Coffee 101: Different methods for making the perfect cup

BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 22:  A barista pours a cup of coffee at Colson Patisserie on February 22, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. A recently released study found that drinking two cups of coffee a day decreases one's chance of developing liver cirrhosis by 44 percent.

(Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
These days, it seems like there are a million and one ways to make a cup of coffee. None of them are necessarily new, but more boutique and big-name coffee shops are broadening their menus and shining a light on everything from the pour-over to the French-press.

The good news is, you don’t have to leave your house to get that “artisan” taste. Using quality beans and inexpensive equipment, you can make the perfect cup of coffee at home. Sara Lynn Cauchon — aka:“The Domestic Geek” — shares her favorite ways to get a daily coffee fix. (Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 07:   Coffee drips into a pot at a Dunkin' Donuts store September 7, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. In an effort to compete with Starbucks in the lucrative coffee market, Dunkin? Donuts has announced a goal of opening more than 10,000 new stores in the U.S. by 2020.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Automatic drip coffee maker 

It may not be en vogue, but an auto-drip coffee maker has its benefits. For starters, you can prepare everything the night before and program the machine so that it brews a pot of coffee at a certain time — perfect for those who need that sip of caffeine before they can function.

And Cauchon points out: It makes a lot of coffee in a short amount of time. 

“I really like coffee in volume,” she said. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Cloud Perez Vento pours a slow-brew process coffee (L) and Mike Rodriguez makes an espresso at Eternity Coffee Roasters during National Coffee Day on September 29, 2014 in Miami, Florida.  The day is for coffee drinkers to celebrate and enjoy the popular beverage which 50% of the population, equivalent to 150 million Americans, drink espresso, cappuccino, latte, or iced/cold coffees.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The pour-over method 

If you don’t have room on your counter for a coffee maker, or just prefer to make one cup at a time, the pour-over method is a perfect option. You can find the necessary brewing gadgets for as little as $10; they take up virtually no counter space and can easily be stored.

Cauchon says not using fully boiled water is the secret when making pour-over coffee. 

“You want the water just to be reaching a boil when you pour it over, because you don’t want to scorch your beans and ruin the flavor,” she said. 

Place 3 tbsp. of ground coffee in the filter and pour the water in a circular motion over the grounds until they are just moistened. Let the grounds steep, or “bloom,” for a minute, and then pour the rest of the water over to fill the cup.

“What you’re going to end up with is an individual serving of some of the most beautiful coffee you can imagine,” Cauchon said. “I just think pour-over is such a romantic way to make your coffee — like you’ve really given it some thought, given it some love, and yeah, it makes a great single serve.” (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A back lit image of coffee being poured into small coffee mugs from a French Press with the light source being a window behind the table.
French-press coffee 

Another small appliance for those limited on space is a French press. Some are designed to make a single cup, others make multiple.

Cauchon says the key to mastering the press is getting a good ground-to-water ratio. For a 4-cup French press, she recommends using 6 tbsp. of ground coffee. 

Similar to the pour-over method, you don’t want the water to be too hot — just boiling is just perfect. Pour the water in and let it steep for six to eight minutes.

“That’s sort of the sweet spot. That’s where you’re going to get the best, most flavorful cup of coffee,” Cauchon said. 

Then, plunge when you are ready to pour.

“It’s quite a coffee experience,” she said. (Thinkstock) 

PORTLAND, OREGON - OCTOBER 6:  Stumptown Coffee Cold Brew is shown on display in the SE Division Street location on October 6, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. Stumptown's owner and founder Duane Sorenson has confirmed that the company will be acquired by Peet's Coffee & Tea, according to published reports. Stumptown, which reportedly will operate independently after the aqcquisition, operates 10 stores in Portland, Seattle, New York and Los Angeles.  (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
Cold-brew coffee 

Cold-brew coffee is all the rage these days. And no: It’s not just a fancy word for iced coffee. It takes much longer to make.

“The secret is really about time, instead of heat, to extract the flavor,” Cauchon said. 

Cold-brew coffee can be made in a fancy machine, or in a Mason jar. Cauchon recommends steeping 1 cup of ground coffee to 5 cups of filtered water in the refrigerator for 12 to 14 hours. When it’s had its time, pour the grounds-water mixture over cheesecloth to strain it. 

“What you end up with is a really, really unique flavored coffee,” Cauchon said. 

Cold-brew has lower acidity than traditional coffee, and it also has a flavor that’s a bit smoky and naturally sweet. “Which is why a lot of people, even if they traditionally use cream and sugar in their coffee, will drink cold brew black,” Cauchon said. (Getty Images/Craig Mitchelldyer)

This Wednesday, April 27, 2011 photo shows Sierra Schreiner as she prepares an iced coffee at Cafe Madeleine in San Francisco.  Iced coffee drinks on today’s menus involve more than just pouring regular coffee over rocks. The beans used are premium, just as with hot coffee, and there are special preparations taken to bring out the best of the flavor.    (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Iced coffee 

Iced coffee is simply coffee made from an auto-drip machine that has been chilled and is poured over ice, Cauchon explains. 

During the warm months, brew a big pot of coffee and keep it in a jug in your refrigerator. Cauchon even likes to make ice cubes from coffee to add into her drink, so that as the ice melts, the coffee doesn’t become weak. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

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BROOKLYN, NY - FEBRUARY 22:  A barista pours a cup of coffee at Colson Patisserie on February 22, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. A recently released study found that drinking two cups of coffee a day decreases one's chance of developing liver cirrhosis by 44 percent.

(Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 07:   Coffee drips into a pot at a Dunkin' Donuts store September 7, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. In an effort to compete with Starbucks in the lucrative coffee market, Dunkin? Donuts has announced a goal of opening more than 10,000 new stores in the U.S. by 2020.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Cloud Perez Vento pours a slow-brew process coffee (L) and Mike Rodriguez makes an espresso at Eternity Coffee Roasters during National Coffee Day on September 29, 2014 in Miami, Florida.  The day is for coffee drinkers to celebrate and enjoy the popular beverage which 50% of the population, equivalent to 150 million Americans, drink espresso, cappuccino, latte, or iced/cold coffees.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A back lit image of coffee being poured into small coffee mugs from a French Press with the light source being a window behind the table.
PORTLAND, OREGON - OCTOBER 6:  Stumptown Coffee Cold Brew is shown on display in the SE Division Street location on October 6, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. Stumptown's owner and founder Duane Sorenson has confirmed that the company will be acquired by Peet's Coffee & Tea, according to published reports. Stumptown, which reportedly will operate independently after the aqcquisition, operates 10 stores in Portland, Seattle, New York and Los Angeles.  (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
This Wednesday, April 27, 2011 photo shows Sierra Schreiner as she prepares an iced coffee at Cafe Madeleine in San Francisco.  Iced coffee drinks on today’s menus involve more than just pouring regular coffee over rocks. The beans used are premium, just as with hot coffee, and there are special preparations taken to bring out the best of the flavor.    (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 

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