Coffee brewing has innovated leaps and bounds since the day hot water was poured over crushed coffee beans. Nowadays, a constant stream of new brewing methods and contraptions are changing our coffee lifestyle. Here’s a short list of five of our favorites worth exploring and why.
Invented in 2005 by Alan Adler, the AeroPress has taken the specialty coffee world by storm. The AeroPress yields incredibly flavorful coffee, similar to that of a French press, using user-generated pressure. The device resembles a large syringe. Simply add ground coffee and hot water. Once steeped, the bottom portion is pressed down into a cup through the filter. The AeroPress is highly decorated with rewards across from the coffee industry and even has its own annual competition where fellow AeroPress enthusiasts put their best recipes to test in head-to-head competition.
One of the key advantages of the AeroPress is versatility. Just about any grind size, amount of coffee, amount of water and brewing time can be used as long as the proper ratios are maintained. It always produces fantastic coffee.
Another advantage of the AeroPress is speed. It’s fast – even when grinding your own coffee and waiting for water to hit the optimal brewing temperature. We use ours almost every day with regular coffee grounds, but also use it whenever we get free pods for single use brewing machines. Simply cut open the pod and dump the coffee into the AeroPress, add water and allow brewing to commence.
The Minipresso by Wacaco is an extremely portable espresso machine. While that may sound like an oxymoron, the Minipresso’s compact design uses zero electricity and enables the user to brew quality espresso shots with incredible ease.
There are three different variants of the pill shaped device: one for ground coffee and two for pods. Despite minor differences, all three work exactly the same. All you need for brewing is hot water and your favorite coffee or coffee pod. The only real disadvantage of this little espresso maker is that the pressure doesn’t quite reach high enough to be considered true espresso. However, it does get extremely close. The average coffee drinker likely won’t notice the difference.
Once hot water has been poured and the coffee is added, simply assemble the machine, pop out the piston and squeeze until all water has passed through the coffee grounds. The MiniPresso is perfect for camping or any other situation a nice shot of espresso is desired on the go.
Rok Espresso Maker
The Rok Espresso Maker by Rok Kitchen tools is yet another portable option much like the Minipresso. However, the Rok espresso machine is larger and more closely resembles a standard espresso machine in the sense that there is a portable filter where the coffee grounds are housed.
The Rok Espresso Maker uses two, hand-operated side levers to build up substantial enough pressure to pull real espresso shots. The brewer is fashioned out of a very strong alloy that lasts forever under proper care. Similar to the Minipresso, the Rok machine uses no electricity. The only caveat is this brewer requires preheating to prevent heat loss due to its metal structure. Flushing the machine with boiling water usually helps warm it up and also keeps the portafilter submerged until you’re ready for brewing.
The siphon pot is not really a new invention, but it has made a solid comeback in recent years, mainly in specialty coffee shops. The siphon pot, also known as the vacuum pot, looks like something you’d see in a chemistry lab with two bulbous glass pots connected vertically and a little gas stove underneath as the heat source. As the name suggests, the siphon pot uses vacuum pressure to push hot water to the top bulb where ground coffee is added and steeped. Upon completion of steeping, the stove is turned off completely as the pressure pulls the coffee through a filter from the top and into the bottom bulb.
The siphon pot is a great way to brew large batches of coffee and its beautiful aesthetic makes any kitchen look better.
The most recent trend on our list is still making its rounds with coffee aficionados, but has seen tremendous early success. The Sowden SoftBrew is composed of a ceramic pot (available in a variety of shapes) and a steel mesh filter basket made of 160,000 extremely fine holes capable of filtering the finest coffee grounds. SoftBrew is technically considered an immersion brewer because the grounds sit steeping in hot water.
You’ll find the oil content of this coffee somewhere between that of coffee produced through a paper filter and that of a French press. The yield; however, will be finer than a French press as the filter is finer and more selective. The Sowden scores high on ease of use. Simply scoop your ground coffee into the steel filter, add a proportional amount of hot water and let it steep for about four minutes (steeping time depends on ground size). Once brewed, just remove the steel filter, serve, and enjoy.