Strictly Speaking: Home-brew methods
If 2020 taught us anything, it was that one must be able to produce a satisfactory cup of coffee from the comforts of home. Even when cafes become out of reach, a quality cup of coffee doesn’t have to be. Making a tasty brew at home can be incredibly easy, with a multitude of devices available to conquer this very task. Although the vast array of contraptions and methods may seem overwhelming with each resulting in a different tasting experience, we are here to lay out the fundamentals and explain what’s what.
Hario V60 Dripper
Designed and manufactured in Japan, this is a classic pour-over method that is loved by coffee enthusiasts all over the world. A distinctive conical design lined with paper filters, the V60 shape adds depth to the coffee by allowing for deeper layering of the grounds. Pour water quickly for a lighter flavour or slowly if you like your coffee rich with a strong umami flavour. Sturdy, lightweight and portable - the Hario V60 is a practical and simple yet high quality approach that is trusted by many to produce a bright, light and delicate cup of coffee. Pour-overs are considered to be a fantastic choice for those looking for a smoother cup with little bitterness, while not minding the lack of body that comes with an espresso shot.
With a full hour-glass body, polished wood collar and leather tie, the Chemex is a paper-filter brewing device that is simple and elegant, producing an exceptionally clean cup of coffee. As the name suggests, the device was developed by German chemist Dr Peter Schlumbolm in 1941, who liked to focus on making everyday objects more functional, attractive and enjoyable. He achieved this brief with the Chemex through not only making brewing a perfect cup simple, but also through developing a thing of beauty. The design is considered so noteworthy that it’s featured in The Museum of Modern Art in New York, making it a superb feature of any kitchen if you’re after a small talking point or statement piece. Being a chemist, Schlumbolm clearly understood the science behind the extraction of flavour from coffee grounds and used this to develop his ideal device for creating the optimal cup. Like the Hario V60, the Chemex is used by manually pouring water into the gadget and over the coffee grounds - excellent for those wanting to really highlight a coffee’s inherent characteristics and individual flavour notes. The Chemex is able to produce large quantities of coffee, meaning it is practical when it comes to caffeinating a household or keeping your own cup topped up over breakfast.
The AeroPress is an incredibly popular brew method amongst baristas and coffee enthusiasts due to its ease of use, practicality and versatility. It only brews a single serving of coffee at a time but is delicious enough for everyday use, while compact and portable to take on your travels. Check out our previous ‘Strictly Speaking’ post, for basic instructional insight on how to use the AeroPress. Like both above methods, the AeroPress uses paper filters to stop oil and sediment, creating a smooth cup without bitterness. The AeroPress is not a pour-over method but rather considered as a ‘full immersion’ brewer, meaning that the coffee grounds sit in hot water before being separated through a piston style plunger. The AeroPress is particularly perfect for those curious coffee drinkers interested in experimenting and trialling with methodology and recipes. Hundreds of recipes for unique cups have been created by simply adjusting variables such as grind size, brew time and even the technical way in which the AeroPress is used.
Stove Top Espresso Maker
Commonly known as a Moka pot, this is the proud and well-regarded invention of a nation where a love affair with coffee runs deep. This iconic coffee maker is the creation of Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933, and rapidly became a household staple in Italian culture. Available in a variety of sizes and capable of brewing as many as ten cups at once, the pot sits directly on the stove and works using percolation. The base is filled with water, a small basket of ground coffee is placed just above the surface and from there, an upper chamber is screwed on top. Coffee is brewed by passing boiling water through a filter and spout into the upper chamber, resulting in a strong espresso-like coffee. Brewed coffee does not have to pass through any additional coffee filters, as the grounds stay below the final extraction. It’s a method that’s considered to be very European and one that requires a certain level of patience, trial and error, but once you get the hang of the process, it can deliver a truly excellent cup. The coffee that results is intense, concentrated and heavy-bodied, often being substituted for a traditional espresso. Small levels of pressure mean that the shot is thicker and richer than a pour-over or drip method, so the Moka Pot is considered as one of the easy ways to pull off an espresso shot at home without the need for an expensive machine.
A french press, also referred to as a cafetière or a coffee plunger, is a tried and tested method that will always have your back. It is one of the easiest and affordable options, where coffee is created by steeping the grounds in hot water for a period of time before pressing the grounds out. It allows you to create coffee by brewing, pressing and straining all in one, resulting in a coffee that
is dense and heavy. Tiny dissolved particles and essential oils slip through the metal filter to give the coffee a richer, fuller body, with the end product being well-suited to a darker roast such as our Strictly House
blend. A French Press is an excellent way for people to start dabbling in making their own coffee at home, a classic starting point from which further options can be explored.
It goes without saying however, if you want good coffee, you’ve got to start with quality beans. An excellent method with excellent beans goes hand and hand. At Strictly, we supply beans in a variety of roasts and grinds, so that the consistency of your beans can be optimal for the method you wish to use. Pop into Strictly HQ to explore our range of brewing gadgets and learn about the coffee offerings from our friendly team, as certain roasts are better suited to certain methods.
It is worth noting that there are other gadgets which you can incorporate into your coffee set-up to enhance the end product, choosing a method is simply the beginning! Fresh whole beans produce a superior tasting coffee so a grinder is valuable, and scales can be useful to ensure the exact measure of beans. Furthermore, the ratio of coffee to water used eg. 18g to 300mL, will alter the strength and taste of your coffee, so this is where experimentation comes in to reach your personal preference.
We aim to simplify the art of home coffee-making rather than leave the reader more perplexed and overwhelmed, so we will save diving into these further details for a later ‘Strictly Speaking’ update.