Have you ever gotten into a discussion with someone over the best way to brew coffee? If you have, you've probably discovered that there are almost as many ways to brew coffee as there are people who drink it. Before you marry yourself to a particular brewing method, here are some common coffee brewing methods you might want to try. You never know. Maybe you'll think one of them is beyond delicious.
Common wisdom states that coffee should never be boiled lest it take on a bitter taste, but actually some methods that are widely used in Scandinavia, Turkey, and around campfires call for boiling. You can try this method while camping in the backyard. Place ground coffee and water in a pot and bring to a boil for an instant before removing from heat. If the coffee is finely ground it doesn't need to be filtered because it will sink to the bottom.
Steeping (or soaking) is more commonly used as a tea preparation method, but it can be used on coffee too. It's most common in France and Malaysia. You can steep coffee in bags like tea or you can use a press. You might find a French Press in the cupboard. It's a cylinder with a plunger. You pour the water in, then wait a few minutes and press the plunger to force the coffee through a filter to remove the grounds. Vacuum brewers and Aeropresses are also steeping methods.
Gravity brewing is the method we're most familiar with in North America. Gravity brewing is how our electric coffee makers work at home and how most coffee shops prepare their coffee. Busy professionals prefer this method because the machines can be set automatically. They work by heating the water and letting it drip through a paper filter filled with ground coffee into a warmed carafe underneath.
Forcing water at high pressures and temperatures through the coffee filter is known as pressure brewing. Pressures used in this type of brewing are eight or nine times the normal atmospheric pressure. The resulting coffee is thicker and stronger with a layer of foam on the top and is known as espresso. This brewing method is popular in Italy but espresso machines are also found in many homes in North American.