Brewing coffee at home might sound intimidating to some—even to me not too long ago! I had been comfortable with brewing French Press since my years WWOOFing in Australia and New Zealand, but had never thought to learn other ways to make coffee myself.
Until now. 😉
First things first: You’ve gotta have the right equipment.
There’s no such thing as easy brewing coffee at home if you’re only armed with a sock as a filter and stale ground coffee. There’s just no way around it. In order to make the most of brewing coffee at home, you have to invest in a few tools upfront. Like any hobby, you’ve gotta pay to play.
Someday, maybe you’ll end up in the same place that we never thought we’d be—we stay home to drink coffee the we love, we go out to coffee shops to enjoy the atmosphere and a change of scenery. Figuring out the best way to brew coffee at home for me has been a fun, and yes, caffeinated, adventure!
Your basic kit for brewing coffee at home
There are a few standard kitchen items that most home coffee brewers will need to fill their cabinet space:
- Your coffee of choice. The more you start to tune into the nuances of coffee flavors and body, the more opinionated you’ll get about which roasters you love. Or maybe you’re hardcore Blue Bottle fans or lifelong supporters of your local roaster. Whatever floats your coffee boat, make sure you have those beans on hand!
- A coffee grinder. You can opt for manual or electric, burr or blade, disc or conical. You can read more about our recommendations in this post: Why Fresh Ground Coffee is Worth the Extra Effort.
- Your preferred brewing tool. We’ll go into the different varieties of these further down in the post, but it is pretty essential that you figure out the best way to brew coffee at home for YOU and arm yourself with the equipment to do it.
- Filters. Depending your brew method, you might need a paper filter to get the job done.
- Your favorite coffee mug! Whether it’s a to-go thermos, something vacuum sealed, or the first cup you grab out of the collection, we trust you’ll find the right vessel for you.
- Your coffee accessories. Cream, sugar, butter, coconut oil, stevia, maple syrup, cinnamon, almond milk, peppermint oil, agave—whatever makes your cup of coffee come to life, have it nearby.
- Your smart phone, to capture the moment. Okay, totally kidding about this one. Or are we…?
Caffeine-addict approved methods for brewing coffee at home
Here are the four most popular styles for brewing coffee at home, and each varies in terms of cost, effort, and the qualities of the brewed cup of coffee.
1. French Press
There’s just something about a French Press, huh? Hailing from Italy (who knew?), this classic coffee brewing method is a favorite for small groups. I consider it a gateway drug to slightly more advanced brewing methods at home than an automated drip machine.
Here’s how to make French press at home right the first time. You want a coarse grind of your favorite beans and hot water temperature set at 195°F. Use a heaping tablespoon of ground coffee, ballpark 7-8 grams, per 200 ml of water used (roughly per cup). Start by pouring enough water to cover the ground coffee, wetting the coffee grounds and opening their bloom. Give it a quick stir then fill the water to your desired amount. Let it brew for 4-8 minutes depending on your taste preferences and how finely ground your coffee is (the finer the grind, the less time you need for your French press to brew to extract enough high quality flavor).
Push the plunger—ah yes, sweet satisfaction—doctor your cup, and voilà, the perfect French Press while brewing coffee at home.
- Pros: A more full-flavored brew with a deeper sweetness and syrupy body. Since there’s no paper filter in the process, you get a delightfully oily result.
- Cons: Sometimes I don’t need ALL that coffee, so it feels excessive. Plus handling all the grinds at the end can be a pain in the you-know-where.
- Equipment: Kettle, French Press, coffee grounds
- Get your own: $35 on Amazon
The AeroPress is my go-to and all time favorite method for brewing coffee at home. It’s an efficient use of coffee from grind to cup, making single-serving coffees in a relatively short amount of time. Here’s how to use AeroPress at home to make coffee.
