Coffee House Luxury at Home: 4 Ways to Brew the Perfect Cup

Normal filter coffee will always be a classic... but what about other methods? Give them a try!

Coffee House Luxury at Home: 4 Ways to Brew the Perfect Cup

It doesn’t matter if you rush through your mornings or prefer to take them at a slow place: Our product comparison will show you which preparation method suits your needs best and which coffee makers will be sure to impress you. We'll introduce you to four different ways of making coffee, explain how each method works, and list the advantages and disadvantages.

Whichever method you choose, we always recommend using a handheld coffee grinder so you can set the appropriate grinding degree for your favourite method. Freshly ground coffee is not only tasty: in many preparation methods, the taste depends on the grind size of the bean. Some machines will only work properly if the coffee has been ground properly. In addition, you shouldn't just guess the right amount of coffee beans: use a precision scale to weigh them. Alternatively, you can use a digital kitchen scale with gram display.

Espresso Maker on the Stove

Espresso Maker on the Stove

1. Espresso Makers

This octagonal coffee maker from Italy is now offered by many different manufacturers, but the original comes from Bialetti and was developed in 1945 by Alfonso Bialetti. Today, in addition to the octagonal model, the pot is also available in other design variants: there are even some that are suitable for induction stoves.

The principle is very simple. First, dismantle the pot into its three individual parts: boiler, funnel insert and collection container. Fill the lower part, the kettle, with hot water, place the funnel insert back inside and fill it completely with ground coffee. Important: do not press the coffee or press it into the sieve insert. Finally, screw on the upper piece and place on the burner.

The water in the kettle begins to evaporate and the resulting pressure forces the hot water through the coffee, a sieve and the riser pipe, into the collecting container. If it becomes blocked, the pressure escapes through the safety valve in the lower part. You can vary the amount of water, but it should not be higher than the valve.

Tip: If the coffee runs out of the riser pipe into the upper section, remove the pot from the stove after a short time. If it stays too long on the burner, the resulting coffee may taste burnt. The same happens if the stove is too hot. Prepare best at medium to high heat, but not at maximum heat.

Advantages:

Quick: With little effort, you can prepare your morning coffee in no time at all. It only takes a few minutes from preparing the pot to enjoying it in the cup. 

Cost-effective: you don't need a filter or any other equipment apart from the Bialetti. Apart from your personal favourite coffee, there are no further costs after the purchase of the jug.

Disadvantages:

Not dishwasher safe: If you want to enjoy your espresso pot for a long time, rinse it by hand and make sure that it is completely dry before screwing it back together again. Otherwise, the pot could mould from the inside. Since there is no filter that you can remove and throw away, you have to empty and rinse the funnel manually. But that's not much extra work.


Recommended grind size: fine to medium (slightly coarser than espresso, but finer than normal filter coffee).

Bialetti Moka Express

Chemex

Chemex

2. Chemex

The Chemex is definitely one of the most stylish ways to enjoy a filter coffee. The carafe even made it into the collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1958 as "one of the best designed modern products". The shape of the glass carafe is a little reminiscent of the glass flasks used in chemistry lessons, and in fact, the coffee preparation with the Chemex also resembles a mini science experiment. The name already indicates the origin of the preparation method, because in 1941 it was actually an American chemist, Peter Schlumbohm, who invented the filter coffee machine made of glass.

The brewing process is based on the filter coffee principle. However, you should make sure that the brewing time does not exceed three minutes. If you like to experiment with taste, the Chemex is just right for you. But to produce the tastiest result, it may take a couple of practice rounds. How coarse or fine your coffee should be ground and how much water to use is an individual preference that you can test out on your own. Though we recommend about 38 g of coffee per 600 ml of water to start out. 

Tip: The Chemex can also be used as a water carafe and is a real eye-catcher.

Advantages:

Great design: The Chemex is particularly aesthetically pleasing. On the coffee table, it serves a second purpose as a centrepiece.

Easy to clean: It is often sufficient to simply rinse the carafe with water. Cleaning the carafe in the dishwasher every once in a while shouldn’t be an issue. The heat protection made of wood can easily be removed and reattached after washing.

Disadvantages:

Expensive special filters: For your Chemex you need special filters, which you then fold yourself. Compared to the usual coffee filters in the supermarket, these are significantly more expensive.

Cool down quickly: The Chemex is relatively large and made of glass. Since it is also open at the top, the coffee cools down relatively quickly without a lid.


