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The Methodology of Brewing Coffee

Updated on November 26, 2012
Stovetop espresso method $20
Stovetop espresso method $20
Keurig Vue $125
Keurig Vue $125
Stovetop anatomy
Stovetop anatomy

I love coffee. I need the caffeine blast in the morning and afternoon. The average cup has about 60 mg of that juice, an espresso has around 75 mg. But that is not the only thing that provides the jolt, it is any sugar added to it, whether directly or not. Also, don't think that you could not gain weight drinking coffee, just look at the caloric content of many Starbuck drinks- anywhere between 300-500 calories and of that how many grams of fat? It all adds up.

Brewing coffee is not rocket science but there are six main methods: 1) Single cup pod system, 2) Pour over the top single cup, a favorite of coffee pros, 3) the drip method made famous by Mr. Coffee machines, 4) the French press, probably the most labor intensive way, 5) Espresso maker, 6) the percolater, the most popular before the drip method.

In the US, 82% of all homes own a coffee maker. Of the six methods, the drip method is in 65% of the homes, the single cup machines are in 24%, espresso machines make up 12%, followed by percolator and at the bottom is French press at 9% .

Which method have you tried? Does any one method actually make a better cup of coffee? Subjective, I know. Of course, it starts with the beans or do you buy Folgers? How fine you grind the beans is as important as how you make it. How hot the water is also important. The best brew temperature is 195-205 F, and the longer the coffee sits on the warmer, the worse it gets.

Are home single cup latte\cappuccino machines cheaper than going to Starbucks or Peets? Yes, but over time. The single cups machines like Keurig Rivo, Starbucks Verismo, Nestles Nepresso all start at $200 or 66 three dollar Starbucks coffee. The average cost to make a similar coffee on your new machine runs between 55-80 cents. The most cost effective is to brew a small pot using the drip or other similar method, costs only 10-25 cents a cup. Of course, if you buy coffee beans, you are paying more than buying a container of Folgers coffee for $10, which makes over 250 cups.

Having tried a few of the latte\ cappuccino machines over time, all are now in the garage. They worked fine but because coffee taste is subjective, all failed in the end. The Tassimo brewed a decent latte and cappuccino, but it simply was not enough to fill my coffee mug. Maybe half, which forced me to use two packets. Soon, the cost of the packets made it prohibitive and the machine went in the garage. The same issue happened with other machines. The strength was more on the weak side. The espresso versions were fine in strength, but only filled half a mug-not good. Cleaning the espresso and adding the milk froth for lattes was also problematic. The steam pressure seemed to weaken as time went on or easily was clogged.

If I venture into trying latte\espresso machines again, there are two I would consider: The Keurig Vue single cup maker which allows you to adjust the water temp, brewing strength and size up to 18 ounces! This will finally fully fill a large coffee mug holding 12-16 oz. of coffee. Most makers do not have this feature. The Keurig Rivo allows you to froth real milk, something most other machines do not.

Sometimes the simplest methods are still the best and with coffee that is no different. Coffee connoisseurs will laugh when you show them your new espresso machine costing hundreds of dollars. All you had to do was to buy a Stovetop Espresso brewer found in Italian homes and put it on the stop for some REALLY strong coffee. The others will say buy the French press for deep, rich flavor. Both simple methods cost less than $30. But the key to good coffee are the beans and the heat to brew them.


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    • Nicole Winter profile image

      Nicole A. Winter 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I love my French Press! (Also known as a Brazilian Press.) While you say it is the most labor intensive of the methods, and I definitely agree, it is, it's not terribly so. Boil water, pour grounds in carafe, pour boiling water over grounds, press, and voila!, a perfect cup of coffee. I couldn't live without my FP, so much so that over the years I've bought 3-4 of them. (If you get the glass ones like I have, they *will* eventually break due to human error.) The next time I suffer the loss of another FP I think I'll be shelling out the extra $$ to get a stainless steel one.

    • profile image

      saverthefood 5 years ago

      I like my coffee too. The part about leaving the coffee sitting a long time on heat pad, it gets burnt flavor because it starts to loose the oxygen that also helps to give coffee its flavor. A good espresso is done between 12 to 23 seconds, any longer it is bitter. Great blog.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      That is how Europeans drink it. I gotta have a dash of milk.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      great hub on coffee. I like plain old black coffee and strong. No additions...Thanks for sharing all this information.