There’s more to making a great cup of coffee than just grinding beans and adding hot water. The brewing method you choose determines the flavor, aroma, and overall experience of your coffee. In this guide, we’ll take a look at what our, in my opinion, the top 13 coffee brewing methods, from traditional favorites like French Press to lesser-known ones like Dutch Cold Drip.
So, whether you’re a coffee enthusiast looking to expand your repertoire or a beginner eager to find the perfect method for your lifestyle, this guide should be a good resource.
For each coffee brewing method, I’ll cover the following:
- How it Works
- Pros & Cons
- Tips for the Best Coffee
- My Opinion
Let’s get into it!
12 Different Ways You Can Make Coffee at Home
Popular and Traditional Brewing Methods:
1. Drip Coffee Maker
How Drip Works: The drip coffee maker is easily the most popular way to make coffee in the U.S. This coffee method works by dripping hot water over a basket of coffee grounds sitting in a paper filter. Gravity then pulls the brewed coffee through the filter and into a glass pot or carafe. This method offers convenience, producing several cups in one cycle.
Equipment: A drip coffee maker, coffee filters, and freshly ground coffee beans.
Pros and Cons: Drips are super simple to use and probably the best way to make a large amount of coffee quickly for a group. However, most drip coffee makers don’t heat water to a high enough temperature to make great coffee.
Tips for the Best Drip Coffee: Use freshly ground, high-quality beans and heat up your water before pouring it into the machine for a higher brew temp and optimal extraction. You’ll get the best-tasting coffee when you brew a full pot and regularly clean the machine to prevent the buildup of oils and residue which add a bitter and burnt flavor.
My Opinion: The drip coffee maker is a great go-to for convenience. While it may not produce the most flavorful cups, it’s dependable for a quick morning fix and is a great option if you regularly make coffee for 2 or more people at once.
2. French Press
How French Press Works: The French Press uses a plunger and mesh filter to brew coffee. Coarsely ground coffee is steeped in hot water for a few minutes before pressing the plunger to separate the grounds.
Equipment: A French press, coarsely ground coffee, and hot water
Pros: Unlike a drip machine, this method lets you tweak the brewing temperature, coffee-to-water ratio, and steeping time, which means you have more control over how the coffee tastes. No paper filter means more oils (flavor) from the coffee bean ends up in the cup.
Cons: It’s common for some grounds to end up in the bottom of your cup.
Tips for the Best French Press Coffee: For the best French press coffee, ensure the water is 195-200 F (remove it right when it starts boiling and let sit for 30-60 seconds, use a coarse grind, and aim for a steeping time of around four minutes.
My Opinion: The French press is one of my personal favorites due to its simplicity and great flavor. The leftover sediment might not suit everyone, but for those who appreciate controlling their coffee, it’s a top choice.
How the Aeropress Works: The Aeropress is a compact, plunger-style brewing device similar to the French press that uses air pressure to force water through coffee grounds and a filter.
Equipment: Aeropress, paper filters, finely ground coffee, and hot water.
Pros: Simple to use, brews quickly, is easy to clean
Cons: A lot of work to make coffee for more than one
Tips for the Best Aeropress Coffee: Use a fine grind, try out a few different Aeropress methods to see which one is for you (YouTube is a good resource for this)
My Opinion: The Aeropress is what I use every morning. It’s so simple to use but also allows for experimentation if you’re interested in that thing. Its ease of use and portability also make it an excellent travel companion.
4. Pour Over
How the Pour Over Works: The pour over method involves a slow, controlled pour of hot water over a filter cone containing coffee grounds. This technique allows for real precise control over factors like water flow and brew time.
Equipment: Pour over apparatus, paper filters, and a gooseneck hot water kettle
Pros: The pour over method extracts nuanced flavors and aromas from the beans.
Cons: Pour over requires a lot of practice and attention to get consistent. It also takes a lot of time. So long in fact, that sometimes the coffee isn’t even hot by the time you finish brewing.
Tips for the Best Pour-Over Coffee: Maintain a consistent pour rate and water temperature for an even extraction. Experiment with different pour-over devices and filters to find the best fit for your preferences.
My Opinion: Pour-over brewing is a method I can respect for its complexity. It demands patience and practice but rewards with a great flavor. It’s a ritual that many coffee snobs find really satisfying.
5. Single-Serve Pod Machines
How they Work: The most popular Single-serve pod machines are Keurig and Nespresso offer ultimate convenience by using pre-packaged coffee pods, producing a single cup at the touch of a button.
