‘How do you take yours?’ The title of one of my first presentations on the history of coffee brewing and how different cultures around the world enjoy their daily brew. At that time, it covered just five key brewing methods: Turkish, French Press, Filter, Stove top and Espresso. Often, in the more multi-cultural sessions, there were personal experiences, insights and a good level of debate into the virtues of each.
That was almost 15 years ago now and coffee brewing has truly evolved since then. V60, Aeropress, Syphon, cold brew and Clever Dripper are just some of the alternative brew methods on the market today. There is now much less cultural differentiation in brewing as the artisan coffee world is brought together through competitions, forums and events that foster education and the sharing of techniques to create the perfect cup.
This is very exciting for home baristas and professional barista alike. Though possibly a bit daunting if you find a list of brews you’ve not heard of on the menu in a coffee shop. Be re-assured that many of these new brew methods are just more sophisticated versions of some of the classics, classics that can still make an exceptional brew if used well with fresh, good quality coffee. Some are hybrids, mixing the principles of different methods designed to give the best of both or all.
What is very exciting is that coffee brewing has become more scientific. We understand to a better degree how to control the extraction of the compounds in the coffee bean to achieve the best taste, flavour and all important balance in a cup. Scales, probes, refractometers and extract mojos are common place in the coffee professional’s lab.
Good news! Similar results can be achieved at home, in your own kitchen, by using some basic techniques, equipment you probably have already and just a little understanding of brewing theory and sensory evaluation. This will enable you to both perfect and then refine to your own taste.
Coffee brewing has never before been such a personal thing, and now with so much choice we can explore and chose a method and recipe that suits us best whether it is for taste, ease, or aesthetics.
‘How do you take yours?’ is not about ‘milk and two sugars’ it’s about how you choose to brew this wonderful bean to draw out and enjoy the flavour potential inside.
In a future post I will outline the key principles for achieving delicious coffee at home and perhaps some more detailed guides to specific brewers.
In the mean- time I would love to learn;
How do you take yours?
What’s your preferred brew method and why?