coffee brewing methods: filter and press
Coffee Basics

14 Coffee Brewing Methods for the Perfect Java

coffee brewing methods: filter and press

With this handy guide, you can make different coffee drinks using various coffee machines. Depending on your preference, the brewing process can be quick and easy or elaborate and stylish. Whatever floats your boat, you’re sure to find coffee brewing methods that fit your needs.

14 Coffee Brewing Methods To Try Today

coffee brewing methods: various coffee machines and tools

Whether you’re looking for simple home brewing tools or a way to make specialty coffee like a barista, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the top coffee brewing methods you can use to make the perfect cup — whether you’re focused on ease and speed or style and flavor.

1. Drip Coffee

Brewing time: 3 to 5 minutes

Grind type: Fine grounds

Best for: Making good quality coffee at a low price point and with minimal equipment

Drip coffee is the most popular brewing method. If you’ve ever ordered regular coffee at a coffee shop or brewed a large pot at home, you’ve had drip coffee. To make drip coffee, hot water percolates through coffee grounds, through a filter, and into a large carafe. The coffee is then poured into cups and consumed as is or with added milk and sweeteners. 

2. Pour Over

Brewing time: 3 to 4 minutes

Grind type: Medium-fine

Best for: coffee drinkers that want nuanced tasting notes and a customizable brewing experience

Pour-over coffee used to be relegated to fancy coffee shops. With drip coffee makers like the Kalita Wave and the Hario v60 hitting consumer shelves, this coffee brewing method is increasingly accessible to home coffee drinkers. 

To make pour-over coffee, a cone-shaped chamber is placed over a single serve cup. The chamber is filled with coffee beans — that are carefully measured and ground. Hot water is poured on top and solely filters through the grounds to create a delicious mug. Flavors vary depending on the type of coffee beans, but pour-overs are particularly good at drawing out nuanced flavor profiles.

3. French Press

Brewing time: 10 minutes

Grind type: Coarse

Best for: People who like bold caffeine drinks and want easy, quick brewing without too many gadgets

Back before fancy coffee equipment was easy to snag for your home kitchen, the French Press was the go-to home brewing tool. An immersion brewing method, the French Press is a stainless steel and glass vessel. Add one heaping tablespoon for every 200 ml of water. Pour in hot water (not quite boiling), stir, and let steep for 3 to 4 minutes. Use the plunger to press the coffee down and serve. French Press coffee offers an oily and bold flavor that is unlike java made with other coffee brewing methods.

4. Aeropress

Brewing time: 1 minute (seriously!)

Grind type: Any type works! Different grinds will produce slightly different textures and flavors, but all work well in an Aeropress

Best for: Travelers and people who want to keep things simple and brew in a jiffy

If you’ve ever watched a travel blogger or van lifer, you’ve heard of the Aeropress. This tool is incredibly popular in the travel world thanks to its portability, simplicity, and delicious brews. The Aeropress is a three piece tool featuring a chamber, stir stick, and press. Add in coffee grinds, fill with hot water and let steep for 10 to 30 seconds. Press the mixture down into your coffee cup using the plunger and enjoy!

5. Espresso

Brewing time: 20 to 35 seconds

Grind type: Fine grinds

Best for: People who want coffeehouse-style coffee right at home

There are several different types of espresso machines including steam machines, single-serve machines, and pump machines. Each one delivers a tasty shot of espresso with rich, bold flavors and a creamy foam. Espresso shots can be used in a variety of coffee drinks including lattes, macchiatos, and cappuccinos.

6. Moka Pot

Brewing time: 5 minutes once your water is hot

Grind type: Somewhere between a fine espresso grind and a coarser drip coffee grind

Best for: People looking for espresso without the machines and stronger coffee than drip brews offer

A Moka pot is a stovetop espresso brewing tool. It lets you have all the deliciousness of an espresso without the need for a bulky or expensive machine. Moka pots have three chambers. Boiling water in the bottom chamber creates steam that rises through the coffee grinds and pushes up through the top chamber to create an espresso-like drink. It’s not a true espresso, but it is the next best thing. 

7. Chemex

Brewing time: 3 to 4 minutes

Grind type: Medium to coarse grinds

Best for: People who want, smooth less bitter coffee and don’t mind losing a little bit of body in the process

While many drip coffee makers can only make one or two cups, this one can make larger batches. A Chemex is basically a carafe with a drip coffee maker built into the top. The unique shape of the Chemex allows for aeration, leading to better development of subtle coffee tasting notes. 

8. Siphon Pot

Brewing time: 10 minutes (but cleaning can be a drag and very time-consuming)

Grind type: medium grind or coarse grind

Best for: People who love coffee gadgets and showing off just as much as they like the actual coffee

Also called a vacuum pot, the siphon pot combines two coffee brewing methods into one. It’s an immersion brew that’s combined with vacuum methods to create a delicious cup of java. A siphon pot has four parts: a top chamber, a bottom chamber, a heat source, and a filter. Water is added to the bottom chamber and heated using fire or a halogen beam heater. The heat turns the liquid into gasses, which rise and create a vacuum that draws the water up into the top chamber. 