Equipment: A single-serve pod machine and coffee pods.
Pros: Keurig and Nespresso are as “Coffee at the touch of a button” as you can get. Super simple, quick, and easy.
Cons: The single-use plastic pods usually are not the freshest or highest quality beans and can also produce a lot of waste. The pods can also be pretty expensive.
Tips for Using Single-Serve Pod Machines: Using filtered water (like a Britta) can be an easy way to improve the taste of your Keurig coffee. Also using a reusable K cup with your own coffee.
My Opinion: If you’re not super particular about coffee, these machines make coffee that tastes good enough to enjoy every day, especially if you use a high-quality pod or fill them with your own coffee. It is one of the more expensive ways to make coffee, but they’re great for quick, no-fuss brewing.
Related: Is Keurig Worth It? A Buyer’s Guide
6. Espresso Machine
How Espresso is Made: Espresso, known for its strong, concentrated flavor, is made by forcing hot water through finely ground, tightly packed coffee under high pressure, resulting in a small volume, concentrated shot. It can be drunk straight up or combined with milk to make a latte or cappuccino.
Equipment: An espresso machine, finely ground coffee, and a tamper
Pros: Espresso is known to be the highest quality and most flavorful form of coffee. It also makes the base for various coffee beverages such as lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and americanos due to its really strong flavor.
Cons: Espresso machines are VERY expensive, and mastering the technique will take some research and practice.
For Better Espresso: There’s lots of great YouTube content out there to help you practice your espresso game. Once you’ve done the research: practice, practice, practice.
My Opinion: Espresso is super tasty, my go-to is the Americano, which is just espresso and hot water (basically a stronger-tasting drip coffee). Learning to make espresso could be a super fun hobby, but feels a little overwhelming and expensive for me in my current stage of life.
7. Moka Pot
How the Moka Pot Works: The Moka pot, also known as a stovetop espresso maker, brews coffee by passing boiling water through coffee grounds, producing a very strong, espresso-like coffee.
Equipment: A Moka pot, coarse ground coffee, and a stovetop
Pros: If you like you’re coffee strong, The Moka pot offers an affordable way to enjoy a coffee concentrate similar to espresso.
Cons: If you don’t like extremely dark, strong coffee, the Moka pot isn’t for you.
Tips for Brewing with a Moka Pot: Use medium heat, a fine grind, and avoid overpacking the coffee basket for the best Moka pot experience. When you remove the Moka pot from the stovetop heat, immediately cool the outside with cold water. This will stop the coffee from brewing and prevent over-extraction of flavor
My Opinion: The Moka pot is an excellent alternative for espresso lovers without access to an espresso machine. I have one at home for when I want a super-strong brew to mix with milk or sip on by itself. It’s a great addition to any coffee lover’s pantry.
8. Flair Espresso Maker
How to Flair: The Flair Espresso Maker is a manual espresso press that allows you to mimic the pressure used in traditional espresso machines at a fraction of the cost. As you can see above, it’s a simple machine made of a lever-operated piston that forces hot water through finely-ground coffee, creating a shot of espresso.
Equipment: Flair Espresso Maker, finely ground coffee, a burr grinder, a source of hot water, and a scale
Pros and Cons: The Flair offers an affordable entry into the espresso world with the ability to control variables like water temperature and pressure. However, it requires a learning curve to master the technique, and the brewing process will take longer than electric espresso machines.
Tips for Using the Flair Espresso Maker: Follow a guide from YouTube like this one from James Hoffman, but also take some time to experiment with grind size, tamping pressure, and water temperature yourself. That’s part of the fun!
My Opinion: While there’s a learning curve, I think the Flair is really cool. It allows you take make good, real espresso at home without a fancy shmancy expensive machine. If you’ve been looking to make espresso at home and avoiding it because of the high cost of entry, the Flair is your move.
III. Unique and Specialty Brewing Methods:
9. Cold Brew
How Cold Brew is Made: Cold brew is coffee that is “brewed cold” by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for a longer period of time (usually 12-24 hours). The final drink is a strong, smooth, less acidic coffee.
Equipment: A container for steeping, coarsely ground coffee, cold water, and a filtration method (a fine mesh strainer or paper filter).
Pros: If you like drinking your coffee cold, cold brew may be preferable to iced coffee because of its strong flavor. You can also warm up the cold brew in the microwave to make a really strong hot coffee.
