good ol' french press.
2) Scoop in Really Good Coffee (ground). Weight of ground coffee for 1 cup of coffee is 15g (estimated 2-3 tablespoon).
3) Boil water, add hot water to coffee ground. The brewing ratio is 1:15 (coffee:water). For 15g of coffee, approximately 225ml of water to be added. You can use a 500ml mineral bottle to gauge if you do not have a measuring jug.
4) Put cap of french press on for 4 minutes with the plunger up.
5) After 4 minutes, press plunger down to push the ground coffee down. Serve coffee, enjoy with your Wall Street Journal.
3. Moka Pot
You're an old school, loyal, conventional traditionalist who continuously waxes lyrical about the nostalgic.
Or if you're a grumpy old fart at heart. And yes, grumpy both before and after your morning coffee.
A day in the morning of you, the moka pot user:
The alarm clock (yes, remember that device, the one that's more trustworthy than your phone?) rings. You hobble to the kitchen, tearing off a sheet from your wall calendar along the way. You put the kettle on the stove, and wait for the morning whistle. You rip open the lid of an airtight container, unveiling your pack of Really Good Ground Eratoi Coffee.
You wait, thinking about the good old days. Days when the term 'coffee brewing' still held some meaning. Days where coffee doesn't magically appear at the push of a button.
The kettle whistle interrupts.
You bring out your beloved Bialetti. Fill the filter basket to the brim with grounds, a pour of boiling water into the bottom chamber, and then it goes on the stove. You want to get the flame right, high enough to create substantial pressure in the bottom chamber, but not so high that it hurts your beloved pot. The last thing you need is a chamber explosion to ruin a decade-long relationship.
The caramelized, syrupy concoction starts flowing into the top of the moka pot, first in a leaky stream, then in a sputtering spout, marking the end of the process. You pour the murky, charred, power-packed brew into a thick rimmed ceramic cup, and sip whilst reading your broadsheet newspaper.
Summary steps for brewing using a Moka Pot:
1) Get your moka pot.
2) Boil water, pour in hot water into the bottom chamber of moka pot.
3) Scoop in 20g of Really Good Coffee (ground) to fill the top filter basket. Weight of ground coffee for 1 cup of coffee is 15g (estimated 2-3 tablespoon).
4) Place pot's filter basket into the bottom compartment. Screw on the pot's sprouted top.
5) Place pot on stove set to medium heat. Your coffee is ready when you hear a hissing, bubbling sound.
You appreciate the, umm you know, artisanal quality of, you know, brewing those, like, third wave beans? Ah yes, that one with the brightly mellow flavor profile. Ah yes yes, the honey roasted plum base notes one.
Well, you appreciate it as long as you look elegant brewing it.
A day in the morning of you, the Chemex user:
You wake not by virtue of a preset alarm, but by natural sunlight and birds chirping on the windowsill. Sitting on the bed in your nightgown, you stretch and ponder about the tough decisions for the day ahead. Manicure or Museum? Brunch or Brekkie?
Decisions, decisions. Might as well first have a coffee to get those cognitive juices flowing. You look at the Chemex on the kitchen counter, and smile to yourself. There is great elegance in simplicity. More importantly, there is greater elegance in your being able to match your coffee brewing apparatus to the Scandinavian interior design of your loft.
You place a carefully unfurled filter into the Chemex, and shift it ever so slightly, not unlike an Ikebana piece of work. Then, the hot water pouring ritual begins. You turn the volume up on your ZenTunes Spotify playlist.
First pour, to wet the filter, before shaking out some Really Good Ground TunuFahi Coffee into the filter. You start the timer. Second pour, the bloom. You wait, and smile as brown bubbles start to form, and smile even wider when the first whiff of cocoa hits your senses. Third pour, the spiral. It's all about rhythm, balance, poise. Something that comes naturally to you, of course. Then, you wait for the drain. You stop your timer at the last drop. 3:30. "Life is beautiful", you think to yourself, as the subtle, delicate overtones of your masterpiece dance ever so lightly on your palette.
Summary steps for brewing using a Chemex:
1) Take out your elegant chemex and gooseneck kettle.
2) Unfurl a piece of filter paper and place it in your chemex. Boil water and pour over the paper filter to remove any paper taste. Pour away the water.
3) Scoop in 50g of Really Good Coffee (ground). Weight of ground coffee for 1 cup of coffee is 15g (estimated 2-3 tablespoon).
4) Start timer. Pour in 100ml of boiling water, starting in the centre. In a circular motion, work your way outwards. Pause for 30s so that the coffee can bloom.
5) Pour in another 200ml of water, spiraling out from the centre and back in. Allow water to drip through the grounds until your timer reads 1:30.
6) Repeat the above with another 200g of water, allow water to drip through the grounds. Repeat once more with 200g of water.
You view yourself as an unconventional, self-expressive, creative-type individual exuding whiffs of "rough chic".
Or, if you own a pair of big, round-rimmed glasses, sans lenses.
A day in the morning of you, the Aeropress user:
You arise, on your haphazardly made futon, by virtue of The Paper Kites' acoustic riffs. You roll the futon up as haphazardly as you made it, leaning it against the wall of your sepia-tinted, B&W picture-plastered room. It was a long, lonely night, spent perched on the rooftop of an office skyscraper, trying to get the perfect cityscape shot on your D5.