Once water reaches the top chamber, add your coffee grinds. Let it steep for 1 to 2 minutes and then remove from the heat source. This creates a second vacuum, drawing the coffee back into the bottom chamber. Serve and enjoy!

9. Iced Coffee

Brewing time: 10 to 20 minutes

Grind type: Coarse

Best for: People who like their coffee frigid — just like their hearts

In the sweltering summer heat, sipping on a hot cup of coffee can seem unbearable. Instead, cool down with a cold glass of iced coffee. To make iced coffee, brew hot coffee using any of these coffee brewing methods. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Serve in a tall glass over ice. To prevent dilution, freeze cold coffee to make ice cubes and use those instead of regular ice cubes.

10. Cold Brew

Brewing time: 10 to 24 hours

Grind type: Coarse

Best for: People who want intense coffee with a smooth finish and no acidity

Cold brew coffee is like iced coffee except it’s brewed using cold water instead of hot water. Since cold water doesn’t elicit flavors as quickly as hot water, this brewing method takes longer than others. To make cold brew, use a cold brew dripper. With this coffee making tool, water slowly drips through the grinds for a long time — think of sand in an hourglass. For the best results, let your coffee steep in cold water anywhere from 10 to 24 hours. Taste the mixture every hour or so to find the perfect flavor for your taste buds. 

11. Nitro Cold Brew

Brewing time: Several hours to make the cold brew, seconds when pouring from a cold brew system

Grind type: Coarse, like chunky pieces of sand

Best for: Cold brew lovers who want their java on tap

Nitro cold brew is a coffee brewing method that produces a rich, decadent cup of java. The coffee is cold brewed, then infused with nitrogen to create a creamy, foamy texture. It’s a more complicated brewing method since you’ll need to have large quantities of cold brew on hand and be comfortable using a nitrogen system at home.

12.  Turkish Coffee

Brewing time: 3-4 minutes

Grind type: Finest grind possible 

Best for: People who love strong black coffee and cultural experiences

Turkish coffee is among the oldest in the world. It’s strong, punchy, and aromatic. To brew this type of coffee, you’ll need a Turkish coffee pot — known as a cezve  or ibrik. Just add a heaping tablespoon of coffee grounds to the cezve and fill with water. Place over medium heat for two to three minutes, then pour at an angle into a Turkish coffee cup. Serve with a sugar cube and enjoy the bitter, strong coffee tasting notes.

13. Cowboy Coffee

Brewing time: 4-5 minutes plus the time it takes to bring water to a boil (around 10-12 minutes total time)

Grind type: Medium coarse or larger

Best for: Easy brewing without any equipment or attention to fancy flavors and for people who don’t mind a little mess

Also known as campsite coffee, cowboy coffee is coffee brewing in one of its simplest forms. Just bring water to boil in a pan, toss in the coffee grounds, remove from heat, and let the coffee steep for a few minutes. Once ready, pour into your mug and enjoy. 

14. Vietnamese Phin

Brewing time: 4 to 5 minutes

Grind type: Coarse, even grind

Best for: Portable, single serve coffees without the need for paper filters

A Vietnamese phin is used to make Vietnamese coffee. It’s a single cup coffee filter featuring a chamber with built-in metal filter, lid, plate, and gravity press. It’s a rockstar when it comes to iced coffee and easy brewing. Just pack the coffee into the chamber, pour the water on top, and wait. In a few minutes, you’ll have a strong cup of coffee you can add condensed milk and ice to. This coffee tool doesn’t use a paper filter so you may get some coffee sediment in your cup. 

How To Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee

woman swirling coffee in a glass vessel

Making a great cup of coffee comes down to using the best quality ingredients. No matter how you choose to brew, always use freshly ground coffee for the best flavor. Use the right amount of coffee by referring to this coffee to water ratio guide. Whole beans offer better flavor compared to ground instant coffee. Invest in a grinder to grind your own beans just before use for the freshest cup of java.

Grind size also matters when brewing. The right grind size varies depending on the coffee brewing method. Above, we’ve indicated what grind works best for each brewing method. While a fine grind is ideal for a Turkish coffee, you’ll want extra coarse coffee beans for cold brew and medium coarse for pour-overs.

Filtered water can also make coffee taste better if your tap water has high levels of minerals like chlorine. Never use distilled water to brew coffee. Always use hot water when brewing, making sure to adjust the water temperature to the type of tool and coffee beans you are using. With these tips, you can make coffee at home just like the pros.

Mix It Up and Brew Java a New Way

Looking for other ways to enjoy great coffee? Continue browsing Cup & Bean where you’ll find tips on how to make coffee and guides on flavored coffees you can try to expand your tasting horizons. You’ll also find coffee basics including guides to coffee grown in various countries and practical information like how much caffeine is in each cup of coffee.

After chasing down everything there was to know about tea on the Cup & Leaf blog, I'm now exploring the world of coffee. From different types to countries with the best brews and everything in between, I'll be your guide on this coffee discovery.