Our Favorite Ways to Brew Coffee
March 30th, 2020| Words by Bryson Smith | Photos by Nick Walden & Bryson Smith
Millions of people around the world start their days off with a cup of coffee, whether it's from a local barista, Starbucks, office coffee machine, or home coffee maker. With many of those options no longer available, and social distancing the new norm, we thought that we would share some of our favorite ways to brew the perfect cup of coffee at home.
Below we cover different ways to brew, coffee grinders, our favorite coffee themed cocktail recipe, and some delicious coffees you can order online to support small businesses. Check it out!
Chemex has been around since 1941, and their glass pour-over coffee makers not only look great due to its iconic hourglass design & wood and leather accents, it brews a fantastic cup of coffee. The secret lies in the glass Chemex uses: a non-porous Borosilicate. This means that your Chemex won't absorb odors and residue over extended use, ensuring that the only coffee you taste is what you are brewing each time. Because a Chemex uses a thick paper filter, it removes many of the oils that remain in other brewing methods, leaving you with a cleaner, lighter looking cup of coffee, free of any brewing silt.
Each time your brew coffee with a Chemex, you use a paper filter, which allows for easy cleanup. I save my coffee grounds for use in the garden, and the paper filter makes it really easy to do so without making a mess. Get yours here.
The modern French Press was actually first patented by Italian designers in the 1920s. If you are unfamiliar with the French Press, it is possibly the simplest of coffee makers: all you do is pour hot water over coffee grounds, let it brew for just under 5 minutes, and then plunge the grounds to the bottom of the press. French presses are also very affordable, you can get a simple glass one from Bodum for less than $20. I shattered two glass French Presses before I switched to a stainless steel one a few years back, so far I have not managed to destroy it. As an added bonus, my stainless steel French Press, from Secura, is double-walled, which keeps coffee hot while it brews. I opted for the 34oz (1 liter) version but have my eyes on the 50oz (1.5 liter) version for when I'm making coffee for more than two people.
A French Press is my favorite way to brew coffee (though I dabble in other methods all the time). I like French Presses because they don't require a filter, are relatively easy to clean, and brew a "muddier" cup of coffee. Small amounts of grounds and no paper filter preserve the oils much better than a pour-over coffee maker like the Chemex discussed above. As an equal opportunity coffee lover, I appreciate the lighter, cleaner brew of a pour-over as well as the murkier, more vibrant feel of a French Press. Ultimately it comes down to your personal preference and what you like best. My advice: try it all!
Out of all the different coffee brewing methods and devices here, the Aeropress is the new kid on the block, invented in 2005. The Aeropress is a fantastic and quick one cup coffee maker. It functions in much the same way as a french press, though it brews coffee much faster. Because of the shorter brew time, the Aeropress brews a less acidic cup of coffee, perfect for those with sensitive digestion. An Aeropress will brew a cup of coffee with a slightly higher caffeine concentration, close to that of espresso.
In the rush of the daily commute, grinding your coffee beans fresh every time can seem like a hassle - just one more thing to do during a busy morning. However, slowing down just a bit for freshly ground coffee beans is worth it. If you are currently working from home, now is the perfect time to start grinding your coffee beans while you aren't dealing with the morning rush.
When it comes to selecting a grinder, burr grinders are the first choice for coffee enthusiasts everywhere because they grind beans to a uniform size, creating better grounds. With so many affordable burr grinders out there, I'd suggest skipping buying a traditional blade grinder and starting out with a burr grinder. I use a Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder, which costs just under a hundred bucks. I like the Bodum Bistro because it has a large, wide-mouthed hopper for coffee beans. This makes it very easy to fill up. It also has a Borosilicate glass ground catcher, which cleans easily and doesn't hold residue from old grounds.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly burr grinder, then this handheld grinder from Kawfee is an excellent choice. I started my home coffee grinding with a handheld grinder and then upgraded to my electric grinder. However, I still use my hand-powered grinder for camping. I also appreciate that my hand-powered coffee grinder is much quieter than my electric one.
Our Favorite Roasters
Now that we've covered a bunch of ways to make coffee, we want to share some of our favorite roasters offering online subscriptions. Dune Coffee, located in Nomad's hometown of Santa Barbara, CA is small batch, artisan roaster with some seriously delicious coffee. Even better, they are an independent, small business, who could use your support right now!
Another Nomad favorite is Carabiner Coffee, based in Boulder, Colorado. Founder Erik Gordon started Carabiner roasting in his tiny Boulder apartment and selling coffee straight out of his 71' VW van to climbers & hikers at trailheads all across the USA. While Carabiner's road trips are on hold for now, the crew over there is still shipping coffee all across the USA. Get your subscription here.
We hope that you are now inspired to become an expert home barista and brew up the perfect cup. As a bonus, here is our favorite espresso martini recipe; we think it is one of the best work from home cocktails out there!
Let us know how you brew your coffee by shooting a line to the email@example.com!
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