The Coffee Issue

Terms to Know the Next Time You Engage in Cawfee Tawk

coffee_french_press_WEBFrench press

How: Ground beans swim in a water bath until a mesh plunger inside a canister separates grinds from fresh coffee.

Tools: Presses come in all sizes. Most are glass; some are plastic.

Accessibility: A fast home brew for beginners and pros: add coffee, add water, wait, plunge and serve.


Pour-Over (Chemex, Hario, etc.)

How: Picture an empty hourglass with a filter on top that holds grinds and space below that waits for fresh coffee to drip through as water is poured over the grinds.

Tools: Chemex and Hario sell filters and brewing containers. You’ll want a swan-neck kettle for pouring water over the grinds.

Accessibility: Easy-peasy for home use and makes one smooth cup. Tinker with grind size, water amount and length of steeping to get your perfect potion.



How: Precise temperature and water levels create a vacuum between two glass chambers that pushes up heated water from a lower chamber, passing through grinds, and uses vapor pressure to extract coffee.

Tools: Siphons work similarly to those Euro-style Moka cups but look nothing like them (they’re made from glass and look like Aladdin might live inside).

Accessibility: Don’t try this at home, kids. Fun for a pro, but it’ll break your coffee-drinking spirit to figure it out yourself.



How: Think of a machine with four or five canisters that act like siphons but look like French presses. Instead of a plunger to separate grinds, a barista uses an agitator to move around coffee to help personalize the taste of each cup.

Tools: One big-ass steampunk machine that can cost thousands.

Accessibility: Splurge for a cup and stick with pour-over or drip at home.

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