Coffee is such a massive part of many people’s daily routine. Whether it’s that kick you need in the morning or the motivation juice for work or personal projects, it helps many people through their day. We in England have come a long way in methods of preparing coffee, with more and more moving away from instant coffee to more pure methods of brewing.
As England becomes more familiar with coffee it also becomes more exposed to all the different coffee brewing methods and coffee machines. You can brew the same coffee bean in different ways, giving you wildly different cups of coffee. While we love pulling an espresso shot here at 80 Stone, and our La Marzocco coffee machine sits proudly in our roastery, as professional coffee roasters and coffee enthusiasts we love to experiment with other brewing methods.
Alongside our professional espresso coffee machines, we use some fun machines suitable for the home too. Here are some of our favourite brewing methods you can try out yourselves to bring out the best in our wholesale coffee.
The Science Behind Brewing Coffee
Making a good cup of coffee may seem like a simple procedure, just boil water, add to drip machine and drink. Simple right? Coffee shops make it look so easy. This however is a simplified way to look at things, coffee brewing is actually a delicate science.
Coffee can be brewed in several different ways, but these methods fall into four main groups depending on how the water is introduced to the coffee grounds: decoction (through boiling), infusion (through steeping), gravitational feed (used with percolators and drip brewing), or pressurised percolation (as with espresso). Percolation is the process of a liquid slowly passing through a filter.
Scientifically speaking, brewing coffee is the process of extracting the soluble material in roasted and ground coffee. As this coffee is brewed in hot water, hundreds of unique compounds are extracted from the ground beans – creating brewed coffee.
How Coffee Machines and Brewing Methods Affect Taste
Using different brewing methods allow you to experiment and discover new tastes in coffee beans you thought you’d figured out. Using a mathematical approach when brewing coffee allows you to fine-tune the tastes. Some of the brewing parameters that can be altered to suit a coffee brewing method are:
- The coarseness of the grind
- The temperature of the extraction
- The duration of the extraction
- The coffee to water ratio
Sometimes a brewing method that works well for one type of coffee might not work as well for another. As a general rule, a finer ground coffee requires shorter extraction time. Having certain coffees ground this fine and extracted so quickly don’t often work with their flavour profile.
For example, a bright coffee can taste sour and unbalanced if prepared by machines with a short extraction time, such as espresso machines. Let’s look at our favourite machines and how they make a great cup of coffee.
This method is loved by coffee aficionados across the world. There is even a huge annual competition based solely around who can make the best coffee using an Aeropress. It is loved by many due to the short extraction time, allowing it to create coffee similar to espresso shots without all the equipment. A human couldn’t produce the massive amount of pressure needed to make espresso but this machine gives, arguably, the closest thing to an Espresso shot.
The Aeropress straddles a couple of brewing methods and works through a combination of immersion and pressure. This then will produce a small amount of strong coffee ‘concentrate.’ This is like your standard brewed coffee but much thicker and so it can be used like espresso to make drinks such as Cappuccinos and Lattes.
We love it because of the convenience it brings, the taste isn’t the same as espresso but it has a smooth flavour that is unique to the machine. It also allows us to be geeky when creating coffee ass encourages experimenting with measurements of the different components with the minimalistic nature of brewing.
What really makes the AeroPress such a great coffee maker is just how versatile it is. There are a lot of ways you can use it. Most other coffee brewing contraptions one has only one best way to brew coffee. The AeroPress has at least three different ways to brew coffee: espresso-like, pour over-esque, and french press-ish. Each way is completely legitimate and delicious.
Moka Pot / Stovetop Espresso Maker
A real classic coffee brewing machine is the Moka Pot. Similar to the Aeropress, it’s love due to the fact it can create espresso-like coffee without the huge machinery. This little guy was invented in Italy about 70 years ago and is still very popular in some European and Latin American countries.
It doesn’t technically make espresso. ‘Espresso’ in the original Italian means ‘pressed’. It is made with a high amount of pressure that only espresso machines can exert – about 9 bars. A Moka Pot can’t produce anything over 2 bars. Therefore, A Moka Pot makes something between espresso and brewed coffee. So it’s kinda like a strong coffee or a larger and weaker espresso. Hence the term ‘Moka’ is used.
We love this machine as it reminds us of growing up in Italy. Roberto especially loves the Moka Pot and associates it with home life. As two Italian men, we also love the history associated with our country and the machine.
Pour Over/Drip: Chemex
Chemex is a beautifully designed and elegant pour over, glass flask that was invented in 1941 by Dr Peter Schlumbohm. We fell in love with the design of the machine as well as the coffee it produces. The Chemex was even part of the Vital Forms exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art. The gallery focused on American Art during the Atomic age of 1940 through 1960. So you can help your cup of coffee look that bit more elegant.
It uses a special Chemex paper filter that is 20-30% heavier than other filters, which is why it is often associated separately from regular pour over coffee brewing methods. Similar to the coffee cone, hot water is poured over coffee grounds in a paper filter. The brewed coffee drips into the bottom of the flask which doubles as its own carafe.
The most famous of all due to its popularity in coffee shops and the usage for most commonly made coffee and milk based drinks. These machines are perfect and producing high pressures during the extraction.
Technically, espresso is a form of infusion, but there are many differences that put espresso into its own category. The most important is this: espresso is a coffee extracted under pressure through steam production. Any coffee can be extracted as espresso under the right conditions and using the proper equipment.
Not all espresso machines are made equal however and we like to use La Marzocco coffee machines. The linea mini has become something of an icon in the coffee world. We love La Marzocco espresso machines because of the years of craft that has gone into them. They have a real pedigree in the industry and they were even the ones to pioneer the dual boiler system which completely changed the game of coffee in the 1979s. Check out our previous blog if you’re interested more in the history of espresso machines.
See Why We Use Only La Marzocco Espresso Machines
We at 80 Stone Coffee Roasters love La Marzocco machines so much that we lease out the equipment as a part of our services. With their impeccable engineering, stainless steel and elegant designs, they can elevate any coffee shop. We vouch for the quality and believe that any coffee shop should have access to this, so the leasing is an affordable way for you to access this. Check out our range of locally roasted wholesale coffee beans and explore our barista training services to really boost your cafe. Get in touch today!