How do I make delicious coffee

Manual coffee preparation: the best coffee without a machine?

What do you think of when you hear the keyword Making coffee? An old pump jug with machine coffee, the portafilter, mocha or the fully automatic machine?

I bet a lot of people think of machines and electricity methods first before they think of a manual form of making coffee.

What for? Why should I make my life complicated when a machine can do all the work for me?

I tell you why!

A manual or traditional coffee preparation without electronics usually ensures the most detailed coffee taste. It's much cheaper. It is a form of meditation. It offers quite a few aha experiences. It takes up less space and energy. You …

Machines are a convenience product. With the exception of the portafilter, every machine coffee preparation is just a "simpler" variant of a manual principle. And this simplicity forces you to compromise.

Long story, clear sense: This completely renewed guide is intended to make you want to make coffee by hand and introduce you to the various methods. It becomes Italian and French, inventive and ice cold, sometimes weird, but always delicious.

Making coffee without a machine - which variants should I know?

My category of coffee preparation has developed over the years into a collection point for many aspects of coffee making:

The French Press as Full immersion method is a perfect entry-level variant and delivers very direct, cheeky coffee. The "clean" version without crumbs is called American Press.

Cold brew is the Trend drink every summer. You can hardly prepare coffee any slower or easier than here. The best thing about it: You don't even need special equipment! The only drawback: It's always a cold cup of coffee.

The espresso maker often collects dust in my corner. After all, I have espresso machines en masse that also deliver real espresso. But to be honest: If you like strong Italian espresso-style coffee, you will never get your caffeine kick easier and cheaper!

Oh, hand filters, you coffee love of my life! For me there is no better way to make coffee. At least if you feel like having a very diverse filter coffee.

Hype, Hyper, Chemex! Sometimes I am amused that the most beautiful coffee carafe in the world is treated like a separate preparation method. Don't be fooled: this is also a hand filter! But in wise.

The AeroPress is my favorite companion for playing coffee while traveling. It looks complicated, but it's easy to use - once you've played through the instructions. Here you get a mixture of filter coffee and espresso ultralight. Ultra exciting!

The Karlsbader Kanne is a real ruffian - at least when it comes to the degree of grinding. Because the rigid porcelain sieve needs coffee powder in gravel pit quality. Strictly speaking, this thing is also a hand filter. But the "pore size" gives the coffee a completely different character.

I will go into more detail on each of these methods below.

What a high-quality fully automatic coffee machine can do at the push of a button, you have to solve differently with the methods presented: You have to somehow make milk foam yourself.

But we now know that foam for latte art can also work externally - some automatic milk frothers are far superior to fully automatic machines. And their dimensions fit perfectly with the manual cooking equipment.

I couldn't put the special topics of tamper and coffee scales anywhere else. But it was finally time for me to say more than two words about it. The scales in particular are irreplaceable if you are serious about coffee (and espresso).

In addition to the options presented here, there are also manual methods and special products, which are usually a variant of the main categories presented. The Hario Woodneck as a Chemex-style carafe with a special fabric filter is a perfect example.

The siphon for coffee * should * theoretically * have to be accommodated here as well. But for years I have steadfastly refused to take the complicated apparatus with negative pressure in the glass flask seriously. I can't get rid of the feeling that siphon coffee is the same as coffee from the AeroPress - just the other way around and with too much fuss.

And if we start nonsense like that, we also have to include manual espresso machines like the Nanopress. However, this is getting too complicated.

Main categories of coffee preparation: full immersion and pour over

Each (manual) preparation method can be more or less clearly assigned to one of two main categories: full immersion or pour over. Roughly speaking, a distinction is made between preparation with and without a filter.

However, I think this is only half correct, because the filter is not responsible for the actual extraction, but only removes particles from the finished product. Of course, that changes the style considerably - but only in the second step. Still, this common definition is perfectly fine.

Basically, however, it is about how long and in what form each individual coffee crumb is in contact with water during extraction:

  1. Over the entire brewing time (full immersion)
  2. In passing depending on the brewing surge (pour over)

Even if we finally use a filter with the AeroPress, for example, the actual extraction is a flawless full immersion. The filter only lasts at the end solid substances and certain Components of the coffee body back.

Once we understand this, the unambiguous assignment of the methods is pretty easy:

 Full immersionPour over
French PressX
Cold brewX
Hand filterX
ChemexX
AeroPressX
Karlovy Vary jugX

I take the stove out of here or give it a separate category. In principle, it is also a pour over variant, because the water from the lower part shoots upwards when it is boiled and while it runs past the coffee crumbs.