You want a fine to medium-fine grind for your beans (~14 on a Baratza Encore) and your water at 185°F. Prepare your AeroPress by inserting the plunger into the holder and flipping the entire device upside down (this is called the inverted method and IMO, the only way to go). Pour roughly 15 grams of freshly ground coffee into the AeroPress and then pour your hot water to the brim. Let it sit for a few seconds to add the paper filter+cap combo right away—whether you skip this step or not ultimately depends on your taste preferences.
Flip ‘er over and push the plunger down as your coffee drips directly into your coffee cup. Magic!
- Pros: Easy to use, doesn’t waste any coffee, and I love that my brew isn’t scalding hot so I can add cream and drink it right away. 😍
- Cons: Can’t think of any except that you need a couple pieces of specific equipment, like specially-sized filters.
- Equipment: AeroPress system, AeroPress coffee filters
- Get your own: $34 on Amazon
3. Pour over
David swears that the pour over is the best way to brew coffee at home. I get it—if I ever go to a new coffee shop and I don’t trust their drip, I tend to default towards their pour over option. So why not learn how to make the magic ourselves? Pour over has been the darling of the third wave coffee movement in the last few years, and now that we know how to make it at home, I feel less and less need to get a coffee shop fix!
To make a pour over with the Kalita Wave, heat the water to 205°F. You’ll want a medium grind (22 on my Baratza Encore); David recommends 23 grams of coffee. He always rinses the filter first, though if you don’t believe in paper taste, feel free to skip it. After that, you’ll put the brewer on a kitchen scale; though not required, it’s super helpful. Here’s his take:
“You’ll want to bloom your grounds first. I typically use about 50-60g (mL) of water for that. Just pour it evenly over the grounds in the filter, and let it rise and fall. After about 30 seconds, you can do your initial pour. I typically do about 150 more grams of water. As that works through, I add the rest of the water in ~50g waves, making sure to pour evenly. You’ll keep pulsing until you get to your desired serving size, for me that’s typically 350mL (or grams, or for us American barbarians, 11oz).”
- Pros: Pour over’s slow and steady water distribution produces a more robust flavor profile than other methods for brewing coffee at home. (Yum!! Taste ‘dem beans!!) It can also be fun to make and the ability to brew it practically earns you star-barista status.
- Cons: There are many steps to follow when making your Pour over, and you practically have to babysit the filter. No set it and forget it here!
- Equipment: Kalita Wave Brewer, Filters, a carafe
- Get your own: $29 on Amazon
4. Drip coffee machine
Drip coffee has been poo-pooed by coffee snobs over the last few years, but it is my belief that you can actually make good coffee with a standard drip machine. All that’s needed is for the Folgers to be far, far away—stored somewhere near the Keurig machine that you no longer want/need/like.
Heat your water to between 195°F–205°F. The higher you go the better, but never use boiling water. Use a fine-medium grind coffee depending on your filter-type. According to Lifehacker, Flat Bottom Filters should use Medium and Cone Shaped Filters should aim for Medium/Fine. Similar to French Press, use a heaping tablespoon of coffee for every cup you intend to drink. Use 6-7oz of cold, filtered water, likewise for every cup. Hit that auto start button and BOOM. *Drip drip drip.* Mmm.
- Pros: You can make coffee en masse and once you go through the initial starter steps, you can just waltz back over a few minutes later to a freshly prepared cup.
- Cons: Since it’s automated, the only real modifications you can make to your coffee cup is the grind size and actual coffee bean used.
- Equipment: Automated drip coffee maker
- Get your own: $100 on Amazon
There’s no excuse for not brewing coffee at home!
With a little upfront investment in new equipment and a quick review (or two!) of the steps necessary to make the brew, you’ll come to love making your new favorite cup of coffee from the comfort of your own home. Even for me, as a self-proclaimed cafe addict, learning these tricks has not only saved me $$$ (my coffee shop budget was high to begin with…), but it has made me better appreciate my favorite beverage in a new light.
Join me! 🙂