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How to make the best coffee: Six geeky ways

If you want to make the perfect cup of coffee, you might want to try a new method. Here are six geeky ways to brew your best-ever beverage.

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1 of 7 Eileen Brown/ZDNet

If you are tired of your existing electric auto-drip machine and want to experiment with making coffee that extracts the best flavour possible, here are some methods you can try.

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2 of 7 Coffee Online

Chemex

Chemex carafes are not the same as the auto-drip although they use a very similar brewing style. The Chemex carafe is a heat-resistant glass beaker. This means you need to boil a kettle to pour hot water over the grounds. This gives you control over the temperature — unlike an electrical auto drip.

You slowly pour the water over the Chemex filters, which are thicker than standard coffee filters. The coffee grounds then get to soak longer before going through the filter, which results in a much richer cup of coffee.

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3 of 7 1st Line

Espresso

Espresso is brewed by forcing a small amount of water that is under pressure and heated to almost boiling through finely ground coffee. It tends to be thicker than coffee brewed by other methods.

Ground beans are tamped into the portafilter to produce a tightly packed bed of coffee grounds. You attach the portafilter to the espresso machine by twisting it into a unit that contains the head, which then forces water through the grounds into the cup below the portafilter.

Espresso has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids, and has a creamy consistency (crema) foam. As the coffee is pressurised as it brews, the flavour is really concentrated in the cup.

 

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4 of 7 Cuisine addict

French Press / Cafetiere

Cafetieres/French presses are very popular in Europe and are measured in “cups” which are equivalent to the US half cup or about four ounces. To make a perfect cup of coffee, put in two level tablespoons of course-ground coffee beans per mug.

Boil a kettle of water then allow it to rest for a minute or so in order not to scald the beans.  Pour in hot water equal to the number of mugs. Stir briskly to mix the grounds with the water. Put the lid on the cafetiere with the plunger raised fully.

Let the cafetiere sit and brew the coffee for about four minutes. Press the plunger gently all the way down. If you need to use force to press the plunger then the coffee is not fully brewed.

 

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5 of 7 Bean Green

Aeropress

An Aeropress brews coffee for less than 30 seconds, which means that the water and coffee grounds have minimal contact. This results in a coffee brew with minimal acidity but full flavour.

To make a cup of coffee, put a filter disk in the cap and attach it to the chamber. Put this on top of the cup. Put one scoop per cup of coffee into the chamber. Heat the water and wet the grounds with the water slowly, then add the rest of the water. Stir the mixture to incorporate all the grounds.

Wet the rubber seal on the plunger, insert it into the chamber and press slowly to get a cup of concentrated coffee. Dilute it with hot water if you do not want an "espresso" style cup.

 

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6 of 7 Karbonaadje

Percolator

A coffee percolator brews coffee by continually cycling the boiling, or nearly boiling, brew through the grounds using gravity until the required strength is reached. Percolators heat the grounds to higher temperatures than other brewing methods. As the water heats inside the percolator, it is forced up through the hollow tube in the center of the pot. 

The water splashes up into the coffee grounds, and up into the glass bulb in the lid of the percolator. It then drips down out of the bulb and back through the holed lid and mesh basket. The liquid drips down into the bottom of the pot with the rest of the heated water.

Coffee brewed with a percolator is susceptible to over-extraction as water can recirculate several times through the beans. Percolation often removes volatile compounds in the beans, which does give a pleasant aroma during brewing, but can result in a coffee that lacks flavour. Percolators can produce hotter and stronger coffee than other methods.

To get your coffee to the desired strength, watch the bulb carefully. The cycle of water splashing into the bulb continues until the coffee splashing into the glass bulb is dark enough to suit your tastes.

 

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7 of 7 Coffee geek

Siphon

Siphon coffee was invented in the 1840s and produces a delicate, tea-like cup of coffee; it can be quite complicated to make but is one of the coolest ways to impress your friends.

First, soak the filter in warm water for at least five minutes. Then place it in the bottom of the hopper, hooking it to the bottom of the glass tubing.

Fill the bottom of the siphon with a cup of hot water and insert the hopper into the bulb. As the water begins to boil it will rise up into the hopper; Turn the heat up, add 25 grams of finely ground coffee, and submerge the grounds with a paddle or knife. Let the coffee brew for about a minute and 10 seconds.

Remove the siphon from the heat and watch the coffee draw downward to stay in the bulb. When grounds have formed at the top of the filter, it is ready to serve.

 

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