However, the principle is based much more on the portafilter machine or the style of espresso and therefore belongs in parts to the same realms as fully automatic coffee machines.

In addition, the variant should be correct Bubble over because the water is thermodynamically pushed upwards from below. The siphon works in a similar way.

Pour over preparation and full immersion are not contradicting principles, but they tickle completely different aromas from one and the same coffee bean. The finished coffee has a completely different mouthfeel, and the caffeine content also varies.

According to my caffeine study, coffee from the AeroPress tops the list of clearly assignable manual methods. The espresso maker, however, is a bit sharper. Cold Brew (and Drip), French Press, Hand Filter and Chemex come after that in descending order.

This shows us, at least to some extent, that direct brewing methods extract more caffeine. What else?

Full immersion stands for clear bitter substances, a dense mouthfeel and a very cheeky style in which stronger flavors such as chocolate, nuts or cocoa come into their own.

The filter in the pour over principle holds back these heavy components for the most part. In terms of mouthfeel, the coffee is lighter, less lingering, fresher and more light-footed. This creates space for citric flavors, acids, fruit essences, etc.

Accordingly, there is no clear answer to the question: Which coffee preparation is the best? It always depends on what you want from your coffee!

If the basic challenges are met - good coffee beans, freshly ground, correct grinding degree - full immersion methods are in any case less prone to errors than pour over variants. This makes full immersion coffee perfect for beginners.

Brewing with the French press - this classic always works!

When I recently revamped the guide to the French Press, I noticed again how simple the coffee press is.

You just need about 50 to 70 g vigorously roasted coffee beans per liter in medium coarse grind, the stamp pot of your choice and Water around 96 degrees.

Everything else - from the right infusion technique to the stirring tip - is actually just Pipifax for coffee earths.

Nerds, however, like to ignore the French Press because, in their opinion, it makes for a too cheeky coffee - thanks to Full Immersion. In addition, people always complain about the coffee crumbs in the cup.

That's all true, it just doesn't matter. Because with the French Press you can't make any mistakes in that sense. Depending on the grind, roast or dosage, you will always get to know your coffee differently without really having to have a clue.

Small restrictions:

  1. The somewhat coarser grind is essential. Coffee that is ground too finely from the French Press always tastes horrible! You can find out why in the article on the grind for coffee.
  2. Always make the French press full. Half servings and strange dosages make bah-coffee.
  3. 96 degrees water temperature is the absolute upper limit. Better let the water cool a little longer.

One of the most convincing arguments for preparing coffee in the French press, however, are the running costs: apart from coffee beans and water, a good French press from Bodum and Co costs you practically nothing - let's leave out how you heat your water.

Filter coffee from the hand filter - Neverending Love Story

I won't annoy you with the umpteenth hymn of praise for the hand filter, you can find my love letter in the detailed guide. For me, this method is irreplaceable for four reasons:

  • When preparing, you can already decipher completely new worlds of taste with small changes
  • Light roasts with very fine aromas don't taste better anywhere
  • You can make a small amount of coffee with no effort
  • All you have to do is buy manageable equipment at a reasonable price

With light to medium Roasts in medium fine Grind and a brew ratio of 8 to 12 grams in 120 ml Ready to go. It takes a while to find the optimal parameters and the infusion process 96 degrees Celsius internalized hot water - but the exercise is worth it.

I consider the hand filter to be the most convincing variant ofMaking coffee ”, but also knows how error-prone the whole thing is. That is why so many shy away from it and prefer to use the coffee machine.

Normally, however, it cannot even begin to compete with the precision of the hand filter. You especially like this with typical Third Wave roasts with a clear acid profile. This profile becomes "sour" in the machine. Manually this profile becomes tangy, citrusy, fresh, fruity ...

This has not only something to do with the typical dosage or the degree of grinding. It is also due to the perfect infusion, your calm when brewing coffee and the large variety of coffee types that are available for the hand filter from your favorite coffee roastery.

Espresso from the stove - what can an espresso maker do?

A Bialetti for the stove is like a French press: many have it, no professional takes it seriously. Often times, the stove does not even appear on brew charts for the barista. But why?

On the one hand, the coffee pretends to be an espresso, but it is miles away from the original in the portafilter. The brew is very strong, very Italian and quite tasty. But it is also quite crumbling. Because the coffee maker for the stove is far too imprecise when it comes to the parameters.

