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Everyone has their own relationship with coffee — whether you’re an abstainer, a devotee, a pragmatist, or a devotee with a strict no-caffeine-past-noon policy. Personally, I am a morning ritualist, which means my day hasn’t started until I’ve carefully prepared my first cup of coffee while listening to the news after feeding the cat. Because everyone’s coffee habits are so different and personal (to sugar or not to sugar?), there is no single best way to make coffee. There are, however, some coffee brewing methods that are better than others.
What Are the Best Ways to Make Coffee?
I’m going to say this now: if you’re the type of coffee drinker that’s perfectly happy with the efficiency of a single-cup maker like a Keurig or Nespresso, this guide is not for you. While these coffee makers are great for coffee drinkers looking for just a quick jolt, they’re certainly not going to provide you with the full depth of the coffee experience. Other methods, such as French press, pour over, or moka pot, can extract the full coffee flavor experience, but your preferred method depends on personal tastes. Whether you prefer the precision of a pour over or the ease of a French press, here are the best ways to use each method.
French Press: You’re likely most familiar with this method, but it’s also likely that you’re not fully optimizing it. In order to ensure the best cup of French press coffee, you should follow these guidelines. First, the beans should be freshly ground to a coarse consistency, as this will produce the best flavor. Next, before you add the grounds, pretreat the beaker by rinsing it in heated water. Then, measure out the amount of coffee you’d like using a kitchen scale, and add double the amount of water and stir to allow the coffee to bloom. Then pour in the rest of the water and let it brew for exactly four minutes, as any less won’t be full brewed and more will over brew creating a bitter taste. Plunge and enjoy.
Pour Over: We also recommend measuring out coffee exactly for this method. After adding coffee, in a circular motion pour twice as much hot water as coffee and wait 30 seconds to let it bloom, just as you did for the French press. After 30 seconds resume pouring the rest of the water, first in a spiral motion then straight down, making sure the grounds stay fully saturated from start to finish.
AeroPress: Measure out your coffee, and grind to a texture a bit finer than sea salt. Next, insert the paper filter into the AeroPress cap and wet the filter, which helps the filter adhere to the cap and warms the vessel. Then assemble your (dry) AeroPress and, using a kitchen scale, add your coffee grounds then twice as much hot water. Make sure the grounds are fully saturated, wait 30 seconds to let the coffee bloom, then pour the rest of the water, stir to agitate, and lock in the lid. Quickly flip the device over and onto your brew vessel, plunge, and enjoy.
Moka Pot: For the moka pot, you want to grind the beans quite finely, to about the texture of table salt. Fill the bottom half of the pot with boiling water and fill the pot’s filter basket with ground coffee. Screw on the top and heat the pot on the stove over medium heat, which will push the heated water in the bottom chamber into the top, brewing your coffee. When you hear a hissing sound, your coffee is all ready to go.
1. Mueller French Press
While there are plenty of French press models and designs to choose from, all of which will more or less get you the same result, we like this Mueller version because the stainless steel insulated body does a better job of keeping your brew warmer than glass French press beakers do. It also has a large, 32 oz. capacity and a three-layer filter to keep grounds and sediment from getting into the liquid.
2. Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker
In addition to ease-of-use and classic, elegant design, we like the Bodum pour-over coffee maker’s stainless steel mesh permanent filter — meaning no more wasting and replacing paper filters — as well as the attractive-yet-functional cork holder. The whole apparatus is easy to use and dishwasher-safe, and can make eight cups of coffee at once.
3. AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
The original AeroPress makes quick and easy French press coffee without the long brew time or bitterness that some French presses can deliver. And because it’s so small and portable, it’s easy to take with you when hiking, boating, camping, or anywhere really. This AeroPress set comes with the press, funnel, scoop, stirrer, 350 microfilters and a filter holder included.
4. Bialetti Express Moka Pot
The Italian Bialetti moka pot is a classic for espresso lovers without an espresso machine budget — or anyone who wants a quick cup of strong coffee on the stove. The Bialetti pot is made from quality aluminum in the signature octagon shape, and produces velvety smooth espresso and coffee on the stovetop in mere minutes. This pot makes 9.2 ounces of coffee — enough for one full mug.