Your Guide to Choosing a Coffee Maker You'll Love (Part 2)
In our last piece, we covered the first batch of coffee makers you can choose from to bring home and call your own. And in this piece, we’ll finish off our reviews so that you have everything you need to know to pick the right coffee maker that will meet your needs.
- Cold Brew
- Coffee Pods
- Turkish Coffee
- Vietnamese Coffee
- The Bottom Line
Let’s start with the recently popularized method of brewing iced coffee: cold brew. While you can purchase cold brew coffee makers, they are not entirely necessary to make cold brew coffee at home. You can actually make cold brew coffee using any jar, pitcher, or similar device by simply adding coffee grounds and filling them with water. In 12-24 hours, depending on your preference, the concentrate is ready to be filtered through a cheesecloth for consumption.
Although hot water is required to bring out many flavour characteristics of coffee, those sensitive to the acidity of traditional coffee may find cold brew to be easier to digest without fear of indigestion. Additionally, cold brewing extracts more caffeine from the coffee beans, lending to the idea that cold brew is a concentrate. While many like to mix their cold brew with water to get the caffeine levels per cup close to those of traditional coffee, some may enjoy it straight at approximately double the caffeine content.
Espresso coffee makers combine heat and pressure to make a small amount of beautifully smooth, but strong, flavoured coffee covered in crema. Crema is a layer of microbubbles, not unlike what you find on a good draft beer. Its appearance can tell you whether the espresso is older (less crema), fresh (more crema), or strong in flavour (dark crema).
Many espresso drinkers are under the impression they are consuming higher amounts of caffeine than they would drinking a regular cup of coffee. However, when comparing proper serving sizes, espresso is actually lower in caffeine to its common drip counterpart. Additionally, espresso needs to be consumed immediately after brewing or added to a bit of milk to preserve the flavour profile. The longer a shot of espresso sits, the more it oxidizes, which is a flavour many seem to disenjoy.
Those who are looking for the ability to brew both espresso and traditional coffee may find themselves interested in an AeroPress that can accommodate both styles with little more ease than a French press.
In an attempt to create the perfect single cup of robust coffee that didn’t require excessive time spent, Alan Adler came up with the brilliant invention of the AeroPress. The AeroPress is similar in anatomy to the French press and consists of a plunger, chamber, and filter cap. There is a bit of a learning curve with the AeroPress, so you may be inclined to use it several times at home prior to taking it on the go.
However, you can check out our step-by-step tutorial and, once you get the hang of it, the ease and speed of creating one cup of pressure brewed, filtered coffee will be worth it. AeroPress coffee makers are fairly compact, making them easy to take on the go when working or heading out on a trip. The coffee may cool quickly similarly to coffee brewed in a French press, but the brew time is shorter and you can get to consuming that coffee quickly. The AeroPress is a great tool for hand brewing a single cup of coffee or espresso, but if hands off is more your style, then coffee pods may be the way to go.
Coffee pods were introduced to the consumer market in 1986 as the Nespresso by Nestle, but they truly gained much traction among home coffee consumers with the release of the Keurig in 1998. These coffee makers are popular for numerous reasons including speed, ease of use, and ability to keep many varieties of coffee on hand. Using a coffee pod machine consists of little more than filling the water reservoir, dropping in the coffee pod flavour of your choice, and pushing “start.”
While coffee pod machines do have their benefits, for some those are overshadowed by the constant need to clean the machines and the almost unavoidable amount of waste created by the individual coffee pods. In order to combat this negative environmental impact, some coffee pod machines now have reusable filters for using loose coffee grounds in favour of the prepackaged kind, and some have found ways to create coffee pods that are compostable. However, many environmentally conscious consumers still prefer methods that don’t require any waste at all. And for that, they can reach back to the very first style of home coffee maker: the ibrik.
The Ibrik method, or Turkish coffee, originated in Turkey and is aptly named after the ibrik, or cezve, pot used to brew the coffee. An ibrik is a small pot with a long handle on only one side. All coffee grounds, spices, sugar, and water are placed inside the pot. After being heated and cooled several times until the mixture is well blended and a thick foam is formed on top, it is traditionally served alongside a Turkish delight.
Thanks to the foam, Turkish coffee stays warm longer than your average cup of coffee. The brew is not filtered, so the Ibrik method poses the same risk to your LDL as the French press method by not removing the cafestol and kahweol oils from the brew. However, there may be additional benefits from the healthful spices such as cardamom. But if filtered coffee is more your style and you prefer sticking with longstanding coffee maker designs, it may be wise to consider a Vietnamese coffee filter.
To brew coffee with a Vietnamese coffee filter, the unit is placed on top of a glass similar to the pour over method. Traditionally, the glass has condensed milk inside to sweeten the coffee. Water is poured into the grounds, which are placed inside the filter, and the lid is placed on top as the coffee steeps and drips. Once the coffee has ceased dripping, it is ready to be poured over ice or consumed hot.
This method may be perfect for some, but there is no time indicator and you can’t see the coffee brewing. If watching the magic happen is something you prefer, a siphon coffee maker may be more your style.
Siphon coffee makers bring us nearly full circle because they are extremely similar in method to percolators. They consist of two chambers separated only by a filter. The lower is filled with water, while the upper is intended for coffee grounds. As the water is heated, vapor forces its way into the upper chamber to mix with the coffee grounds.
A combination of gravity and a drop in pressure within the lower chamber essentially then vacuum the coffee through the filter and back into the bottom chamber, leaving the grounds behind. This method is both beautiful and functional, truly providing the ultimate coffee experience.
The Bottom Line
No one way to brew coffee will win every caffeine connoisseur over, because each individual has their own preferences for flavour, feel, efficiency, and aesthetic. All that matters is that you find the right fit for you! And once you discover your preferred brewing method, the world is your oyster as you explore, experience, and savor the many varieties of coffee to find your signature brew.
At Two Bears, our mission is to energize your mission, your moments. In a world of influence, our hope is to reconnect you with you so that you can make meaningful connections with the world around you. We craft the freshest, frothiest energy for you to sip and turn into whatever you need that day – human connection, motivation, creativity, confidence, slowness... we encourage you to craft your moment with Two Bears, whatever that moment may be.
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