Brewing excellent coffee at home can prove rather tricky and even intimidating. If you’re looking to step up your coffee game and learn how to make great coffee at home, this guide will give you all the info you need to brew a beautiful cup of coffee from the comforts of your own kitchen.
Here are a handful of beginner tips:
- Different brewing methods require different sized grinds. How fine or coarse your coffee beans are ground makes a big difference in how tasty your coffee will be!
- Follow a recipe! Just like most activities in the kitchen, coffee brewing involves recipes, which can differ from person to person. If you don’t like how one cup tastes, try looking up different recipes online!
- How much coffee you use matters—a lot. Coffee brewing is truly a science. In order to get the best cup, make sure you’re measuring how much coffee you’re using!
- If possible, use a scale. Most coffee recipes weigh beans in grams rather than using measurements like tablespoons. This is because a tablespoon will hold differing amounts of coffee depending on the grind size. For consistency regardless of grind sizes, use a kitchen scale to measure your beans!
Electric Batch Brewers/Single Serve Coffee Maker
Two of the most common at-home coffee machines are electric batch brewers and single serve coffee makers, such as Keurigs. Both methods are forms of filter coffee.
Despite their popularity in the household kitchen, Keurigs aren’t actually recommended for true coffee lovers. In addition to being bad for the environment, K-Cups are filled with low-quality stale beans yet are incredibly expensive. The rapid-brewing technology used by single serve coffee makers isn’t doing your coffee any favors; the best coffee is rarely the fastest coffee coffee. It’s important to understand the basics of the coffee extraction process when striving to step up your coffee game.
Although batch brewers are held in better regard than single serve coffee makers and can make a fine cup of coffee, for batch brew lovers looking to upgrade, we recommend trying your hand at pour-over techniques.
The French press is a full-immersion brewing method that involves soaking coffee grounds in water and pressing a filter into the coffee to separate the grounds. Because of its simplicity, the French press is a great option for those who are looking to upgrade from a drip machine but want less involvement during the brewing process.
The French press requires coarse coffee grounds. This is due to the soaking process as well as the size of the holes in French press filters. If you get your coffee ground at Ironclad, we would recommend a grind size between 9.5 and 10, although this number is specific to Ironclad and changes depending on the grinder being used.
The Aero-press is full-immersion like the French press but has several distinct differences. First, the Aeropress sits on top of your mug. It’s brewed by pushing the water through a fine paper or metal filter sediment using a silicone plunger (no, not the one used in your bathroom). Though it only brews a single serving of coffee at a time, its size and durability makes it the perfect travelling companion.
There are two popular methods of brewing with the Aeropress: the Standard Method (left) and the Inverted Method (right), both of which produce a delightful final result.
Recipes for the Aeropress vary widely, with many recipes recommending medium or fine grinds.
A Moka pot is a stove-top immersion-brewing method that is perfect for those looking to make espresso-like coffee at home while saving money. Although Moka pots don’t make true espresso, they do brew strong and robust coffee using a medium-fine grind that can be mixed beautifully with milk or water to make at-home lattes or americanos.
Pour-overs are a popular filter brewing method that is favored among coffee enthusiasts. It requires more involvement during the brewing process but gives you more control over the final product.
The internet is saturated with thousands of pour-over recipes and the options are endless, but most pour-overs require a finer grind (at Ironclad, we would recommend an 8.5). For those less familiar with the pour-over method, we would recommend either a Chemex or a V60 brewer.
The Chemex is a true crowd-pleaser. With an hourglass-like shape and a large carafe, it’s perfect for brewing multiple cups at a time and is therefore a great step-up from traditional batch brewers with a pot. Chemex are also fantastic for brewing iced coffee, as the bottom carafe is the perfect container for ice. The forgiving nature of Chemex makes them excellent for pour-over beginners.
Unlike the Chemex, the V60 brews one cup at a time, making it a great replacement for single serve electric brewers. Though they require more skill and knowledge in the brewing process, V60s are perfect for those who feel comfortable working with coffee but want to step outside their comfort zone.
Choosing the Right Beans
No matter your brew method, choosing the right coffee beans is also essential to getting the most out of every cup. Ironclad sells beautifully-roasted and ethically-sourced specialty beans so you can enjoy your coffee while resting assured that your money is making a difference. We also offer a prepack coffee guide (coming soon) to help you find your perfect match!