Coffee Lovers Rejoice: Alternative Ways to Brew Your Morning Cup
Coffee has come a long way. I was a little girl when my mom was using powdered instant coffee for her morning cup. If you could call that coffee. Ick. Fast forward some fifty years later and we simply can't conceive that anyone would choose to drink instant coffee.
Things are different today but, interestingly, while it seems that there is a Starbucks and (hopefully) an indie coffee shop on every street corner, sales of coffee in the U.S. have flatlined. It's a no-growth $30 billion dollar market. It means that no more people are going to start drinking coffee than the ones who are already drinking it. The only bright spot of the industry is “specialty coffee“, a technical term which refers to coffee grown in special climates and which have a self-regulating association of growers, exporters, roasters, retailers and equipment suppliers who work together to maintain their high quality standards.
Of course, today's consumers are much more sophisticated and discerning about what they eat and drink, so it makes sense that we would now want something more from our coffee as well. We want better tasting and better quality coffee. That means better beans and better brewing methods.
Drip coffee? Bo-ring.
If you're looking for new (better?) ways to brew that cup of coffee, here is what some alternative coffee brewing methods that are being used by today's coffee aficionados:
Alternative ways to brew coffee
Bruer Cold Brew Coffee Maker – aka the brewing process that requires no heat and which offers a unique flavor profile and a coffee that is lower in acid. Because there is no heat in the brewing process, different components and nuances are extracted from cold brewing. The cold brewing process releases more caffeine but less acid. And, though acids are what gives coffee its distinctive flavor, it's also what gives a lot of people upset stomachs. Cold brew seems to be the best brewing method to balance flavor, get the caffeine boost & go easy on the digestive track. Delicious as iced coffee and can be drunk hot by mixing some cold brew concentrate with hot water.
The guys over at Bruer (unit shown at left) seem to be cold brew coffee scientists and have perfected their slow drip cold brew coffee maker. You can find our more about it here.
|Espro Press– A better French press? It appears that these people have done it. Most coffee nerds agree that the French press method is the best brewing method to extract all the flavors from the coffee beans. But there is the drawback of the sludge that resides at the bottom of a French press coffee pour. The Espro Press uses a patent-pending double filter with a 12-times-finer mesh that prevents the grit from making it to the cup. The vessel is double insulated to insure that the brewed coffee stays hot longer. Plus, it has a nice sleek design that looks great on the breakfast bar. The Espro Press is available in three sizes starting at $79.95.|
|Duo Coffee Steeper by Fellow – Want a true new way to brew coffee? This could be it. Like to a French press but different: Pour fresh ground coffee into the brew chamber, “bloom” the coffee (this is recommended with regular French Press too. It simply means that you add just enough hot water to cover the coffee grounds and let sit for about 30 seconds to release the flavor), let steep (about 4 minutes, depending on desired coffee strength) and twist to release the freshly brewed coffee into the carafe. Fun to watch. Find out more about the Duo here.|
Chemex Coffeemaker – in a category that we will call “what's old is new again” falls the Chemex Coffeemaker, a coffee brewing carafe that has been around since 1941 and has remained unchanged since then. Because, why fool around with perfection? The elegant and timeless design of the Chemex coffeemaker has earned it a permanent spot in the NY MOMA. So, there.
To brew with this “pour over drip” method: Place a Chemex coffee filter in the top of the Chemex brewer (which, of course, is made of heat resistant glass), pour the coffee grounds, pour enough water to bloom the coffee grinds (see? recurring theme) and slowly pour hot water evenly over the grounds, toss the filter and pour your splendid brew into your favorite cup. For best results, use a drip kettle with a narrow spout like this one for a more precise hot water pour. See all Chemex coffeemakers.
Of course, it goes without saying that any of these coffee brewing methods will yield much better results with high quality, freshly roasted coffee beans, or “specialty coffee” as we mentioned earlier. Because Folgers just ain't gonna cut it for this job.