There are many methods to brewing coffee and coffee lovers who are adventurous with experimenting the different methods are usually rewarded by the wide range of coffee tastes that they can get. With so many methods to choose from, where should one start? Here at Alliance coffee, we aim to provide coffee lovers with a bird’s eye view to coffee brewing. As coffee brewing evolves with the coffee community, we will keep this guide updated for your convenience. Without further ado…
This is the Ultimate Coffee Brewing Guide.
Basics of Coffee Brewing
Before we go in depth into the various brewing methods, let’s talk about the brewing process. Because, ultimately all the brewing methods make use of the same underlying principles.
There are 3 main parts to coffee brewing, as summarized above.
#1: Increase Surface Area of the coffee beans
This process involves GRINDING the beans into coffee grounds. The process of grinding will increase the surface area of the coffee that is being exposed to the water during brewing.
This increase in surface area also exposes more of the coffee to air. If left in the open for too long, all the aromatic compounds from the coffee will escape and the coffee grounds become flat and tasteless. Therefore, it is advisable to only grind your coffee when you are ready to brew. Alternatively, store coffee grounds in an airtight container in a dark environment to increase the lifespan slightly.
#2: Wet the coffee and release the CO2
After grinding, hot water is usually added to the dry coffee grounds to wet them. During this process, water will soak the grounds and force the remaining carbon dioxide from the grounds out. This process usually takes just 30 to 45 seconds.
Fresh coffee grounds will expand and rise up, with bubbles on the surface as the carbon dioxide in the grounds are released from the grounds quickly – this is also known as ‘the coffee bloom‘. Stale coffee grounds do not bloom as much, and some may not bloom at all because all the carbon dioxide in these grounds have already escaped to the surrounding environment. This usually suggests that the aromatic compounds have also been lost.
After the blooming, comes the extraction!
This is the exciting part from which the delicious coffee is extracted from the grounds, into the water. The timing for the extraction varies depending on the brewing method used. Some methods also make use of pressure during the extraction process.
There are 2 parts to this process;
- a) Aromatic and Delicious coffee solutes dissolves
This process occurs within the coffee grounds, and is the reason why the wetting step (Step #2) is so important.
Within the coffee, the delicious solutes will dissolve into the water first (followed by the ill-tasting solutes). When brewing coffee, one often has to know when to stop the extraction in time, preventing the ill-tasting solutes from being extracted (over extraction).
- b) Dissolved coffee extract diffuses out of the coffee grounds into the surrounding water via osmosis
This process occurs slightly after a.
Osmosis allows the dissolved coffee solutes to diffuse out of the coffee grounds into the surrounding water.
Coffee Brewing Methods
There are various methods to brew coffee.
Coffee lovers should experiment with the various methods to expand their knowledge and possibly be exposed to new flavors of coffee.
If you’re already brewing coffee, the following may not apply to you.
These are the criteria we suggest for new coffee brewers:
- Speed of brewing process
- Level of complexity
- Cost of equipment
- Aftermath (cleaning up process)
In this Ultimate Coffee Brewing Guide, we will talk about various methods of coffee brewing, based on the criteria above. However, we at Alliance Coffee would highly recommend that coffee lovers remain adventurous and try the different coffee brewing methods available to us today.
HIGHLY recommended for all coffee lovers. The Aeropress allows coffee lovers to be able to brew a cup of espresso in a minute. It is highly versatile and therefore little expertise or technical skill is required to brew coffee using the Aeropress. Most people can brew their coffee in just 3 steps: Load, Press and Dilute.
The Aeropress also does not require much clean up. Just dump the coffee puck and the filter and simple rinse the aeropress. Plus, it is relatively affordable.
Read our Aeropress brewing guide here.
Relatively easy to operate and low cost, the French Press is another popular choice among beginner coffee brewers. The French Press is less versatile compared to the Aeropress and requires a little more effort to clean up as the coffee grounds tend to get stuck at the base of the French Press.
Some coffee lovers do not recommend the French Press as it produces a mucky cup due to fine residues that escape the filter on the plunger.
How to Brew with French Press
There are many variations to a french press recipes, this is our preference.
We use a 1:17 brew ratio for french press. If you like something stronger, try a 1:15 ratio. On the contrary, if you want a weaker coffee, go for a 1:18 or 1:19 ratio instead.
Warm your french press with hot water before brewing.
- Weigh 15g of coffee beans and ground them at a medium coarse setting.
- Add coffee grounds into your French Press.
- Add 250g of hot water (between 95°C to 97°C is good), make sure all the grounds are wet.
- Let it steep for 4 minutes.
- Stir the grounds after 4 minutes.
- Put plunger on and press at a slow, constant pace.
- Pour and serve.
- Add sugar or milk to taste if you do not enjoy your coffee black.
The Pour Over requires a certain level of skill and patience on the coffee brewer’s part. During the brewing process, one must control the speed at which water is introduced to the coffee grounds. More time is also required to allow the brewed coffee to drip into the collecting cup. However, coffee lovers are often intrigued by this method and the cup of coffee brewed via pour over often seem way more rewarding compared to the rest of the brewing methods.
Read our drip coffee brewing guide here.
This method requires some knowledge, skill and most often, a costly equipment.
Coffee lovers who’d like to brew coffee at home should only consider this when you are certain that you will be drinking and experimenting with coffee brewing frequently. Due to the cost and technical expertise required, the espresso machine is NOT recommended for beginners.
Cleaning up the machine after brewing a cup of coffee requires more effort and time compared to the rest of the brewing methods.
I hope this guide gave you a good place to start brewing your own coffee at home. If you’d like to support local coffee roasters, see our list of Singapore Specialty Coffee Roasters here.