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Entertaining

How to Brew Coffee

A cup of joe isn't what it used to be. Traditional coffee makers have been replaced by Keurigs®, French presses, Nespresso® machines, and high-tech drip coffee makers. Beans are imported from across the globe, packaged under swanky names. Navigating the caffeinated landscape can be tough nowadays–but we think we can help boost your homemade morning brew.

Making any coffee is easy. But making good coffee is an art form—and it all starts with the right foundation: the bean. Coffee beans can be fussy. They need to be the right grind, temperature, and pressure—and those specifications are very different depending on your taste. Coffee lovers know that subtle distinctions make a world of difference.

Bodum French press coffee maker Chemex pour over coffee makers

Follow these tips on how to brew coffee by type:

French Press & Pour Over.

If you’re a purist with a penchant for earthy aromas, this is definitely your java jive. With nothing more than finely ground coffee beans, a sifter, and boiling water, you have the ability to make a great cup of joe. When it comes to pour-over coffee making–literally pouring hot water over grinds filtered through paper, dripping into an hourglass carafe–we recommend the exceptional quality of Chemex. Coffee connoisseurs often gravitate to the simplicity and organic component of this method. But for a richer, fuller-bodied brew, using a French press is easily the way to go. Using a cylindrical beaker and plunger with a mesh piston, you’re able to squeeze and extract all of the flavor from the beans–and you can actually see the oil from the beans glistening throughout the blend. If you’re looking for a nice press, try the Bodum line. Fun fact: French press caffeinated coffee is higher in cholesterol due to the excess oil filtered through. However, decaf coffee beans have the oil extracted, so your coffee will actually resemble drip coffee if you use decaf beans in your French press.

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Espresso.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is a chic, European-inspired favorite: the espresso machine. The lovely whir of the machine, the lulling white noise of the steaming wand in action, the steam rising up in anticipation…it’s a charming device. When it comes to a good shot of espresso, the grind size and dosage of your beans, as well as the pressure with which you tamp them, is really the key. This affects how quickly the water will flow through the coffee, and dictates your total brew time. As a general rule: The finer the grind, and the harder you tamp, the stronger and longer the shot pulls. There is definitely a sweet spot that you want to achieve here. If your pour is taking any more than 30 seconds, it will be far too bitter and strong. What you want is a caramel-colored, creamy pour in the 20-30 second range. You should be able to see a chocolate brown base, light fluffy crema on top, and a blend of the hues in between–creating the caramel effect. Try DeLonghi machines, and discover your inner barista in the comfort of your own home.

Cuisinart automatic drip coffee maker Cuisinart coffee maker Automatic drip coffee maker

Drip Coffee.

The basics have gotten much broader, and today’s coffee maker is a more sophisticated version of its 50’s self. You can now brew coffee one cup at a time or a traditional full pot, control its brew strength, and even set a timer for it to begin each day. You can never go wrong with the Cuisinart and Breville lines, which mingle a sleek appearance with a high quality system. Drip coffee is also the basis for iced coffee–but the key is to make the grinds about 1.5 times as strong, to compensate for the ice watering it down. You can do this with either a finer ground, or by increasing the amount of coarser grinds in the filter pot. Fun fact: Plain drip coffee actually has more caffeine than espresso–actually 2.3 times as much on average.

Whether you like light and simple, trendy and strong, or pure and rich—there’s a java for you. Happy brewing.

How do you brew the perfect cup of coffee? Share your ideas with us by using the hashtag #CrateStyle.

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