With a plethora of coffee brewing equipment available, it can be all too easy to feel unsure where to start. In all honesty, we were a little overwhelmed so we asked the experts at Workshop Coffee to give us a few handy hints to fake our way to fabulous coffee. Here's what they said...
The first thing to know is that almost all of the options on offer will be capable of delivering a good cup of coffee; as long as you use good beans. But how do you know which brewer is right for you?
First up, ask yourself: Where will I be brewing and how many people am I brewing for? You might be entertaining guests or perhaps you plan on being part-way up a mountain; so long as you’re armed with this information, you can pick a brewer that will create consistently delicious cups of coffee, in a repeatable and manageable way.
1. At the kitchen counter
Whether you're brewing coffee at home or in the office, if you have the luxury of counter space, then the Clever Dripper is a fool-proof brewing method. Its design combines the flavour and ease of full immersion brewers like the French Press with the clarity of a drip filter.
It has a valve on the bottom of the brewer, which allows you to hold hot water in the brew cone until your drink is ready to serve. At this point, you can place it on your chosen cup or decanter and your brewed coffee passes through. Then simply dispose of the spent filter paper in your food waste and clean the brewer.
Capable of brewing up to half a litre of coffee, it's perfect for thirsty coffee drinkers or making that extra cup for a friend, family member or colleague.
2. On the road
When traveling, space and weight are both at a premium, but that doesn't mean coffee brewing equipment need be discarded. There are two pieces of hardware capable of squeezing into your case, thus ensuring exceptional coffee wherever you might find yourself.
The first is the AeroPress, created in 2005 by the same man that invented the Aerobie Flying Disc. It produces a rich, round and textured cup of coffee for one. As well as being robust, it's also incredibly easy to clean and – somewhat fortuitously – is perfectly shaped to hold a portable Porlex Hand Grinder.
If you're not travelling alone, the V60 Pourover offers an equally light and hard-wearing option that's capable of brewing up to two cups of coffee. Then all you need is a small decanter or receptacle to brew into.
3. Larger groups
For more substantial groups, just grab one of the most ubiquitous brewers: the French Press. A classic immersion brewer, it's an incredibly simple way of brewing filter coffee for groups. And, if you include a few small but essential steps along the way (skimming off any foam that forms on the surface during the process; waiting as long as you can after pressing to allow the grounds to settle; decanting your brewed coffee right away) you'll still be able to create clean cups.
If that still sounds like too much work, there's also an automated option. Hand-built in The Netherlands and a household name in Scandinavia, the MoccaMaster brews 1.25 litres of coffee in around six minutes. Not only is it wonderfully consistent, it's also amazingly easy: simply grind your coffee, fill the brewer's reservoir, flick the 'on' switch and find something to busy yourself with for six minutes.
4. A few extra tips...
Regardless of the number of people you're brewing for, or the type of brewer you've chosen to use, here’s a few handy hints that make for better cups of coffee:
- Use 6g of coffee to every 100g of water. Weighing your coffee may seem superfluous, but working to a recipe makes for a more repeatable brew. By reducing the number of variables at play, if something doesn't taste quite right, you know it's not the amount of coffee or water, so must be the grind size.
- Always grind fresh. Ground coffee gets stale quickly, so grinding on demand ensures all of the flavour and aroma of your brew are still there to be savoured and enjoyed.
- Use quality ingredients. You get out what you put in, so starting with a freshly roasted, well-sourced and carefully roasted coffee will increase the likelihood of a great cup of coffee. It's also worth remembering that a cup of coffee is 98% water, so opt for soft and clean. We recommend taking a refillable bottle to your local specialty coffee shop or Tesco's Ashbeck Spring.