Some caffeine'll help. It'll do as an accompaniment to your chia-seed-scattered, puffed millet granola breakfast fixture. You consider your options; it feels like an Aeropress kinda day - one starting off with a fuss free and quick brew, yet imbued with so much character.
You grind a handful of Really Good Single Origin TunuFahi Whole Beans, dump them in the Aeropress chamber, and do a first pour of hot water. Time elapses. You do a second pour to fill the chamber fully, wait a bit, and then agitate the slurry a little. Aeropress filter in its cap, you then fasten it to the main chamber, flip it over and place it atop your KeepCup. You press down on the contraption, applying a steady pressure until you hear the therapeutic sound of hissing, indicating the end of your personalized brewing process. You sip the clean-tasting, bright liquid as you flip through past issues of Kinfolk, looking for your next inspiration.
Summary steps for brewing using an Aeropress:
1) Whip out your handy aeropress.
2) Insert filter paper into aeropress cap.
3) Bring water to boil, wet the filter paper with hot water.
4) Assemble aeropress. Scoop in Really Good Coffee (ground). Weight of ground coffee for 1 cup of coffee is 15g (estimated 2-3 tablespoon).
5) Start timer. Pour in 30ml of boiling water, let it sit for 30s.
6) Pour in another 170ml water. After 1min, stir grounds.
7) Fasten cap and position it over your cup, press down until you hear a hissing sound.
Whatever. What does it matter to you?
A day in the morning of you, the Pourover user:
You wake up thanks to the twin effect of a splitting headache and the desire for bathroom relief; the consequence of last night's shot-pounding session with people whose company you could have done with a little less. You're a little late for work. Sure.
You choose your OOTD by smell - whichever doesn't reek of cigarettes or alcohol. Which reminds you - you forgot to remove the used gym clothes from your exercise bag. From a week ago. You swear profanely, and then swear to get your life together. All this whilst trying to put together a caffeine-centric concoction to get rid of the headache.
At least you're getting a decent, well-balanced brew at the start of the day to neutralize, well, everything else. You scatter some Really Good Ground TunuFahi Coffee into your filter-lined pourover brewer - a cheap, fuss-free device that gets the job done well - and position it on your cup. You start with a slow pour, and gradually go faster as the coffee (and the pounding in your head) starts to swell. You watch the drips, waiting restlessly for that darned last drop to hit your cup. After which, you gulp, and exhale with a semi-resigned sigh.
Summary steps for brewing using Pourover:
1) Get a dripper.
2) Place filter paper on dripper. Place dropper over a jug or cup. Set dripper and jug on a scale and set weight to zero.
3) Bring water to boil, wet the filter paper with hot water.
4) Scoop in 30g of Really Good Coffee (ground). Weight of ground coffee for 1 cup of coffee is 15g (estimated 2-3 tablespoon).
5) Start timer. Pour in water gently, starting from the outer rim moving towards the centre. Stop when scale reads 60g. Pause for 30s.
6) Pour again starting from centre, move in circular motion out to the rim and back in to the centre. Stop when scale reads 150g. Pause for 45s.
7) Repeat step 6, with another 100g of water. When water has dripped to the bottom, repeat with another 100g of water.
You speak in a combination of Klingon, Latin and Mathematical symbols, which puts you in an advantageous position over the rest of humanity when the zombie apocalypse comes. And that you'll still be able to have good coffee when it happens.
A day in the morning of you, the Siphon user:
You wake at 6.17am, as you should, according to your planned sleep cycle routine. Yes. It feels like one of those days where the universe aligns, all systems are in place, and you're back in harness, taking the reins on your existence. What others might call a 'good day'.
You enter the kitchen, and decide to grace the day with a siphon-brewed cuppa. You get your apparatus out and methodically set it up. A scale-measure, and then grind size 27 gets applied to your Really Good Eratoi Coffee Beans; after which it goes straight into the filter-plugged hopper. Next, boiling water in the round-bottomed bulb, which is then attached to the hopper. Carefully ease an open flame towards the base of the contraption. You stare intently at this beautiful setup, and wait for the water to bubble and rise from the bulb into the hopper, mingle with the grounds, and then flow back downwards into the bulb as you slowly ease and extinguish the flame. Pressure, then gravity. Poetry in motion. You imagine yourself giving a TED talk on coffee brewing in your best Attenborough voice.
The moment Nature's laws finish its good work on your coffee, you draft your brew from bulb into cup. Sip. Gentle and delicate on the palate. Pretty good. You make a mental note to tweak the brew timing by +20% and the grind size by -10% during the next iteration; perhaps that'll bring you closer to that elusive perfect siphon brew.
Summary steps for brewing using Siphon:
1) Set up your siphon.
2) Drop filter into hopper, hook to bottom of hopper's glass tubing.
3) Bring water to boil, fill bulb with 300g of hot water.
4) Insert hopper into bulb and set over flame. When water starts boiling, it will rise up into the hopper.
5) Scoop in 25g of Really Good Coffee (ground). Weight of ground coffee for 1 cup of coffee is 15g (estimated 2-3 tablespoon).
5) Let coffee brew for 70s.
6) Remove siphon from flame, stir coffee brew.
7) Your coffee will take another minute or so to drip into the bulb.
About the writer:
Jasper has a tendency to write randomly when left unsupervised in a cafe. He likes few things better than a good fresh brew. Like 2 cups of good fresh brews. Some of his other cafe-fuelled musings (that didn't make it into the grinder) can be found here.