Coffee brewers are easy. About 90% of the Finnish people start their day with filter coffee brewed by a traditional coffee brewer. Basically everyone knows how to use them. Measure your beans and water and you’re good to go. Remember to use fresh water and a separate pitcher to add the water to the brewer with a different pitcher than the glass pot from the brewer.
I’ve noticed that the biggest difference between cheap and expensive brewers is how temperature stable they are and how do them distribute water to the coffee bed. Cheaper brewer might not heat the water to adequate temperature thus not brewing all the flavors from the coffee. Also water distribution might be too “simple” when the brewer is distributing water only to the middle of the coffee bed which doesn’t brew evenly all the flavors. Rule of thumb is that more expensive brewers do these things better and cheaper ones do these things not so well.
Commercial coffee brewers have advanced a lot during the recent years. Nowadays you are able to have same kind of results with coffee brewers than with manual brewing. You can set up different recipes with the brewers (blooming time, blooming temperature, water flow, water temperature). Unfortunately, these brewers aren’t that common, at least here in Finland, because they are quite expensive. But these are going to be the future of coffee brewers and we are able to set up recipes for different coffees and get the best out of them in an easy way.
How to Brew Coffee Manually and What are The Differences Between Brewing Methods?
Pour over and other manual brewing methods are my absolute favorites. There is something super interesting about brewing your coffee manually and making it taste better. Also one reason behind the better taste is that with manual brewing the process is much more precise and controllable. I actually gave my coffee brewer to a friend because I fell in love with manual brewing methods and noticed that I wasn’t using my coffee brewer anymore.
How to brew coffee with pour over?
For all of these methods you will need a scale, a grinder, a water boiler, a timer and also a kettle comes in handy. Kettles are in many shapes and sizes but the most important factor is that the kettle has a goose neck so that the water distribution is as controllable as possible.
Chemex was invented by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm in the early 1940’s when he wanted to have something that would brew enjoyable cup of coffee but at the same time be a thing of beauty. He had excellent background for this task being a chemist so he understood the factors behind extraction. In my opinion he hit a homerun in both beauty and taste. What makes Chemex unique, besides looks, is its double bonded paper filter which have a big effect on the taste nuances in your cup. The double filter paper filters most of the fats and fibers that coffee has. The fats and fibers are the ones which make the coffee have full bodied flavor and kind of syrupy mouthfeel.
Due to the great flavors from Chemex, it is also the hardest to use. It requires a bit coarser grind than v60, Aeropress or Wave and creating a good recipe requires excellent and precise dripping technique. Start from the middle and again use spiral moves until you hit the edges. I’ve noticed that with Chemex you have to drip a bit more aggressively to achieve adequate brew time.
We haven’t talked about brew time yet. Brew time means the time that water and ground coffee are in contact. With filter coffee there are two methods how water and coffee can interact with each other; flow through and immersion. Flow through is the more traditional method to make filter coffee where the water flows through the coffee. This method is used in coffee brewers, v60, Chemex and many more. Immersion is the not that common way where the water and the coffee are freely in same space for a certain time and filtered after that. Immersion is used in French press, Aeropress and Clever Dripper for example. To make things even more confusing I have to mention that Aeropress and Clever are both actually hybrids where you have both flow through and immersion.