Recommended grinding degree: medium (slightly coarser than normal filter coffee but finer than in the French Press).

Chemex

French Press

French Press

3. French Press

In the 19th century, coffee grounds were boiled together with water and people would wait for the grounds to settle before drinking it. A coffee lover from France is said to have forgotten to put the coffee grounds in the water. He then decided to simply pour the boiling water over the ground coffee and filter it afterwards - voilà, the French Press was born.

In the 1970s, the Danish company Bodum further developed the popular press pot and, above all, optimised the design. Not only did the pot win a design award: it was also voted the most environmentally friendly coffee maker by international media.

The French Press is a full immersion coffee maker. With this method, the coffee powder is in continuous contact with the water and is filtered out later. This gives the coffee a full and strong aroma, as the long contact time dissolves many oils and fats. Thanks to the filtered plunger, which separates grounds and liquid from each other, the French Press can do without a paper filter. 

Preparation couldn't be easier. Allow the boiling water to cool for half a minute and then quickly pour onto the ground coffee in the pot. We recommend about 65 grams of coffee per litre. Stir briefly and close with the lid. Press down the filter integrated into the lid until the rising coffee cannot reach the surface of the water. This way, you can ensure that the entire coffee really does steep in the water. The ideal preparation time is four minutes. After three and a half minutes, stir one last time and skim off the foam. Press down the plunger at a steady pace, and the coffee is ready!

Tip: It is best to pour the coffee immediately, otherwise it tastes bitter.

Advantages:

Easy cleaning: The pot and sieve stamp can be cleaned quickly and easily with warm water. Some models are even dishwasher safe.

Environmentally-friendly: The jug does not need a paper filter.

Cost-effective: Robust and long-lasting press cans are available for very little money, which you can enjoy for a long time with good care.

Disadvantage:

Quantity: Although small models are also available, it is difficult to prepare a single cup.


Recommended grinding degree: medium to coarse (slightly coarser than in normal filter coffee).

French Press

Fopur hands holding up pieces of an AeroPress

AeroPress

4. AeroPress

The AeroPress consists of three parts: The brewing cylinder, into which the grounds and the water are filled, the filter attachment, which is screwed onto this cylinder and in which a paper filter is located, and the press piston, with which the coffee-water mixture is pressed through the filter. However, the piston does not touch the coffee directly, but always pushes an air barrier in front of it, to which the AeroPress owes its name.

Preparing coffee with the AeroPress is similar to the principle of the French Press. In this method, too, the ground coffee is infused with the water for the entire preparation process. The water should be slightly colder when preparing with the AeroPress than with other preparation methods. Let the boiling water cool down to about 80 °C for half a minute longer than usual. While you are waiting for the right temperature, you can insert the paper filter into the filter attachment and rinse it briefly with hot water. This prevents the paper filter from giving its own taste to the coffee.

Now assemble the AeroPress by placing the brewing cylinder on the press piston (the part with the rubber seal facing upwards). Push the two parts together until the rubber seal of the piston is at the level of the "4" mark. Place the Aeropress on the fine balance and pour about 16 g of coffee into the brewing cylinder for one cup of coffee (200 ml). Now pour 150 ml of water onto the ground coffee, stir and fill in the remaining 50 ml. After half a minute unscrew the filter attachment with the paper filter, turn the AeroPress around and place it directly on your cup. Don't worry, the negative pressure won't let any coffee run out during this process. Now press down the plunger very slowly and pour the coffee directly into your cup.

Tip: Water temperature and amount of coffee and water have an effect on the taste of the coffee. Also with this kind of preparation, it is recommended to experiment for a while and to keep a small "coffee diary" in which you note down the amount of water and coffee, the water temperature, and the brewing time. This way you can find out how your coffee tastes best in the AeroPress.

If you don't want to use paper filters, you can use a fine stainless steel mesh disc instead of the filter. This is of course reusable.

Advantages:

Travel-friendly: The AeroPress is extremely light with its 180 g and can therefore be easily taken on trips or camping trips.

Coffee grounds disposal: The coffee disc and filter can be disposed of directly from the Aeropress in the trash can.

Easy cleaning: Clean the rubber seals, rinse AeroPress and allow to dry.

Disadvantages:

Design: It isn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing.

Quantity: Only one cup of coffee can be produced at a time.


Recommended grinding degree: fine to medium (grain size similar to standard table salt).


AeroPress