How to brew is a matter of personal choice. It really depends on what you like both in terms of what the brewed coffee tastes like and how you get there. For some it is fun to go through an elaborate process and for others, they’d prefer it just magically happen. If you prefer an automatic coffee maker, skip down to the second section. Prefer french press? Check out this guide. Otherwise, I like to use the Hario V60 dripper – simple and inexpensive, Here is how I do it:
Manual Brewing with the Hario V60 dripper
What you need
- Hario V60 Coffee Dripper (Size 02) ~$20
- Hario V60 Paper Filter (Size 02) ~$6 for 100
- Coffee grinder*
- Boil your water
- Put a filter in the dripper on the cup
- Pour a little hot water to warm your dripper, cup and wash the filter
- Empty the cup
- Grind your coffee and put in filter**
- Pour in just enough hot water to wet the coffee
- Wait about 30 seconds
- Fill the dripper with about ½ your mugs worth of water and stir briefly to make sure the grounds are not clumped
- Either slowly continuously pour or periodically fill the dripper
- Wait till it is done dripping
To adjust taste, adjust the grind. Too strong? Use a coarse grind. Too weak, use a finer grind.
The most common barrier to brewing a good cup at home is grinding. If you are using a blade/spice mill type of grinder – know that you can do better. If you are buying pre-ground coffee, know that you can do better grinding it just before brewing.
A burr type coffee grinder is what you want. There are dozens different ones available on Amazon from $30+. If it doesn’t say burr, don’t buy it.
If you want a step up, consider the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder about $130. Its what I use and it has been great.
If you want a daily forearm workout, some people like using a hand grinder. A good one will cost about $40. They are also not adjustable, or easily adjustable.
** How much coffee?
A general guideline is called the “Golden Ratio” – one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. Check the cup lines or indicators on your specific brewer to see how they actually measure.
If you want to get more specific… read the whole guide here.
Or if you’d like to really geek out… The Specialty Coffee Association of America says
Ratio of Coffee-to-Water (55 g/L ± 10%)
Automatic coffee maker advice
Most automatic coffee makers have two problems.
- The water is not hot enough. It should be around 200°F for coffee brewing and a lot of brewers just don’t get there or are inconsistent.
- The don’t hold enough coffee grounds. Or if you do put enough coffee into it, it can overflow.
Finally a problem that money can solve! Check out he video below from America’s Test Kitchen – but here is the short of it.
Bonavita BV1800 8-Cup Coffee Maker ~$100. This is a good machine. We had one in our office for a while. It’s a nice design and brews decent coffee. We got it used quite cheap but it eventually kicked the bucket. That is why I include the next option.
Moccamaster KBT 10-Cup Coffee Brewer ~$300. This is as good as it gets. Also a design built to last. The company supports them well, so you can be confidant that it will last.