Once coffee is roasted, the most intricate and playful part of the coffee process begins — brewing.

It seems like there are as many ways to brew coffee as there are people consuming it. At the heart of most of these brewing methods is the combination of hot water and ground coffee. Adding hot water to coffee grounds leads to the water extracting the flavors of the beans. I will be touching on some of the most popular methods and some of the newest on the market.

In France, around the year 1710, coffee grounds were placed in a linen bag and submerged in hot water, thus the first filtered coffee was invented. Today, filtered coffee is the primary brewing method. Filtered brewing is done by pouring water that is around 195* degrees through a filter that is holding the coffee grounds. Ratios are a very critical part of this process; the National Coffee Association recommends two tablespoons of grounds to every six ounces of water for the ideal extraction. However, there is a great deal of room for experimentation to produce the cup of coffee that best suits your preferences. The first and most popular brewing method is far from the only ways coffee is brewed.

Photo Credit: Sarah Snyder

Italians are known not only for their delectable cuisine, but also for their potent shots of espresso. An Italian man named Luigi Bezzera patented the first commercial espresso machine in 1901. Espresso is brewed by a machine creating a large volume of pressure to force water through compacted fine coffee grounds at a rapid pace. With espresso came a whole new realm of drinks that are created through the addition of steamed milk, like the cappuccino, latte, and macchiato.

Recently, personal brewers have become increasingly popular with coffee consumers. The most inventive being the Aeropress, which combines the full immersion of a French Press with the clean finish of filtered coffee. Aeropress uses the same ratios and water temperatures as a filtered coffee; however, it has the added trickery of timing the brewing process to four minutes and pressing the plunger to finish the extraction.

Brewing coffee may be complex, but figuring out what tastes best to you through experimentation is the most important aspect.

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