Cons: Takes a while to make, has a lot of caffeine
Tips for Better Cold Brew: Experiment with different coffee-to-water ratios and brewing times to find the perfect strength and flavor. I used to make it at home and when I let it sit for a full 24 hours it was too strong. You can always dilute it with water, ice, or milk too.
My Opinion: Cold brew is pretty simple to make and is a great way to get coffee with super strong flavor. The reason I don’t continue to make it at home is that while it’s nice every once in a while, I don’t need that much caffeine in my everyday coffee. Because it’s so easy to make, I recommend everyone give it a shot and see if you like it!
9. Siphon Brewing
How Siphon Brewing Works: A siphon coffee maker operates by using heat to create a vacuum, drawing water from a lower chamber to an upper chamber containing coffee grounds. After brewing, the vacuum is released, allowing the brewed coffee to filter back into the lower chamber through a filter, separating the grounds.
Equipment: A siphon coffee maker (vacuum pot), butane burner or stovetop heat source, medium-coarse ground coffee, and a cloth or paper filter.
Pros: Siphons are said to produce the best-tasting coffee out of all brewing techniques. And it looks fricken cool while you make it.
Cons: The device is really fragile, cleanup is some work, and it’s one of the most complicated techniques to learn
Tips for Brewing with a Siphon: I’ve never used a siphon so you’ll have to ask someone else haha
My Opinion: Siphon brewing is a really visually captivating coffee method and great for entertaining. Plus the fact that it supposedly makes the best-tasting coffee has me very interested. Someday I may nerd out and figure out how to use one.
10. Turkish Coffee
Overview: Turkish coffee involves the use of finely ground coffee, water, and usually sugar boiled with no filter in a special pot called a cezve. The grounds are left in the coffee when served.
Equipment: A cezve (Turkish coffee pot), finely ground coffee, water, and sugar.
Pros and Cons: The unfiltered coffee and the traditional serving method, where the grounds settle at the cup’s bottom, are distinctive. The challenge lies in achieving the right brewing technique and avoiding a grainy texture.
Tips for Great Turkish Coffee: Use a very fine grind almost to a powder-like consistency, maintain low heat throughout the brewing process, and pay attention to the formation of the foam (known as kaimaki) for authentic Turkish coffee.
My Opinion: I’ve never had Turkish coffee, but while I was writing this my fiance looked over and told me, “It’s good! It tastes like an old library but in a good way” So interpret that how you will.
11. Vietnamese Coffee
How to Make Vietnamese Coffee: Vietnamese coffee combines sweetened condensed milk with robusta (a strong, ), drip-brewed coffee using a small metal phin filter placed over a cup.
Equipment: Vietnamese coffee set A phin filter, Robusta coffee beans, sweetened condensed milk, and hot water.
Pros: Very tasty, Robusta coffee beans have more antioxidants than Arabica coffee
Cons: Higher in sugar and caffeine, Some people may not like the bold flavor of Robusta coffee
Tips for Making Vietnamese Coffee: Experiment with different coffee-to-milk ratios and adjust the sweetness to suit your preferences. Try using the Robusta beans for your regular coffee and see if you like the more bitter flavor.
My Opinion: I drink my coffee black, so milky and sugary drinks like Vietnamese coffee aren’t my preference, but it’s still a tasty treat for every once in a while.
12. Dutch Coffee Maker (Cold Drip)
How Cold Drip Works: The Dutch coffee maker, or cold drip, uses a slow, cold-water brewing process, producing a concentrated coffee extract. Water slowly drips through the ground coffee, creating a smooth, low-acid cup.
Equipment: Dutch coffee maker, coarsely ground coffee, cold water, and a filtration system.
Pros: The cold brewing method produces a unique, smooth flavor without some of the bitterness of hot brewing methods.
Cons: Requires some patience due to the slow drip process and takes up a decent amount of counter space
Tips for Making Dutch Coffee: I’ve never used one, but I assume that experimenting with variables like drip rate and grind size would be a smart way to find the best flavor for you.
My Opinion: Because it uses cold water, the Dutch coffee maker (cold drip) is an interesting way to bring out unique flavors from the coffee beans. It’s not something I’m personally interested in but it is a cool gadget that a coffee hobbyist may find fun to play around with and show to others.
Alright, my coffee friends, I hope that after learning about 13 different ways to brew coffee you can find one that works for you! If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, feel free to leave them below.
This article was written by Josh. You can learn more about Josh on our About the Team page.