On the other hand, this makes the jug an excellent entry-level variant. You just have to have the coffee powder fine with a slight tendency to coarse grind, put into the sieve insert as far as it will go, level and press down a little. After that you have to Water up to the valve in the lower part, put the pot on the stove and wait until it stops bubbling.

There are no dosage specifications, no complicated instructions and even less elaborate preparation tips. So it's no wonder that the professionals look the other way almost as intensely here as they do with coffee capsules.

In contrast to capsules, coffee from the stove is not an environmental nuisance and is absolutely worth a try. It's certainly not a revelation, but it's a compact, well-caffeinated affair. It's more flattering than mocha, with more kick than other methods.

You don't have to do a lot of cleaning and it doesn't really matter which coffee comes in. However, darker roasts traditionally have an advantage. A stove made of aluminum or stainless steel (for induction) is also dirt cheap to buy and, in the best case, lasts forever.

What's not to like?

If we take a closer look, you are naturally making a cardinal mistake when you cook espresso with the stove: the brewing temperature of 99 to 100 degrees Celsius is much too high. Many flavors do not survive this shock treatment.

If the degree of grinding and the dosage are more or less irrelevant, the extraction will not be perfect. This coffee preparation therefore shaves high-quality roasts more than it would make sense.

Nevertheless: If you long for a drink à la espresso, but don't want the effort à la espresso, the Bialetti is an excellent alternative.

Coffee preparation with the Chemex - everything is different and yet the same

I have already mentioned in many places that the Chemex is nothing more than a nifty variant of manual filtering that brings the necessary jug with you. In addition, Chemex has relied on its own filter system from the start, which has taken over the manual filter fraction:

Instead of using the Melitta form with a flat bottom, you fold the special filter paper in the Chemex into a tapered bag. This shape, as we know it from Hario hand filters, ensures that the water flows evenly. So here no extracted soup collects on the filter base.

Since there is no filter holder, nothing can accumulate in the Chemex anyway - the coffee is extracted and transported directly into the jug. This is the most important reason why many connoisseurs always relied on Chemex before the renaissance of the hand filter:

If you do everything right, there is excellent filter coffee, as intended by the inventor!

The design is also second to none and looks great in any kitchen. So for a change there is style and Substance.

The Chemex has only two clear disadvantages compared to the hand filter:

  • You always have to brew exactly the size of the pot (as with the French Press)
  • The original equipment costs money and can break down quickly

My different Chemex sizes have been around for a long time, but I'm also very careful with them. Depending on the shop, the usual 8 cup size costs around 50 euros, the filters cost around 16 euros per pack. Of course there are many imitators, including Hario Woodneck or, in parts, the Bodum Pour Over. Usually something is changed on the filters here.

The bottom line is that the Chemex is a hand filter that has made itself fine from head to toe. That is why this method of preparing coffee mostly falls under the table in my everyday life. For a test or a portion of coffee, I prefer to dump my coffee powder into the uncomplicated hand filter device.

Cup of coffee from the AeroPress - a lesson in experimentation

I've only just learned to love the strange intermediate method AeroPress again. A little French press, a little filter style, a little pressure - the AeroPress combines preparation methods that were thought to be mutually exclusive.

Much more important, however, is that this “plunger with filter paper” not only allows experiments, but expressly encourages them. Turn the thing upside down, change the amount of coffee, use espresso instead of filter roast ... everything that is otherwise in a manual can and should be questioned here.

However, the AeroPress is exactly the opposite of the French Press or stove top jug no real device for beginners. In order to challenge and recompose parameters such as the degree of grinding, you first have to understand them.

The coffee style very clearly depicts the mixed form of coffee preparation - with attributions such as: fuller than filter, lighter than espresso, more elegant than French press. This is great for everyone who knows what that means. Everyone else should first train their taste buds on their own.

Nevertheless, I can recommend everyone to take a closer look at the AeroPress. Because it tickles your curiosity and is a lot of fun.

Porcelain filter coffee from the Karlsbader jug ​​- good morning, you ruffian!

In one respect, the Karlsbader Kanne is the exact opposite of espresso: It demands the coarsest of all grinds, i.e. more than gravel pit quality. Otherwise, the question often arises whether this classic combination of porcelain jug and very large-meshed porcelain filter is a separate method at all.

On the one hand, definitely not. Just because the coffee is coarsely ground, you don't do anything different when brewing it than when using the hand filter. On the other hand, coarse coffee powder and coarse filters ensure that the coffee arrives fairly clean in the cup.

This is great for the learning process because you can also clearly taste the types of preparation, for example.On the other hand, otherwise very convincing, multi-faceted coffee can quickly collapse in the Bayreuth jug.

