Turns out, theres more to making a cup of coffee than simply pressing brew on your coffee machine. In fact, outside of the U.S., many people are left shaking their heads at the concept of brewed coffee and its lack of thick, rich texture and flavor. And the differences of opinion over coffee prep arent solely rooted in snobbery did you know there are actual health differences between different preparation methods?
Whether youre concerned about your cholesterol levels, in searchof a more flavorful cup of joe, or just hoping to increase your coffee-making finesse, heres what you need to know about the pros and cons of the top four coffee preparation methods.
Lets start off with brewed coffee, the most popular preparation method in the United States. This method involves putting a few scoops of ground coffee beans into an electric coffee maker, usually over a filter. Water is then heated and pumped through the machine, dripping down over the ground beans. As the water drips through the beans and the filter, it picks up the flavorsof the coffee beans and results in a nice, flavorful cup of coffee.
Now, lets consider the benefits and drawbacks. One of the biggest benefits of brewed coffee is its convenience factor. You simply turn the machine on (or use a timer to set it to brew at a particular time) and, as long as youve put your water, filter and coffee grounds into the machine, youll get a cup of coffee about five minutes later.
The main drawback, of course, is that its pretty easy to make your coffee too weak or too strong. Many coffee snobs complain that brewed coffee is, well, watery which makes sense, when you think about it.
By contrast, French press coffee is made by mixing coffee grounds directly with water. Youll need a French press machine to do this, of course. After steeping for about four minutes (youll adjust this based on how strong youd like your coffee to be), you press the machines filter through the coffee to strain out the grounds.
The biggest downside of a French press is that has a minor difference for your health. Some students suggest that the absence of a filter causes coffee oils to remain in the coffee, which can impact your cholesterol levels.
Coffee oils are most potent in coffees where the grounds have the longest contact with the water during brewing, states Healthline. A French press, which brews coffee by continually passing water through the grounds, has been shown to have greater concentrations of cafestol. Brewing in an American-style coffee pot with a filter, on the other hand, has relatively low levels, as the beverage is only passed through the grounds once. Most of the cafestol is left behind in the filter no matter what the roast.
Pour-over coffee, which is often associated with the popular Chemex machine, is kind of the best of both worlds. It utilizes a filter (which can help keep out cholesterol-raising coffee oils) but it offers the flavor and character of a hand-brewed coffee.
You can make your own pour-over system simply by tying some cheesecloth around a medium-sized bowl, placing ground coffee beans on top, and then slowly pouring hot water over the grounds into the bowl below. Of course, you can also invest in a machine such as the Chemex or a similar type of product.
The main drawback to pour-over coffee is that its arguably the most labor-intensive. You have to pour hot water slowly over the coffee beans, which means its a very hands-on process.
Finally, the newest option for coffee preparation: the Keurig machine. There are plenty of other brands that manufacture machines similar to the Keurig (Nescafe is one of them), but Keurig was the first, and remains the most popular, machine of its kind.
The Keurig is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is place a pre-made K-cup (a plastic cup filled with coffee grounds) in your machine, add water, and press brew. Youll soon have a single cup of coffee ready to enjoy. Because the amount of groundsin each cup is standard, theres little room for error, so youre unlikely to end up with watery coffee.
Of course, those of us who care about protecting the planet will already know that single-serve coffee pods come with a MAJOR drawback: Theyre horrible for the environment. If you enjoy making single-serve coffee, the best way to make your coffee more environmentally friendly is to spring for a reusable K-cup filter that can easily be put in your machine. You just add regular coffee grounds to the reusable cup, push brew, and clean the filter when youre done.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
4 Different Methods for Preparing Your Morning Coffee