How to Make Great Coffee

I’m not going to insult your intelligence – we all know how to make coffee. But as in writing, it’s beneficial study our craft. To help brew a perfect cup, below are tips from the pros.


Drip

drip brew coffee maker

Depending upon your location, drip brewing is a popular choice. Capable of producing a quality cup of coffee, it is quick, easy, and clean. Tradecraft may argue other methods are superior, but its hard to argue with the fact that millions utilize these machines.

Need:  

  • Drip brewer
  • Filter
  • Coffee, drip grind

Directions:  Use at least 2.5 tablespoons of coffee for every 1 cup (8 ounces) of water. A lower ratio may be used when brewing larger carafes. Best when served fresh.

If you plan on brewing extra coffee to enjoy throughout the morning and topping off your cup, we suggest turning the machine OFF immediately after brewing is complete.  Many heating elements in drip brewers overheat the coffee.  Quality quickly degrades as the pot cooks.  When topping off, simply steam your mug back up with a few seconds in a microwave.


Pour-Over and Chemex

Pour Over Coffee Brewer

Pour Over

Pour-over brewing is a popular method worldwide.  It can quickly produce a high quality cup with minimum hassle and cleanup.  It’s a great way to make one or a couple servings.

Need:

  • Pour-over filter basket (see photo or these examples on Amazon)
  • Cone filter
  • Coffee, drip grind
  • Hot water

Directions:  Heat water to 205 degrees.  That is equivalent to taking boiling water and letting it sit for about 1 minute.  Use 2.5 tablespoons of coffee for every 1 cup (8 ounces) of water.  Wet the filter and then add coffee grounds. Saturate the grounds completely and let the coffee rest, allowing the grounds and oils to bloom. After about 20 seconds, complete your pour.  Enjoy your brew immediately.

Chemex Coffee Brewer

Chemex

Chemex is similar to pour-over but can produce higher quantities whithout losing quality.  It’s a great alternative to a drip brewer and can produce a superior brew

Need:

  • Chemex brewer
  • Chemex filter
  • 8 cups hot water
  • 6 tablespoons coffee, cone grind

Directions:  Heat water to 205 degrees – approximatley one minute off boil.  Wet the filter and add coffee grounds.  Completely saturate the grounds with hot water (bloom pour).  Wait 30 seconds and complete the pour.  Makes six to eight servings.


French Press

french press coffee pot

The French press was first patented by Milanese designer Attilio Calimani in 1929 and has been a coffee lover favorite ever since.  It is capable of producing a strong brew with less coffee.  No filter is required and cleanup is fast.

Need:

  • French Press
  • Coffee, French grind
  • 205 degree hot water – approximately 1 minute off boil.

Directions:  Use 1 tablespoon of coffee per 1 cup (8 ounces) of water.  Add the coffee to the press, then fill with water halfway and wait one minute.  This is the bloom pour.  Add remaining water and let coffee brew for 3 minutes.  Firmly press the screen to the bottom and pour coffee into a mug.  Do not over-brew or coffee will become bitter.


AeroPress

AeroPress coffee maker

An AeroPress is a light, portable brewer capable of making coffee quickly.  Similar to the French Press, it creates a strong brew with fewer grounds.  The main benefit of an AeroPress is a fast brewing time which reduces bitterness and produces smooth cup.

Need:

  • AeroPress
  • AeroPress filter
  • Coffee, drip grind, though the grind is not as critical with an AeroPress.
  • Hot water, 205 degrees – approximately 1 minute off boil.

Directions:  Wet the filter and add coffee.  Use 2.5 tablespoons per 2 cups (16 ounces) of water.  Add water.  Allow the grounds bloom for 15-20 seconds, then press.  Dilute if desired.


Moka Pot

mocha pot brewer

A Moka Pot is a great way to make a strong brew.  It requires no filter – just drip ground coffee and water. Use 2.5 tablespoons of coffee for every 4 cups (32 ounces) of water.

Need:

  • Moka Pot
  • Coffee, drip grind.

Directions:  Add preheated water to the fill line of the brewer.  Add grounds to the Moka Pot basket and screw the top and bottom together.  Using moderate heat, put the brewer on the stove with the lid open.  Do not overheat.  Once the coffee begins to issue in a golden-colored stream, remove from heat and close the lid.  Cool the bottom chamber with a wet towel to cease extraction.  After the coffee stream stops, serve hot, or dilute if desired.


Cold Brew / Toddy

Cold brew coffee

A perfect summertime treat, cold brew coffee can be made in a variety of manners. Since the coffee is brewed cold and over a longer period of time, there is no need to worry about overheating the brew. Basically, all you do is add coarse grounds to cold water, let sit for 24 hours, then filter out the grounds. A variety of brewers such as a Toddy can be utilized if desired, but aren’t necessary.

Need:

  • Jar
  • Coffee, coarse grind
  • Room temperature water

Directions:  Add coffee to a jar and cover with water.  Use an eight to one ratio, water to coffee.  Stir until combined, cover, and sit aside to brew for 18-24 hours at room temperature.

To filter, pour through a cheesecloth, paper filter, cone filter, or other media.  Pictured is a pour-over brewer with a paper filter.  Double-filter if needed.

Dilute if desired.  Chill and serve.


Ranger / Cowboy Coffee

ranger cowboy coffee

Anything goes with this method. For example, drop whole beans in a clean sock, beat it with the butt of your M4 to grind them, then dunk the sock into hot water to steep. The stronger, the better. A staple of warfighters and cowhands for well over a century, this method is great for off-hour watches and early mornings musters.

Not known for its gourmet appeal, this is coffee in its basic form. However, with a few pointers, you can produce a quality brew:

Needed:

  • Water
  • Coffee, whatever grind you happen to have.  If whole bean, utilize a hand grinder.  (Sock method mentioned above is a last resort.)
  • Heat:  Cook stove, camp fire, engine block, or exhaust manifold.

Directions: Use 2 tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee for every 2 cup (8 ounces) of water.  No measuring device?  That’s about this much coffee for that much water…

Heat water to a boil, remove from heat, and wait about 1 minute to cool.  Add coffee grounds, stir, and let brew 2 minutes.  Stir and brew 2 more minutes.  Then sprinkle grounds with cold water to help them settle to the bottom.

Serve immediately.  In other words, the more quickly you get the coffee out of the kettle that contains the grounds, the higher the quality of the brew.  Enjoy!