In particular, the roasting, in which fleeting and subtle taste nuances compete against each other, quickly become a uniform mash without meaning. There is simply no support from fine filter paper.

If we look at it from this side, the Karlsbader is just an upside-down French press - or the stamp pot has turned the Karlsbader principle on its head. Because the porcelain ensemble has been around for a long time.

And if we take it very seriously, the ruffian among the filter methods at the end of the day is not that special. Filter coffee remains filter coffee.

However, I have the feeling that this form of preparation is definitely coming back into fashion and could celebrate a sexy comeback. Because of the aesthetics alone. The only thing that speaks against this is the price, because the sets are extremely expensive and anything but practical.

Apart from all preparation tips: What else you need to know

I am aware that some methods are still missing from my list. Mocha as the "strongest coffee in the world" from the Ibrik is an absolute trend topic that I constantly ignore. Simply because I simply never drink the double-boiled mixture (with and without spices).

We could also discuss whether “Turkish coffee” - that is, cowboy coffee with coffee powder directly in the cup - is not also a separate method and requires instructions.

But no matter which machine-free preparation method it is: The most important thing is not how many spoons of coffee powder you use. The most important thing is that you take your time to make it. Peace of mind, zen and a little commitment are more important than any technical preparation tips.

In addition, it is important to me that when we have questions about coffee for French press, filters and the like, we don't always look at whether this or that method is used better is. You can compare them all with one another, but you cannot give a final judgment. What do I mean by that? This one:

Each. No. What do I know. In the first version of this guide I said that the reputation of coffee seems to be improving overall. I have the feeling that this development is currently reversing again.

The more people learn about coffee, the more suspicious they are of the individual types. In the meantime, however, I consider the question of whether an espresso is fundamentally better than a filter coffee to be superfluous.

Coffee shouldn't make health promises or promote any goals. Coffee is a Luxury foods. That is why I would no longer focus on statements that coffee can be counted as part of the fluid balance or that it is digestible in this or that variant. I leave the conclusions to you and point out:

After years of boom and inaccuracies, I can finally answer this question correctly and, above all, scientifically. In my large-scale caffeine study, I had all common methods of making coffee tested in the laboratory for their caffeine content.

Even though we acknowledge that I only tested a single roast once, the laboratory made clear announcements for the first time. The caffeine kick hit list for preparation methods looks like this:

The compact espresso cut from the stove is, so to speak, a manual surprise winner - but only with absolute concentration. In relation to the usual drinking portion, the order looks a little different:

Since coffee is almost 100 percent water, you should make a few thoughts about the quality. Too much lime doesn't work, stale either.

I recommend the following articles for reading in:

I think it's completely crazy if you buy equipment just to see if the preparation is something for you. No matter how cheap the fun is.

Order something new in the cafe more often and save the milk by all means! You can only learn which coffee you really like on its own. Asks the pro behind the counter for his opinion - but only if he's not an arrogant hipster ass!

Be sure to tell him which flavors you prefer for coffee, what quantities you drink per cup, etc. From such information, a trained eye can quickly find out whether you are Pourer or Always are. By the way, you can also find out from which parts of the world your coffee should come for you.

You also have to check for yourself how much time and leisure you want to invest in the daily preparation and the learning process. Manual filtering takes the “longest” - both for the infusion and for the perfection. With the French Press you don't go wrong and you are ready to go - but you can quickly step on the spot in terms of taste.

Whatever you do, don't forget one thing: the first purchase should always be a coffee grinder. If the coffee comes out of the supermarket bag ready-ground, you can save yourself all the effort.

Manual or machine - let's not kid ourselves ...

We don't even have to shut our eyes to see one truth: apart from the portafilter machine, there is no device that is better than the manual method. Lighter yes, more comfortable too. Better not.

A fully automatic coffee machine is a compromise device that imitates real espresso just like the stove - albeit much more successfully. The coffee machine (with grinder) has recently tried to match the principle of hand filters - not the other way around.

With a French press, any form of electricity would be completely superfluous and would make the preparation unnecessarily complicated. The same applies to the AeroPress, which would definitely not be so keen to experiment with electricity.

Cold brew from the machine is completely ludicrous - but has already been "tried". Sage wanted to show off on his Precision Brewer and was rightly counted for it.

So let's not kid ourselves: if you rely on machines, you are missing out. Namely the full, clear coffee profile of the respective preparation method and the opportunity to occupy yourself with your coffee.

Do you have any questions or additions? Continue to comment diligently!